Join our zoo community

COVID-19 effects on zoos and animal conservation

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by DelacoursLangur, 6 Mar 2020.

  1. Mr. Zootycoon

    Mr. Zootycoon Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    3 Jun 2015
    Posts:
    852
    Location:
    probably in a zoo
    It appears that the Dutch zoos won't reopen until the 1st of June, as all "events" and "gatherings" are forbidden in the Netherland until then.
     
    Last edited: 23 Mar 2020
  2. KevinB

    KevinB Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    11 Apr 2015
    Posts:
    803
    Location:
    Heist-op-den-Berg, Flanders
    In that case the Dutch will sadly probably have to say goodbye to most if not all of their great zoos.

    No business with high expenses, like zoos, can survive two months with little to no revenues, even if they have some savings. Especially if those two months are part of the high season of those businesses when a lot of people visit and spend some money there.

    So sad and infuriating that this awful virus has to ruin so much that we love.
     
  3. lintworm

    lintworm Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    27 Oct 2008
    Posts:
    4,707
    Location:
    Europe
    No they won't. The main zoos are currently all financially healthy and/or backed by a wealthy owner. The main exception would be Wildlands, but given the political backstory they won't let it disappear, which would also be a folly given the long-term returns of the huge investment made. Recent years have been good for most zoos and most have been able to save substantial sums of money.

    By far the largest cost of running a zoo is paying all employees, this is exactly where zoos are already saving costs with the grounds closed.

    Large investments will probably get postponed, but I am not afraid of any of the larger zoos in the Netherlands closing.
     
    amur leopard, Vision, Arek and 7 others like this.
  4. KevinB

    KevinB Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    11 Apr 2015
    Posts:
    803
    Location:
    Heist-op-den-Berg, Flanders
    I really hope you are right and that my biggest fears do not come to fruition.

    Two Dutch zoos (Ouwehands and Artis) have already confirmed that they will remain closed until at least June 1st under the containment measures of the Dutch government. Two and a half months of closure is a very long time for zoos that are open year-round to have little revenue and no visitors, even after considering savings from years past and possible cost savings on some operating costs like staff and supplies for visitors. They still have to pay to feed and keep the animals and that isn't cheap at all.

    And no-one can tell at this point whether this will be long enough. We just don't know with this virus. Events for the summer months are already being postponed or cancelled, and today it was announced that even the Olympics will be postponed. There seems to be serious chance that the 2020 summer season might also go down the drain with regards to tourism and recreation. So it remains to be seen when and if zoos will be able to make up for their lengthy forced closures.

    Maybe there is no reason to despair at this point, but I would say there is definitely reason to worry quite a bit.
     
  5. lintworm

    lintworm Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    27 Oct 2008
    Posts:
    4,707
    Location:
    Europe
    When looking at Artis, they have the potential to go on for a year, just with the specific savings account they have for such purposes (composed of 5 million euros, according to their annual report, which is based on all the strictly necessary costs for 1 year). If things would get really dire they have another savings account with a similar amount of money, but this is marked for other things already, but could probably be moved if necessary. So a zoo like Artis could survive from a crisis, even if the zoo has to remain closed for the rest of the year.

    Even a zoo like Blijdorp, which was in lower financial health has 19 million euros in savings, which is meant for future investments, but could probably be used to survive such a crisis.

    It is for sure a long time for zoos to be closed and it won't be good for any of them, but **** happens and proper management means that a zoo is prepared for such singular events. Fortunately in the Netherlands this is the case for the larger players, small zoos don't have this luxury and there will be casualties at some point.
     
    Haasje and KevinB like this.
  6. KevinB

    KevinB Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    11 Apr 2015
    Posts:
    803
    Location:
    Heist-op-den-Berg, Flanders
    I don't know exactly how or where you got those figures but that sounds pretty good in times like these.

    I tried to look up some data on the financial situation of Pairi Daiza, the Royal Zoological Society of Antwerp and Pakawi Park. I found some data but unfortunately I don't know how to correctly interpret all these financial data and really the only one I could work out to go by is their profits. All three turned a profit in the latest data set. Quite substantial profits for RZSA and Pairi Daiza, only a small one for Pakawi Park though.

