'Animals can't be furloughed': US zoos struggling during Covid

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Thu, 6 Aug 2020, 3:04PM
(Photo / Getty)

'Animals can't be furloughed': US zoos struggling during Covid

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Thu, 6 Aug 2020, 3:04PM

As Covid-19 decimates tourism businesses across the world, one sector contemplating its future is zoos and animal parks.

Zoos across the US are now reopening, but they're unsure how they will survive.

Many visitors are still staying away, while animals still need feeding and caring for – and zoos can’t afford to do that without visitor money coming in.

Dino Ferri, the President of Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Garden, told Kate Hawkesby that attendance goes down when Covid case numbers go up.

"I think it's fear, I think it's uncertainity. I think people are really starting to question their life choices right now."

However, those questions are "crushing" his zoo. Ferri says they lost US$1.5 million in revenue in the two months they were closed.

"By the end of the year, we know we're going to lose US$2.4 million."

While staff can be furloughed, the animals can't be. It costs around $13,000 a day to operate the zoo, but they are not making that money. 

He says that closing the zoo is a possibility now, but he is confident that the animals would be sent to other zoos and find good quality homes.