Lifeline of £51,000 raised for Dudley Zoo after toughest year in its history

A lifeline of £51,000 has been raised for Dudley Zoo after one of the hardest 12 months in its 84-year history.

After three lockdowns and months of the zoo being closed the zoo launched an appeal to cover the animal care costs.

More than 2,000 people have since donated £51,000 which has provided a "much-needed lifeline".

A black and white ruffed lemur

And bosses at the zoo have thanked those who have helped it through such a tough time.

Derek Grove, zoo director, said: “As it’s ‘Love your Zoo Week’ this week, we’d like to say a big thank you to all of our supporters who have helped us to raise £51,000.

"Having to endure three lockdowns, with zero income, combined with animal care costs meant we were reaching crisis point, but we’ve been totally overwhelmed and grateful by the donations we have received."

The zoo gave examples of what the money will go towards: £1,200 enables them to feed and care for their Humboldt penguins for one month, £1 covers the upkeep and care of one lemur a day, £20 feeds one sloth for one week, £100 covers the care of their Asiatic lions for one week, £15 enables them to feed their giraffes for one day and £250 covers the cost of a week's portion of fish for their sea lions.

The Castle Hill-based attraction reopened its doors on April 12, as part of the Government's roadmap out of lockdown.

And in recent months work has been ongoing on Dudley Zoo and Castle's new outdoor orangutan enclosure.

An empty paddock adjacent to the current area has been cleared in preparation for building work – which will see the space transformed for the zoo's Bornean orangutans Benji, Jazz and Sprout.

Penguins. Photo: Neil Pugh

Amended plans, at a cost of £500,000, will now see the grassy paddock encompassed with a high mesh and glass barrier, with a semi-circular overhang at the top, which the orangutans will be able to access from their current dens.

A large timber climbing frame, hammocks and ropes will keep the arboreal great apes active and an outdoor heated shelter will keep them warm on cooler days.

Once the new outdoor exhibit is completed, it is hoped the zoo can secure additional funding to redevelop and combine the current outdoor space.

Money has been raised with the help of fundraisers and visitor donations over the last few years.

For more information, or to donate, visit justgiving.com/campaign/DZCanimalcarefund

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