Energy bill spike threatens zoos as Bristol shuts doors 'Komodo dragon can't wear jumper!'

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There are fears that other British zoos may have to close, partially due to falling visitor numbers and the impact of the lockdowns, but also the impact of spiralling energy bills. Along with other businesses and charities, zoos do not benefit from the energy price cap.

They also need a substantial amount of energy needed to maintain the temperatures for the animals, meaning their energy bills are likely to rapidly increase.

Chester Zoo is one example with 20,000 animals and five national plant collections across its 128 acre site.

Its annual energy bills usually come to £1.5million, however, this year they are expected to rise to £2million for the first time, it has been reported.

Next year they are expected to soar to £3million according to the zoo’s CEO, Jamie Christon.

Mr Christon said that he had to maintain certain temperatures for the animals which added to the zoo’s skyrocketing energy costs.

He also added that he thought the cost of living crisis would also have an impact on visitor numbers.

He told the i: “I can’t put a woolly jumper on a Komodo dragon – I have to maintain the temperatures these animals thrive in.

“I have large, very well-heated or very well-ventilated habitats around the zoo… Those animals and plants have to be maintained whether it is cold, hot, wet or dry. 

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This could cover the entire animal feed for three months or the veterinary care costs for four months.

Mr Field added that the zoo may have to scale back on some of its conservation and community pledge.

This could include a pledge to reverse the decline of 50 species including endangered wildcats and pine hoverflies, in Scotland, by 2030.

David Meek, interim CEO at Twycross Zoo in Leicestershire said the COVID-19 lockdowns had hit his zoo hard.

He said: “As a charity-run zoo the impact of Covid was hard.

“Our main source of income comes from our visitors and though our gates closed to the public, our animals still needed feeding and caring for on a daily basis.

“The financial impact was significant.”

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