Skip to main content

Coronavirus Zoo Animals Fund

Volume 692: debated on Thursday 22 April 2021

The zoo animals fund has supported a wide variety of zoos throughout the pandemic—56 to date—and it continues to do so. It has helped to ensure the continued welfare of zoo animals and to prevent unnecessary euthanasia. We are really pleased that zoos of all sizes and types have been able to secure funding.

The problem is that the £100 million announcement was more froth than substance, with only £5 million or £6 million of it being spent and not returned to the Treasury. Will Ministers now agree to extend the zoos fund to the important conservation, educational and scientific work that is the bedrock of so much of what our zoos contribute to the global situation?

I do not accept that. This is a real fund, which is being used on the ground to help zoos get through the pandemic. I am very pleased, as I know the hon. Gentleman is, that Chester zoo is now open and that baby Albert the giraffe is open to view. We have extended the fund, for example, to include repairs and maintenance. We continue to work on the fund, but I politely suggest that other Government and UK funds are available to help with the important conservation work done by zoos, such as the Darwin initiative and the green recovery challenge fund. I encourage the hon. Gentleman to work with Chester zoo to look at whether those would be suitable.