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A Red Panda at Dublin Zoo, the cutest animal at the zoo. Sam Boal/
Dublin Zoo

Dublin Zoo and Fota Wildlife Park to get €3 million funding boost

The announcement follows a fundraising campaign launched last month by Dublin Zoo.

THE GOVERNMENT HAS announced funding worth €3 million for Dublin Zoo and Fota Wildlife Park in Cork. 

The announcement follows a fundraising campaign launched last month by Dublin Zoo, which has been severely impacted by Covid-19 restrictions. 

The funding will be divided between the two institutions, with €2m going to Dublin Zoo and €1m to Fota Wildlife Park.

The figures will be included in the OPW budget for 2021 and will allow both facilities to continue with capital projects already commenced. 

Minister of State for the OPW Patrick O’Donovan said today he was conscious of the “catastrophic effect” of Covid-19 on the income of Dublin Zoo and Fota Wildlife Park. 

“Both institutions rely heavily on the income from gate receipts which provide the means to improve and develop facilities for both animal welfare and for visitors.  

“I am delighted to be able to announce that the Office of Public Works will now be able to step in and provide much needed capital funding to ensure developments which have been commenced can be finalised as planned over the coming years.”

“I’d also like to pay special tribute to the public who responded so magnificently to the recent appeal from Dublin Zoo, which clearly shows the special place it holds for Irish people,” he said. 

Dr Christoph Schwitzer, Director of Dublin Zoo, said: “I would like to thank Minister O’Donovan and the OPW for making this funding available, after what has been a challenging year for Dublin Zoo and Fota Wildlife Park due to Covid-19.

“This essential financial support will allow us to re-commence vital work on capital projects, including the construction of world class habitats for some of our most endangered species.”

The Director of Fota Wildlife Park Sean McKeown thanked the Minister and the OPW for the funding.

He said Fota Wildlife Park would use  the funding to resume work on flood defences, a refortification of the sea wall, and construction of new habitats for the animals.

McKeown said: “We must also say a huge thank you to the public, our visitors and annual pass holders, schools and colleges and businesses for the phenomenal support shown during these uniquely challenging times.

“As we enter 2021, we are facing the real prospect of higher levels of Covid restrictions and a further loss of income, but we now do so from a stronger base with the assistance of Government and the people of Ireland.”

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