Colchester Zoo temporarily closes due to coronavirus and says future is uncertain
PUBLISHED: 14:30 22 March 2020 | UPDATED: 16:52 22 March 2020
Colchester Zoo is temporarily closing its doors on Monday to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.
In a letter from Dominique Tropeano, Anthony Torpeano and Sarah Knuckey – the zoo directors – it says: “It is with great pain and sorrow we have had to take the decision to close Colchester Zoo to visitors from the morning of March 23.
“The decision after consideration is taken with the interest of everyone, visitors, members of staff and our social responsibilities.
“We are in the unknown, we don’t know what the future for the zoo will be.
“Will we survive? When will we re-open? Will we have sufficient funds to continue?”
Colchester Zoo has faced long-term closures before, having had to combat a Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak in 2001.
“Coronavirus will strike anywhere, anytime and of course it is aimed at humans not animals, so hugely different to FMD,” the letter continues.
“During FMD we were also closed for weeks, we recovered with the help of our amazing supporters.
“I recall people sending donations, children breaking their piggy banks and donating whatever they had to the zoo.
“The experience was something we have never forgotten. The opening was smooth with the help of our then excellent and dedicated staff and within a year or so we were able to continue with the development of our planned projects.
“Colchester Zoo today is a very different animal to the then Colchester Zoo.
“We now have over 450 staff employed, and massive commitments to looking after and running conservation and education projects all over the world who depend on our help for their survival.”
Plans are being finalised to ensure customers who purchased tickets already will be able to attend the zoo at a later date and those with annual passes are not left out of pocket by the closure.
“Closure does not mean everything will stop, we will still be here working hard looking after our animals and our beloved zoo with affection and dedication,” the directors added.
“I am going to ask you to take good care of yourselves and your families during this time.
“Please follow NHS advice and be responsible so we can eradicate this disease as soon as possible and hope we return to normality with a smile.”