    Based on this I would say the RSZA zoos and Pairi Daiza also have some reserves. The spokesperson of Antwerp Zoo did say in a recent video on the Antwerp regional TV channel that the closure at a normally busy time is a big financial loss so I'm sure there will be consequences.

    Pakawi Park would likely be in big trouble much more quickly - and that would likely be the case for other smaller collections also. I don't want to see those go either and if they were to go broke, I fear what would happen to their collections.

    I still hope zoo visits will be possible again in a few months time, and that there will be a zoo season 2020 despite this horrible situation. I'm sure our beloved collections will suffer substantially from this crisis, but I hope they will survive and be able to rebound at some point.
     
  7. AmbikaFan

    AmbikaFan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    30 Sep 2015
    Posts:
    1,476
    Location:
    Dunellen, NJ, USA
    The kind of funds Lintworm describes is known here as an endowment. It is money that has been given by large donors strictly for the purpose of having funds for such an emergency and to earn interest that can be used either for general needs on occasion of to reinvest to make the endowment larger. As organizations like private schools, hospitals, museums, and theatre companies reach a certain size and impact more and more people, they have admiring large donors whose support can start an endowment. As Lintworm explains it, Artes has two endowments, one to support general operating expenses and one to support one-time capital programs like infrastructure, exhibits, and with zoos, perhaps even expensive animals. The statement of financial position (profit/loss) Kevinb looked at will likely not indicate this at all, with only the unearned income from its investments possibly reflected on the balance sheet. The bulk of the endowment information will appear in a separate portion of the year- end report, possibly with indication of what major sums were used for.
     
  8. lintworm

    lintworm Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    27 Oct 2008
    Posts:
    4,707
    Location:
    Europe
    Except that they are not endowments, but self-earned cash reserves.
     
  9. snowleopard

    snowleopard Well-Known Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    1 Dec 2007
    Posts:
    6,396
    Location:
    Abbotsford, B.C., Canada
    Woodland Park Zoo sent out an email this morning, stating that the zoo lost $1.9 million in the month of March and will "stand to lose an additional $2.2 million if we remain closed in April". That zoo in Seattle could be losing approximately $2 million per month for as long as it is closed, although I suspect that the email asking for donations to be put towards a "relief fund" will gain some interest. A lot of major American zoos are partially supported by local neighbourhoods in terms of tax dollars or bond initiatives or philanthropic donations. I'm hopeful that Woodland Park has some money set aside for emergencies and can start accepting visitors again by July and August. The summer months are obviously the key months of the year in the Northern Hemisphere for travel and outdoor trips to places like zoos.
     
  10. AmbikaFan

    AmbikaFan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    30 Sep 2015
    Posts:
    1,476
    Location:
    Dunellen, NJ, USA
    That's really impressive fiscal management, to be able to have self-earned cash reserves. Many of our arts, education, hospitals, and humanities are run on what is called a "not-for-profit" basis and enables them to solicit donations that are tax-deductible for the donor. But not-for-profits walk a thin line, as big donors, foundations, and government entities want to see that the organization keeps itself on stable financial footing. In other words, to keep getting your allotments for operating expenses you can't show that you're in dire financial straits, or you'll be deemed poorly managed. The distinction when first developed in the 1960s was "nonprofit," but that was changed to reflect that an organization could have a charitable purpose that might not otherwise survive on earned income that nevertheless manages to have a surplus each year. They may not exist for profit, but if well run, should be able to show one anyway. Our organizations are very reliant on foundation, government, and individual donations, and if TOO much profit is shown, grantors may deem grants to them as unnecessary; it a big deficit is shown grantors may deem them poorly managed and a poor candidate for a grant. Of course, very large museums who have been given huge bequests have equally huge endowments. It sounds as if it's adtually easier there, where there is a much higher proportion of ticket sales making up income, and the better a zoo can do, the more that can be banked. It's much easier for your zoos then to be freed from the whims of donors and do well enough at the gate to save large sums for a rainy day.
     
