Dublin Zoo is warning that it faces permanent closure without financial support.
The zoo is appealing to the public for help, noting that it costs €500,000 a month to care for the animals even when the doors are shut.
The ‘Save Dublin Zoo’ campaign aims to raise vital funds to cover the cost of animal care as emergency cash reserves begin to run out.
Dublin Zoo Director Dr Christoph Schwitzer said: “We are in serious financial difficulty because of Covid-19 and are launching the Save Dublin Zoo campaign to raise much needed funds to help care for the animals here at the Zoo.”
“We understand this is a challenging time for everyone, so we are asking people to only give what they can – every donation counts no matter the size.
“We have relied on our emergency cash reserves to remain open when allowed, but even then, visitor number restrictions due to social distancing have made it near impossible to generate enough revenue to just break even.
“Without financial support, we are facing an uncertain future and may have to close.”
Dublin Zoo has been closed since late October due to Level Five COVID-19 restrictions; however over 400 animals still need daily care.
It estimates that it has lost out on over €8m in potential revenue from gate receipts so far this year.
“At this time of year, we are usually in the middle of Wild Lights and making preparations for the busy Christmas period, but instead we find ourselves fighting for our future and calling on the people of Ireland to answer our call and donate if possible,” said Dr Schwitzer.
“We are so grateful for the messages of support from our devoted visitors and annual pass holders who have shown an outpouring of love and compassion from the start.
“We are now asking those who are able to help us, to give what they can and help raise awareness for the Save Dublin Zoo campaign.”
Zoo management said every cent raised through the ‘Save Dublin Zoo’ campaign will go towards the care of an animal.
It costs €25 a day to feed a red panda and €50 a day to feed a lion, while an elephant's daily diet sets the zoo back €75.
The zoo said €100 will feed a southern white rhinoceros for a week.
Zoo management said it has been “transformed beyond recognition in the past decade” with major work undertaken to make it one of the best in the world.
They said that after 189 years, the zoo is now asking the Irish public to help guarantee its future and support our missions to protect wildlife for generations to come.
You can help the zoo today by donating, adopting an animal or organising your own fundraising event.