Welsh Mountain Zoo ‘looking into abyss’ due to lack of clarity over reopening date says boss
The boss of the Welsh Mountain Zoo says it is “looking down into the abyss” due to the lack of clarity provided by the Welsh Government on when it can reopen.
It was announced this week, that zoos, safari parks and drive-in cinemas in England can reopen from Monday subject to social distancing measures being put in place.
Wales’ Economy Minister Ken Skates yesterday said he hoped a future review would allow zoos to open their doors at some stage over the summer, but offered no firm indication of when that would be.
Nick Jackson, chief executive officer of the National Zoo of Wales – which runs the Colwyn Bay zoo – has now warned it could close for good unless more information is forthcoming soon.
He told BBC Radio Wales Breakfast this morning: “What we were hearing from the Senedd yesterday has given us no reassurance.
“We are not hearing anything that there is a possibility we are going to be allowed to reopen.
“We are haemorrhaging money from our reserve fund. We are looking down into the abyss.
“We can keep going for a couple of months at most. We need to know when we can reopen and when funding can come back into us.”
Mr Skates defended the government’s stance at yesterday’s daily press conference and highlighted the level of financial support provides to zoos in Wales during the pandemic.
He said the Welsh Mountain Zoo alone had received almost £350,000 through the Development Bank of Wales and the Economic Resilience Fund.
He said: “We are determined to do everything we can to help the 13 licensed zoos across Wales.
“I’m pleased to be able to tell the public today that to date, we have been able to make eight offers of financial support or grants available to zoos in Wales – grants that simply would not have been available in England.
“We are also determined to make sure that we support the animal welfare of zoos as well and making sure that our chief veterinary officer and her team of officers are in regular contact with zoos across the length and breadth of Wales.
“There will come a point where zoos can open safely, and I hope that that point is sooner rather than later, but we have to make sure that they can reopen in a safe way.
“That means introducing the guidance that is available to them. It means making sure that the public have confidence to be able to access them.”
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