London Zoo fights to survive $1.4m monthly losses

London Zoo is normally one of the biggest tourist attractions in the UK's capital.

It's one of the world's oldest zoo's and research centers. It has thousands of animals. Charles Darwin has even walk its grounds.

But by remaining closed it's losing around £1 million or $1.4 million a month -- and its very existence may now be in peril.

Zoo keepers including team leader Kate Sanders say they’re becoming increasingly anxious.

"I'm concerned that the zoo might not survive. We are losing so much money. To just feed these animals it costs nearly a million pounds a month, and without any visitors coming in we're not getting any revenue, or very little. You know, some people are being very generous and we're getting lots of donations, and things like that. But it's not the same as having actual visitors here to support the zoo, and I'm worried."

Lockdowns meant the zoo was closed for 18 weeks in 2020 - wiping out ticket sales.

The current enforced closure will blow a $2.5 million hole in its budget on top of the $20.8 million loss last year.

Kathryn England is its Chief Operating Officer.

"We can't furlough animals and you can't furlough all of the staff that look after the animals, either. So, really in terms of what we can take advantage of, there is very little. The number of staff we can actually furlough and not have working is only a handful. So, it costs us a lot of money, but at the same time, you know we're willing to do that we have to do that for the sake of the animals that come first."

So for now, the monkeys’ pranks continue to go unobserved, penguins remain friendless and the future remains uncertain.

Video Transcript

- London Zoo is normally one of the biggest tourist attractions in the UK's capital. It's one of the world's oldest zoos and research centers. It has thousands of animals. Charles Darwin has even walked its grounds.

But by remaining closed, it's losing around 1 million pounds or $1.4 million a month, and its very existence may now be in peril. Zookeepers, including team leader Kate Saunders, say they're becoming increasingly anxious.

KATE SAUNDERS: I'm concerned that the zoo might not survive, you know? Like, we are losing so much money. So just to feed these animals, it costs nearly a million pounds a month. And without any visitors coming in, we're not getting any revenue or very little.

You know, some people are being very generous, and we're getting lots of donations and things like that, but it's not the same as having actual visitors here to support the zoo. And I'm worried.

[BELL RINGING]

- Lockdowns meant the zoo was closed for 18 weeks in 2020, wiping out ticket sales. The current enforced closure will blow a $2.5 million hole in its budget on top of the $20.8 million lost last year. Kathryn England is its chief operating officer.

KATHRYN ENLAND: We can't furlough animals, and you can't furlough all of the staff that look after the animals either. So really in terms of what we can take advantage of, there is very little. The number of staff we can actually furlough and not have working is only a handful.

So it costs us a lot of money. But at the same time, you know, we're willing to do that. We have to do that for the sake of the animals that come first.

- So, for now the monkey's pranks continue to go unobserved. Penguins remain friendless, and the future remains uncertain.