Chester Zoo has been left fighting for its future and faces crippling debt as the attraction has been ordered to close indefinitely by the government.
The Zoo has not been able to open due to the coronavirus outbreak, despite being a huge outdoor site with all the necessary safety measures in place.
The closure is having a devastating impact on the zoo which is heading towards debt in excess of £24m by the end of 2020.
The zoo needs to raise £1.6m each month to keep it going to overcome crippling debts.
Chester Zoo has launched a Save Our Zoo campaign to raise money to help towards keeping the Zoo running and to look after its 35,000 critically endangered animals.
Chester Zoo said on its website: “We’re having to sit back and watch as people are piling onto beaches and into public parks, where there is no way of controlling numbers, no way of guaranteeing people are socially distanced and no way of ensuring safety. We, can do all of this.
“We look on as, from this week, private gardens open up, while we and our own 128 acres of gardens and 16km of pathways remain closed, and under enormous financial pressure.
“Preventing extinction NEVER STOPS! And with over 35,000 threatened and critically endangered animals at Chester Zoo, our keepers and conservationists are still hard at work, come rain, hail or shine, making sure they all receive the same care and attention they enjoy all year round.
“Despite everything going on, our conservation experts will continue the fight to prevent extinction, and ensure a future for endangered species, no matter how big or how small.
“Whilst we plan for as many eventualities as we possibly can, this situation we all find ourselves in is extraordinary. Visitor income is critical to us; it makes up about 97% of our income.
“Without being open, this certainly has its challenges, but whatever happens we’ll continue to provide each and every animal with the same incredible care they receive all year round.
“So many of you have asked how you can help, and the absolute best way you can do so right now is by making a small donation if you can, and allowing us to use it where we need it most.
“After all, it costs us a MASSIVE £465,000 a month simply to look after the animals and plants!
“These are difficult times for everyone, so make sure you and your family come first. After that, if the lack of your daily take-out coffee means you have a bit spare to donate to your favourite charities, then please do. Charities need your support more than ever.”