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Building a Zoo

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by Rsaltmarsh, 2 Jul 2016.

  1. Rsaltmarsh

    Rsaltmarsh Member

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    Hi this is my very first post but I have a question. Before I ask the question I would like to say that I don't want the answers " a lot of money" or " millions and millions of dollars." I would like to know how much money it takes to start a zoo, and upkeep it?:)
     
  2. Nikola Chavkosk

    Nikola Chavkosk Well-Known Member

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    I would start with 15,000 euros (about 17,000 USD)! OK this mean with just several animals, but officialy can be a zoo!

    I don't like either to read about big amounts of money, not like for example 3 milions of dollars just for building of one enclosure :)
     
  3. Rsaltmarsh

    Rsaltmarsh Member

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    Thank you Nikola.
     
  4. TheMightyOrca

    TheMightyOrca Well-Known Member

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    Starting costs would vary wildly depending on location, size, and what animals you have. It would be easier to come up with an estimate once you have an idea of what you'd like to start with, and what your long term goals are. Fountain Inn is in the US, right? I'd estimate about $10,000 minimum, for a small facility.
     
  5. jbnbsn99

    jbnbsn99 Well-Known Member

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    Here's a real-world idea scheme. How many keepers do you want to have? You need at least two so that they can have days off. At a bare minimum, you'd better be paying them at least $25,000 a year just so they could survive. $30,000-$35,000 would be better. You're also going to need people to sell tickets and clean up. Here, you'd look at at least three people. You might (and this would be sub-minimum wage) be able to do that at $15,000 a year. So right there, in terms of 5 employees, you're already at a bare minimum of $95,000 a year. That's before exhibits, animals, food, construction, insurance, promotion/marketing, upkeep, supplies, utilities (gas, water, electricity), vehicles for transport. We could take a look at those individually too. Utilities, expect about $1,000 per month, so $12,000 a year (again, bare minimum). Insurance,: you'll need property insurance, liability insurance, health insurance for the workers, auto for your vehicles, plus a few other policies - here's look at a bare minimum of $50,000 per year (possibly higher for an upstart with no experience). Vehicles: you have to have something to transport the animals, food, workers, and supplies. A good truck will be about $25,000, add on to that perhaps $200 in gas every month (another $2,400 per year). In order to promote and market your zoo so that people actually visit, factor in $1,000 a month (another $12,000 a year).
    So right there, we have $95,000 in staff salaries and $101,400 for services for a total of $196,400 per year (minus the $25,000 for the truck in years after year 1). This is before you have any animals, buildings, exhibits, or animal food. This also doesn't factor in basic supplies (tools, equipment, etc.), graphics, taxes, visitor amenities (like food, drinks, gifts, etc.).
    Oh, you also have to buy the land. Let's say you want a 10-acre zoo. A small zoo in it's own right. I found a patch of 10 acres in South Carolina for $34,000. But, here's the catch, it's not easily accessible for the public. So, if you want something that the public can access via good roads and feel safe, I'd budget for at least double that amount - $68,000. Running tally is now $264,400. Oh, and you'll have to pay property and school taxes on that land. In SC, property rate is 4% up to 5 acres. We'll use that as a base rate (above 5 acres is determined by local jurisdictions). Four percent of $68,000 is $2,720, and that's just for the land itself. Once you've developed that, that number will go up quickly. That brings our running tally to $267,120.
    Next thing you need to think about is sidewalks for the visitors. Say you have one mile of sidewalks - not unreasonable for a 10-acre zoo. The average rate on that is $204,000. You'll also need a parking lot. Be prepared to give up an acre of your land for that. Going rate for an asphalt parking lot is roughly a dollar a square foot. At one acre, you need to budget about $40,000. Running tally - $471,160.
    Note: we haven't built anything other than the sidewalk and the parking lot so far. There are no buildings, there are no exhibits, there are no animals.
     
  6. snowleopard

    snowleopard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    @jbnbsn99: your post was so entertaining and informative that I just read it twice!

    I find that many individuals on this site have no conception of how much things cost and the sheer volume of expenses at zoos is mind-boggling. The breakdown of the price of things in "jbnbsn99's" post is brilliant as it shows that even with almost half a million dollars, and with ultra-conservative financial estimates, nothing is accomplished in terms of buildings, exhibits or animals. Half-a-million bucks just gets you the absolute minimum start-up and involves zero exotic animals. Fencing a 10 or 20 acre zoo would cost an absolute fortune and there is a ton of extra expenses that were not even mentioned such as restrooms and drinking fountains. In this day and age I would imagine that to start up a small, legitimate zoo it would be best if an individual had a minimum of several million dollars at their disposal and even then there wouldn't be much to show for that money at all.

    @TheMightyOrca: $10,000 would get you a fence at most zoos...nothing else. :)
     
  7. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    I think in general the "Fantasy Zoo" enthusiasts only think of costs in terms of cage plus animal, maybe with the cost of the land as well. They give almost no thought to the costs of the essential infrastructure supporting the zoo, nor to the fact that the building costs are not even close to all you need - you need enough to actually run the facility after opening. If pressed there is often suggestions like "I'll fund it with donations and grants" and "I'll staff the zoo with volunteers so there won't be any wages" and "all the building materials will be donated" and "I'm expecting X number of visitors at X amount of entry fee".
     
  8. Nikola Chavkosk

    Nikola Chavkosk Well-Known Member

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    It depends a lot in wich country or on wich continent you are about to build a zoo; More often than not, you will don't need to pay for the zoo animals because you will get them as donation (eg. surplus animals in need to be housed) - this is easiest in Europe (a lot of zoo animals, from largest variety o f species) - where you can get even threathened species, it is more difficult in America (because of less available zoo animals from zoos), and would be almost impossible in Australia or New Zealand (because of small diversity and numbers of exotic animals in zoos, and strict laws owning importing animals).

    Like for example, I would pay about 380.0 USD bruto salary here (250.0 net) (R. Macedonia) on zookeeper, where average net salary is about 400 USD (in comparasion with for example Germany where the average salary is about 2,500 USD - 2,300 euros, its' 6 times lower). But prices here are also lower. You can buy 10,000 m2 of more-remote land for about 2,000 USD, and cost for rent of a apartment 50 m2 is about 100 USD/month. Yearly car inssurance is about 90 USD. So it depends where.

    That said, mine 17,000 USD in the previous post, here would be some equivalent of let say 51,000 USD in USA or in Australia or in Western and in Northern Europe.
     
    Last edited: 4 Jul 2016