Iceland Supermarket Has Adopted All Of Chester Zoo's Penguins To Help It Survive
Last week, the Cheshire-based zoo announced the financial implications of COVID-19 meant it was heading toward debt in excess of £24m by the end of 2020, and asked the public for donations to help it stay open.
Now, frozen food specialist supermarket Iceland has - aptly - agreed to take over financial responsibility for the zoo's entire rookery of Humboldt penguins.
As well as adopting the penguins (native to Chile and Peru), the supermarket has also agreed to lobby the government to amend legislation to allow zoos to open with social distancing measures in place.
Richard Walker, managing director of Iceland Foods, said: "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 favourite - I remember visiting the zoo as a child and my own kids love going there.
"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. The conservation work undertaken by the zoo is vital and along with the park itself reopening it is incredibly important that this amazing work is able to continue."
In their statement last week, Chester Zoo said they had to "sit back and watch" as people "pile onto beaches and into public parks" with no way of ensuring social distancing.
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Meanwhile, their 128 acres of gardens and 16km of pathways (in which they could control numbers and safety measures) are forced to remain closed - the consequence of which is having a devastating impact on the zoo's financial position.
"As the UK's biggest and most popular charity zoo, we've tried to stay positive during this pandemic," said Chester Zoo in an Instagram post on Thursday 4th June.
"Our conservationists have continued to prevent extinction, our virtual days have cheered up the nation, and our learning resources have helped thousands of home-schooling families.
"We wanted to remain a beacon of hope. We really tried. But now, as the government has ordered that we may have to stay closed indefinitely, it hurts us to say that this crisis has left us fighting for our future.
"Not being able to open, despite being a huge outdoor site with all the necessary safety measures in place, is having a devastating impact on our much-loved zoo. We're heading towards debt in excess of £24m by the end of 2020 - this will financially cripple us. We need to raise £1.6m each month to keep going."
Chester Zoo - which is currently home to over 35,000 threatened and critically endangered animals - has set up a JustGiving page which you can donate to here. So far they have raised £2,329,468.
Give what you can to keep the much-loved zoo open.
Featured Image Credit: Chester Zoo
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