Colchester Zoo ‘not out of the woods’, warns Priti Patel

Priti Patel with Colchester Zoo staff Melissa Dench, Dr Dominique Tropeano and Sarah Forsyth Picture

Priti Patel with Colchester Zoo staff Melissa Dench, Dr Dominique Tropeano and Sarah Forsyth Picture: STUART GULLEFORD - Credit: Archant

Home secretary Priti Patel has warned Colchester Zoo is ‘not out of the woods yet’ as the attraction continues its recovery from the coronavirus lockdown.

Colchester Zoo reopened to visitors back in June after a three-month closure Picture: STUART GULLEFO

Colchester Zoo reopened to visitors back in June after a three-month closure Picture: STUART GULLEFORD - Credit: Archant

Ms Patel, who is also MP for Witham in Essex, visited the zoo on Friday for a tour and update on how the venue has fared since reopening to visitors back in June.

She met with members of management on her visit and praised staff for making the zoo ‘safe’ and introducing measures that reduce the risk of speading Covid-19.

Colchester Zoo shut its doors for nearly three months after the government ordered its closure back in March - with bosses turning to crowdfunding online to pay for maintenance costs and food for the animals.

Ms Patel said: “I was very impressed with the major effort the zoo has made to adapt their facilities in a way that respects social distancing.

Priti Patel with Colchester Zoo staff Melissa Dench, Dr Dominique Tropeano and Sarah Forsyth Picture

Priti Patel with Colchester Zoo staff Melissa Dench, Dr Dominique Tropeano and Sarah Forsyth Picture: STUART GULLEFORD - Credit: Archant

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“They have created an environment that feels safe and I commend them. I was in contact with the zoo during lockdown and made representations to the government about the high quality of their reopening preparations. “With major ongoing daily costs, there is no doubt that the zoo has been hit hard by the long pandemic closure. Even though it is now up and running, it is not out of the woods yet and urgently needs donations towards its ‘Save the Zoo’ campaign.

“Colchester Zoo is a superb attraction for Essex and a well-known and respected centre for research and conservation. I hope local people will continue to give it their full support.”

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Dr Dominique Tropeano OBE, the zoo’s managing director, added: “It was great to see Priti again and we were very pleased to show her the changes we have made to make our facilities as Covid-19 proof as possible.

“We were also able to brief her on the latest situation regarding the zoo’s finances and our plans for the future. Her support is greatly appreciated.”

MORE: £20 will feed a spider monkey for a day - how you can help save Colchester Zoo’s animals

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