The Denver Zoo faced the most challenging year in its 124-year existence, but refused to let any of their 3,000 animals go hungry.
The zoo relies on daily visitors to offset the $1 million annual grocery bill for the animals, but the global pandemic forced the zoo to close its doors for three months during peak season.
“Since our residents live and breathe and need continuous care, our costs didn’t go down simply because we closed our doors,” posted the zoo.
The 87-day closure resulted in a drastic financial loss that led to cuts in educational and conservation programs to ensure their limited funds were put towards care and food for the animals.
Bert Vescolani, president and CEO, told the Associated Press, “It costs us about $100,000 per day to operate the zoo, and $1 million per month on animal care alone.”
The animals’ health and well-being have been and continue to be the zoo’s top priorities. They take pride in offering ‘world-class nutrition’ to all of their animals.
“Our incredible keepers, veterinarians and nutritionists have made sure our animals’ needs are met day in and day out, regardless of the circumstances. The health and happiness of our animals is our absolute priority, and we have adjusted our operations across the organization to make sure they never miss a meal,” wrote the zoo in a statement.
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The zoo reopened in June but has been operating at limited capacity, which means they are still operating at a loss. They are following all the recommended social distancing guidelines to protect staff, visitors, and the animals.
“Even as we face the continued financial impacts of COVID-19, our team of animal care and nutrition specialists are working to provide nutritious meals each and every day to our 3,000 animals,” stated the zoo.
But they can’t do it alone, so they asked the public for donations.
Donations are used to provide special diets, locally sourced food, and care for all 450 species. This year, the zoo has relied even more on generous people and are so thankful for the support. “Words cannot express our gratitude to those of you who have visited, purchased or renewed a membership, or made a gift to the Zoo.”
Rest assured that all the animals are receiving the proper food and care.
The zoo is optimistic that 2021 will be a better year, but still needs donations. “Your donation of ANY AMOUNT will help us continue to provide individualized diets and specialized care for our 3,000 animals. Thank you for supporting our work and our animals when it matters most!”
If you would like to donate to the animals at Denver Zoo click here.
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