Sir David Attenborough has sent out a warning that the London Zoo is at risk of going extinct due to the devastating effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
The naturalist and broadcaster is fronting an appeal to help protect the Zoological Society of London, which operates Whipsnade and London zoos.
The sites have now opened to the general public but the closure during the pandemic has greatly impacted the income of the charity. In March, it was the first time it had been forced to close since the Second World War.
Dominic Jermey, the director general of the organisation, has explained that the charity has faced its toughest challenge in its 200 year history due to the financial impact of coronavirus.
Sir David Attenborough issued a video appeal to the masses to raise funds for both the London and Whipsnade Zoos. He described in the TV appeals that the ZSL’s charity work would be vital to bring forward a vision of a thriving world of wildlife.
He mentioned that both zoos house over 20,000 animals, with many of them being endangered in the wild.
“ZSL now faces its toughest challenge to date. Put bluntly, the national institution is now itself at risk of extinction,” he said.
“Without your help, we could see the closure of the world’s oldest scientific zoo, the place where generations of people have forged a love of wildlife through their joyful interactions with animals.”
The London zoo is the world’s oldest scientific zoo which was opened on the 27th April 1928. Initially the zoo was opened for scientific study but eventually it was opened to the public in 1947.
The commonly nicknamed ‘Regent’s Zoo’ is home to an incredible 673 species of animals, which makes it one of the largest collection of animals in the United Kingdom.
The site is situated north of the Regent’s Park directly in-between the City of Westminster and the borough of Camden.
As mentioned earlier, the zoo is managed by the Zoological Society of London with the society also managing Whipsnade Zoo in Bedfordshire which is a more spacious site housing the larger animals such as the rhinos and elephants.
The society is entirely funded by sponsorships, ‘Friends’ and ‘Fellows’ memberships and entrance fees to generate its income.