Zoo and Aquarium Emergency Operating Funds

Date: 18/03/2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has fast become a global crisis with more than 173,000 confirmed cases as of 17 March.

A number of WAZA members globally have had to temporarily close down to the public following in-state or national governmental advice. Many WAZA Institutional Members are non-profit organisations and rely on ticket and membership sales, and donations to operate. Please consider supporting your local zoo and aquarium with a donation to assist them with caring for their animals and staff. 

Below are a few funds which have been set up by WAZA members. We would also advise you to check the websites of your local zoo and aquarium to see if they need support.

Parco Natura Viva, Italy

Parco Natura Viva in Italy has been closed since earlier this month and is currently in dire need of support. Cesare Avesani Zaborra, CEO of Parco Natura Viva shares more information in the video below. 

To donate directly to the zoo, please visit the Parco Natura website, here.

Bristol Zoological Society, UK

“As a charity, your support is more vital to us now than ever – we rely on the income from our visitors to continue our valuable conservation work at home and overseas.

Our priority has been to ensure the welfare of our staff, volunteers and visitors. However, we also have the same duty of care to the thousands of animals at Bristol Zoo Gardens, Wild Place Project and those we work to protect in many countries around the world. This will and must continue.”


Fundación Zoológica de Cali, Colombia

We are a non-profit foundation dedicated to the care of life, with more than 40 years of history contributing to the conservation of natural and cultural heritage. We believe in conservation as a social agreement to guarantee the conditions that make life in the territory possible and we have actively joined the SDGs, as a global agenda that helps us work for a world where no one is left behind and where it is possible the well-being of human and non-human communities. We restore, conserve, investigate, generate knowledge and experiences, develop platforms, promote sustainable uses, generate value and pride in society with the work of more than 250 collaborators who are part of the FZC. To support during this time of crisis, please consider making a donation. In the donation form, CC and NIT, are the Colombian ID abbreviations, but foreign donors can simply write their ID number in the place it says numero de orden/facture. It is important that donors choose the option of ‘anticipo’ at the time of making the donation.”


Cango Wildlife Ranch, South Africa

“As one of only two facilities in Africa to hold both PAAZA accreditation (Pan Africa Association of Zoo’s and Aquaria) and membership with WAZA (World Association of Zoos and Aquariums), we receive no government funding and have always taken enormous pride in being self-sustaining. Our credentials, accolades, education achievements and conservation successes exceed that of our longevity. However, now we find ourselves alongside the rest of the world, contending with a global crisis… and a crisis of our very own.”


Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, USA

“As a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden relies on ticket sales, zoo visits, and donations to operate. As our animal care team continues to provide excellent care for our animals, being closed will have a significant impact on our overall operating budget. Please consider a donation to our emergency operating fund to assist us in the care of our animals and team members. Your support is critical – now more than ever.”


Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, USA

As a non-profit, we rely on visits from guests to support our operations and animal care. Even though we are closed to the public, our essential staff are hard at work. If you are able to donate to help keep operations running smoothly, please consider.”


San Antonio Zoo, USA

“As a 501(c)3 nonprofit, San Antonio Zoo relies on ticket sales, donations, annual pass members, and our community partners to support our mission in securing a future for wildlife. While we are closed to help stop the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19), our amazing animal care staff are hard at work ensuring our animals get the care they need while the zoo is closed.”


Tulsa Zoo, USA

“As a non-profit organization, your Tulsa Zoo relies on ticket sales, membership sales, education program revenue and donations. Although we are closed to the public, our animals still require daily care, including food, medical attention and exhibit maintenance. This loss of revenue has a significant impact on our overall operating budget. We know this is an uncertain time for everyone, but hope you will consider a donation to our emergency operating fund to assist us in the care of our animals and staff. No gift is too small to make a big impact.”


Tennessee Aquarium, USA

“Our doors may be closed for the time being, but we continue to care for our animals and facilities. Please consider a donation to our Emergency Operations Fund to help us support our animal care and team members. We look forward to welcoming you back to the Aquarium soon. Thank you for your support!”


The Deep, UK

“The Deep relies on admission income and donations to pay for the running costs of the exhibition, its animals, overheads, staff and programmes of conversation, education and community outreach.

During this period of closure our funding from admission tickets has stopped. As a charity, our financial reserves are limited, so we’re asking you, our friends and supporters, to consider making a donation to help us continue our work beyond the period of Covid 19.”


Zoo Negara, Malaysia

“Zoo Negara is managed by the Malaysian Zoological Society, a non-governmental organization that survives mainly through its gate collection and sponsorship from individuals, schools and corporate companies.

All our animals are up for adoption and you may help us adopt one by maintaining its annual food, enrichment and veterinary care. In return, you will receive a certificate of adoption stating your selected animal and we will even acknowledge you in our annual report with the amount you have sponsored.”


ZooTampa at Lowry Park, USA

“During these uncertain times, we are reminded that compassion and generosity make up the fibers that keep our community together. Our commitment to provide the more than 1,100 animals who live at our Zoo with superior care, veterinary oversight and daily enrichment activities will never waiver. As a non-profit organization, depending on ticket sales, zoo visits and donations to operate, our temporary closure will have a significant impact on our overall operating budget. Your support is critical as we continue our mission to be a place where families can come, escape from daily lives, and connect with each other and wildlife.

Please consider a donation to our emergency operating fund to assist us with the care of our animals and dedicated team.


Woodland Park Zoo, USA

“The zoo is a 501(c)(3) non profit organization and closed to the public earlier this month to help slow the spread of coronavirus. The zoo initially announced closure through the end of March, but has extended the temporary closure until further notice, following state recommendations. Every day the zoo is closed, critical funding is lost for the nearly 1,000 animals in the zoo’s care. In these unprecedented times, the zoo has launched the Woodland Park Zoo Relief Fund and is asking the community for support and donations. With zoo gates closed to guests, the loss of earned revenue is devastating. In March, the zoo lost $1.9 million, and in April the zoo will lose $2.2 million in crucial funding. Open or closed, Woodland Park Zoo and its dedicated animal care and veterinary teams care for the largest number of live animals in Washington State. Right now there is an urgent need for resources to continue providing this extraordinary care.”


Zoo Knoxville, USA

“Zoo Knoxville is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and 75% of their daily operating funds come from sales of tickets, annual passes and memberships, events and education programs. The zoo closed voluntarily effective Monday, March 16, 2020, to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The closure coincided with the beginning of area spring breaks and the time of year when the zoo begins to generate operating income that supports them for the entire year. Each day the zoo is closed, they are losing an average of $22,500 that directly supports the animals. We are sensitive to the fact that our community’s needs are many at this time. We are so grateful to those that have asked how they can help. If you are able, please consider a donation to our Emergency Animal Relief Fund to assist us in maintaining the highest quality animal care. Your support is critical—now more than ever.”



The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) is the global alliance of regional associations, national federations, zoos and aquariums, dedicated to the care and conservation of animals and their habitats around the world.

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