One of Canada’s largest zoos is calling on the public for help amid the global coronavirus pandemic.
Granby Zoo has launched an online fundraising campaign to aid the park as it struggles financially.
The zoo has continued to take care of the animals after it was ordered to close its gates in March along with other non-essential businesses in a bid to limit the spread of the virus.
With no revenue coming in and no opening date on the horizon, director general Paul Gosselin fears for the zoo’s future.
“We have no revenue at all and on the other side, we have a lot of expenses taking care of the animals,” Gosselin said.
The park can continue running a deficit for another two to three months, according to Gosselin.
So far, the campaign has raised some $40,000, but much more is needed, according to park officials.
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The money will be going towards taking care of the 1,500 animals on site.
The zoo spends around $500,000 annually on food and veterinary costs.
“We need some support from the public to be sure to keep the highest level of animal care,” Granby Zoo animal care director Karl Fournier said.
The zoo is preparing for the worst — closing for the summer months.
Gosselin says that would be catastrophic as 80 per cent of the zoo’s revenue is generated during that time.
“The visitors are so important because they pay our salary, they pay the food for the animals, and no visitors means no revenue,” Fournier said.
Granby is one of the largest zoos in Canada, next to the Calgary and Toronto zoos, which are supported by the city. Granby is a non-profit.
Zoo officials say they have some relief via the federal government’s Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program but Gosselin says more governmental aid is needed to get through the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are expecting to be closed all summer long so based on that, we would need help from the government.”
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