OPINION: We need to support our local zoos and here’s why

Here in Kent we are spoilt rotten for nature reserves, wildlife parks and zoos.

Name your favourite animal and we have no doubt you’ll be able to visit them at either Howletts, Port Lympne or Wingham just to name a few – however, looking after these animals requires deep pockets.

Some of my first memories are of my mum taking me and my brother to visit the monkeys at the Colchester Zoo in Essex, where I grew up, and I remember knowing, even at a young age, how magical and special it was.

But a trip to the zoo is so much more than just looking at the animals; it can help visitors to the zoo understand the importance of taking care of the environment; teach families about the importance of conservation animal care and about the wide variety of animals that are on earth as you walk around the zoo.

It helps the general public to understand the importance of conservation and the effect the we humans have on nature and you get to see the animals close up.

A family trip to the zoo is one of the easiest ways to expose your kids (or yourself) to the wide variety of animals that exist on this planet, while also providing valuable teaching moments about conservation and the effects people can have on nature.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, whisking businesses from open to closed, zoos have been struggling to find the funds to re-open their doors and it’s no wonder with running costs up to £30,000 a week according to Port Lympne Hotel and Reserve.

Colchester Zoo revealed to the Daily Gazette the cost of feeding their 38 Humboldt penguins each day is a staggering £950.

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So, it’s no wonder our zoos are struggling now with overheads being through the roof and visiting numbers being cut down due to social distancing but zoos do so much good, we’d be foolish to not contribute to keeping them open.

Wild life parks are critical to conversion, according to IUCN, there are 39 animal species currently listed as ‘extinct in the wild’.

Nature reserves enable animals to appreciate in numbers before re-introducing the species back into the wilderness therefore helping with extinction numbers.

When booking to visit an Aspinal Foundation nature reserve 10% of your ticket price goes towards their charity, which helps to save rare and endangered animals.

The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) publishes on its home page that more than 700 million people worldwide visit zoos per year.

Also check out: 5 things you can do to help zoos at this time