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Zoos closed by coronavirus appeal for help with costs of looking after animals

Banham Zoo and Africa Alive are appealing for support after they were forced to close by coronavirus Picture: Banham Zoo.

Banham Zoo and Africa Alive are appealing for support after they were forced to close by coronavirus Picture: Banham Zoo.

Joshua Dyball

Two of the region’s main zoos are appealing for help to feed their animals and pay staff after their income dried up because of coronavirus.

A skeleton team of keepers are looking the animals in both zoos  Picture: Brittany WoodmanA skeleton team of keepers are looking the animals in both zoos Picture: Brittany Woodman

Both Banham Zoo in Norfolk and Africa Alive near Lowestoft are closed to the public.

The Zoological Society of East Anglia (ZSEA), the charity which operates both zoos, relies entirely on the income generated by hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.

It says a “significantly reduced” team of keepers are still caring for the animals, which cost £1m a year to look after.

David Field, chief executive of the ZSEA said: “We genuinely appreciate that everyone is facing uncertain and challenging times at the moment but financial support is critical.

The animals in the two zoos cost £1m a year to feed and look after  Picture: Antony KellyThe animals in the two zoos cost £1m a year to feed and look after Picture: Antony Kelly

“We do not underestimate that these are desperate times and we are fighting for survival to see us through until the zoos can re-open. We therefore put out this plea for those who are able to and would like to offer any additional support to ZSEA to assist us with the costs of feeding and veterinary care for the animals and paying the incredible keepers who are looking after the animals.”
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For ways to support ZSEA visit their websites where supporters can donate, become a pass-holder or sponsor any of the animals.

Banham Zoo’s site is here, while Africa Alive’s is here.

Banham Zoo opened to the public in 1968 and has become the largest zoological collection in Norfolk, home to many diverse species, a number of which are particularly endangered such as the Amur tiger, Sri Lankan leopards, Grevy’s zebra and the critically endangered blue-eyed black lemur.

Banham Zoo acquired Africa Alive at Kessingland in Suffolk in 1991, when it was known as Suffolk Wildlife Park. It is now home to a variety of African species including the endangered Somali wild ass, reticulated giraffe and Cape hunting dog.

The ZSEA has run both sites since 2013. Together, they attracted a record 400,000 visitors last year.

Africa Alive was named as best large visitor attraction at last year’s Norfolk and Suffolk Tourism Awards.


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