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Zoos: Coronavirus

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 17th June 2020.

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Photo of Lord Greaves Lord Greaves Liberal Democrat

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the future prospects for (1) Chester Zoo, (2) other major zoos and (3) small zoos; and what plans they have to secure the future of zoos and their animals.

Photo of Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park The Minister of State, Department for International Development, The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Minister of State

We recognise that zoos are working tirelessly during this challenging time to ensure the health and welfare needs of animal collections in their care continue to be met. We have been engaging regularly with zoos, including Chester Zoo, to gather information and supporting evidence to understand the impacts of coronavirus on the sector.

The £14 million Zoos Support Fund was opened on 4 May to help those zoos, safari parks, aquariums and eligible farm visitor attractions in severe financial distress due to the disruption caused by coronavirus. This Fund remains open for applications until 19 July 2020.

As announced by the Prime Minister on 10 June, outdoor areas of zoos and safari parks are now allowed to reopen, subject to appropriate social distancing measures being in place. Allowing zoos to reopen is an integral step towards supporting an early financial recovery.

Consideration of proposals for any longer-term support that might be needed for the sector is ongoing. With the help and support of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) we are working diligently to find the best way forward.

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