  11. Alex Bensky

    Alex Bensky Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    1 Nov 2010
    Posts:
    121
    Location:
    Royal Oak Michigan USA
    For a couple of weeks the Detroit Zoo was open, although the buildings were closed. You could still walk around the grounds, although they limited entry to 1,500 at a time and 5,000 per day. I live within walking distance so I went over a few times and never had a problem getting in.

    They've now closed until at least the end of April.

    There is a tri-county millage that brings in $11 million a year, about a third of the zoo's budget--the City of Detroit no longer offers any financial assistance. I haven't seen any information on whether the zoo's finances will remain in order or how this will affect planned projects, although I'm not aware of any major ones in the planning stage.

    They've recent opened a new red panda exhibit and a year late the Tiger Forest has finally been opened. Here's a video of that and you can see that these tigers are doing better than the Detroit Tigers. The other tiger in the exhibit is a sixteen year old female, Kisa. They are not planning on trying to breed her; she's too old and doesn't deal too happily with the adolescent boys that are our new pair. The keeper says when she goes breeding will be up to the AAZA.
     
  12. ThylacineAlive

    ThylacineAlive Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    20 Oct 2012
    Posts:
    8,747
    Location:
    Connecticut, U.S.A.
    Meant to share this a few weeks ago:

    [​IMG]

    Seems to be the conclusion to the WCS's pandemic info. photos.

    ~Thylo
     
  13. HOMIN96

    HOMIN96 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    24 May 2012
    Posts:
    915
    Location:
    Czech republic
    Interesting stat from director of Prague Zoo: out of 282 WAZA members, 256 are now closed.
     
  14. Echobeast

    Echobeast Well-Known Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    27 Apr 2017
    Posts:
    643
    Location:
    Colorado, USA
  15. Alex Bensky

    Alex Bensky Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    1 Nov 2010
    Posts:
    121
    Location:
    Royal Oak Michigan USA

    I don't know what Detroit has done about this but I have met some of the keepers at the zookeeper talks. They're always interested and interesting, informative, and very patient. I hope they're keeping their jobs.
     
  16. ThylacineAlive

    ThylacineAlive Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    20 Oct 2012
    Posts:
    8,747
    Location:
    Connecticut, U.S.A.
    There's always the possibility that these employees are being temporarily laid off so they can collect unemployment while the zoos are closed since there's no need for many of them atm anyway. That is what my uncle did with all 14 of his restaurants, and each employee will be welcomed back once they reopen again.

    ~Thylo
     
  17. Alex Bensky

    Alex Bensky Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    1 Nov 2010
    Posts:
    121
    Location:
    Royal Oak Michigan USA
    It could be that and I hope so. I substitute teach part time through a contracting company and last week we were encouraged to apply for unemployment compensation. There have been thousands of such applications in Michigan in the last couple of weeks so I'm not expecting a quick reply but fortunately I don't need the money right this instant.
     
  18. Neil chace

    Neil chace Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    27 Aug 2018
    Posts:
    463
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    One challenge that hasn't been talked about is that we are currently in the ideal window for transferring animals between zoos. With travel at a halt, many transfers probably won't happen and will affect next year's breeding seasons. Many transfers will probably end up being postponed until the fall, the other ideal window.
     
    Arek, nczoofan, Blijdorpenaar and 2 others like this.
  19. Blijdorpenaar

    Blijdorpenaar Active Member

    Joined:
    1 Apr 2018
    Posts:
    25
    Location:
    the Netherlands
    A fan organisation in the Netherlands has started an online action to gather money for the many smaller zoos here who are already feeling the heat. For 25 euros (roughly the same in US dollar, fyi) you can buy a “basket” of food. The money will be handed out to the zoos that need it the most. I know the guys behind the organisation, they’re good people. Red de kleine dierenparken

    On a side note: many smaller parks also have their own initiatives going. I am proud to have adopted a Java sparrow in Taman Indonesia :)
     
    TinoPup likes this.
  20. Jungle Man

    Jungle Man Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    24 Jan 2020
    Posts:
    1,528
    Location:
    Panama