Aquariums and zoos could be facing the worst financial winter in memory, the British & Irish Association of Zoos & Aquariums (BIAZA) has warned.
The association says that the impact of the coronavirus and the end of the summer visitor season have coincided to leave establishments with a double-whammy of debt over the winter months.
It is also concerned about unrealistic restrictions within the Government’s £100 million Zoo Animals Fund, which is preventing it from being used by most of its members.
These stipulate that aquariums and zoos should be down to their last 12 weeks of reserves before they can apply for support.
Nicky Needham, acting joint director of BIAZA said: “By the time they get to that point any good zoo will have put a contingency plan in place to rehome their animals and scale down their operations to maintain their animal welfare and care standards.
“That’s far too close to closure to be beneficial for most of our zoos and aquariums.”
BIAZA is also calling for an extension of business rates relief into 2021 and to increase Gift Aid from 20% to 25% for two tax years.