How the future of zoos could be extinction thanks to Covid-19

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British zoos have warned they face permanent closure if the Government does not reverse its decision to keep zoos shut as lockdown eases.

There are 141 zoos and aquariums in the UK, which attract hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. They are bracketed under other "ticketed outdoor leisure venues", like theme parks, and are not being allowed to reopen until next month at the earliest.

Zoos are reliant on income from visitors to care for their animals and to fund global science and conservation projects. But they have been closed since March and are now heading towards financial crisis.

Larger zoos, such as Chester Zoo and London Zoo, are not able to apply for up to £100,000 in grant funding from a zoos fund set up by the Government last month. Some have launched appeals to raise desperately needed funds.

A Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs source said "work is ongoing to understand how and when zoos and aquariums may be able to reopen in a safe way to the public whilst maintaining social distancing".

A spokesman for the department said: "We understand the challenges faced by zoos and aquariums during these unprecedented times, but it's vital that we do not move too quickly in reopening to ensure public health is protected.

"We have provided a £14 million support fund to ensure smaller zoos are able to continue to care for their animals. We are also continuing to engage with some of the larger zoos to discuss their concerns around reopening and the need for further funding."

Watch the video to find out how British zoos have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

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