€1.6million has been secured by Ministers Darragh O’Brien TD and Malcolm Noonan TD for the zoo sector through the National Parks and Wildlife Service at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage.
The funding was secured by Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien and Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan on Friday night. It followed a week of extraordinary public support for the sector, spearheaded by a ‘Save Dublin Zoo’ campaign.
Dublin Zoo and Fota Wildlife Park in Cork are to share €1.1million of the allocation, which will help support them through some of their current difficulties.
Both Ministers O’Brien and Noonan have welcomed the funding, which will support the operations of 71 zoos and aquaria. Many in the sector have reported financial difficulties arising from being unable to open due to restrictions to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
Commenting Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform Malcolm Noonan said:
Earlier in the week I was glad to confirm that the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage was working on options which would offer short term financial support to help the zoo sector.
The State does not ordinarily provide funding to the zoo sector but this has been an incredibly challenging year due to the pandemic, and our support recognises the vital role played by our zoos as networks for global conservation of biodiversity, as centres of learning and places where lifelong memories of families and children are made.
The outpouring of public support sparked by the Dublin Zoo appeal is testament to the great love so many people have for our zoos. I am mindful too of the staff, whose primary concern has always been the animals in their care. I do hope that Government can continue to support our zoos and Aquariums until they can open their doors again and thrive,” he concluded.
Minister O’Brien added: I joined the thousands of people all over Ireland in ‘adopting’ and animal from Dublin Zoo this week. I think the campaign, which had a global reach and was featured in the New York Times, shows just how loved our zoos are and how they are an important place for making memories. I am delighted that our Department was in a position to help.
“COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on so many aspects of our society but it is important that we support this sector to ensure zoos do not face a welfare crisis this winter due to lack of access to funding. This will also safeguard employment and stimulate local economies in recovering by ensuring the continued operation of viable zoo establishments throughout the country. He concluded.
Grant funding of €500k is to be made available to 69 small and medium size zoos and aquaria. A distinct emergency fund of €1.1m is to be made available to the two largest zoos, Dublin Zoo and Fota Wildlife Park, in order to prevent these large zoos of national strategic importance from closing.
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