It’s no surprise to say that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a massive impact on nearly every industry. Social distancing rules have forced most businesses to close their doors to the public, cutting off their income.
That’s been bad news for places like zoos and animal parks, who have still had to feed and care for their animals without any income from visitors.
It’s especially bad news for one zoo, who cares for thousands of endangered animals… but after they put out a dire call for help, one business stepped up to help out in a major way.
The Chester Zoo, in Cheshire, England, is one of the largest most popular zoos in the UK. They are a registered charity, caring for 35,000 animals without government assistance. It’s their mission to protect species at risk of extinction—many of their animals are endangered.
But now, closed indefinitely from the pandemic, they’re the ones who are at risk.
“We wanted to remain a beacon of hope. We really tried,” they wrote. “But now, as the government has ordered that we may have to stay closed indefinitely, it hurts us to say that this crisis has literally left us fighting for our future.”
They started a JustGiving page, which currently has £2,387,523 in donations, or over 3 million USD… an impressive number, but not enough to save the zoo altogether.
But now Iceland is stepping in to save the day. No, not the country, the British supermarket chain: they’ve agreed to adopt the zoo’s population of Humboldt penguins.
“We were all saddened to hear of Chester Zoo’s recent struggles; it’s the heart of the local community in Chester and a much loved family favorite – I remember visiting the zoo as a child and my own kids love going there,” Richard Walker, managing director of Iceland Foods, told Metro.
The Humboldt penguin is in special need of care: they are a protected, at-risk species. They’re population has declined due to overfishing and climate change.
By stepping up to financially support the penguins, Iceland has made sure they will continue to be protected and ease some of the financial burden Chester Zoo is experiencing. They’ve also offered to lobby the government to allow zoos to allow visitors soon.
“We’re proud to be able to lend them our support both through the adoption of the Humboldt penguins on behalf of our colleagues, and by lobbying in support of zoos being allowed to reopen soon,” Walker said.
While that is a huge help from Iceland, the Chester Zoo is still in need of continued financial help until they can get operations going again. Hopefully more companies will step up to help.
If you want to make a donation to the zoo, their ongoing fundraiser can be found here.
Thank you to this supermarket for helping these penguins! Share this good news!