The Deep is one of many zoos and aquariums fighting for survival as the UK-wide lockdown due to coronavirus continues.
The closure during the busiest months of the year, Easter in particular, is already having a major impact on finances at The Deep, and despite the doors being closed to the public, essential work caring for the 3,000 animals that reside at the attraction must continue.
As an educational charity, The Deep receives no external funding or subsidies. It is 100% reliant on self-generated income with visitor admissions making up the bulk of this.
Katy Duke, CEO at The Deep tells us more: “This is the toughest financial crisis that our industry has faced, and the unknown length of the shutdown makes it even harder. During the closure, our income has stopped but our costs haven’t. Animal care remains our top priority, but as you can imagine, this isn’t cheap. In addition to food for our animals we must continue to run life support filtration systems, maintain excellent water quality, which involves making salt water for the exhibits and extensive water testing. Veterinary care must be on hand should we need it and of course the associated utility bills must be paid.
“Our dedicated team of Aquarists are continuing to provide expert care and are working seven days a week to ensure the highest standards of animal care and welfare are maintained. Safeguarding staff is just as important, so the team has been split into two alternate shifts to reduce contact and the risk of infection.
“We have furloughed many our employees under the Government’s job retention scheme across the different departments however we cannot furlough our animal care staff, who, in the context of zoos and aquaria are our essential workers.
Katy continues: “The next few months will be critical for us. This really is about financial survival and we will be continuing to pursue all avenues available to us including a Government backed loan. Even with furloughed staff our running costs to keep our ‘closed’ building operational is around £6,500 a day.
“As we approach what would have been our busiest season of the year, the Easter holidays, we are asking our loyal supporters for help. If you would have visited us over this holiday period, please consider making a donation. We know it’s a difficult time for everyone, so I would like to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has donated so far, offered support or simply given us words of encouragement. It means so much to the team who are working so hard.
“We really hope we can survive this, and to continue to be an educational resource for our area and a strong animal conservation charity.”
If you are able to donate, any amount, large or small, simply follow this link https://www.thedeep.co.uk/conservation/support-us and click on the DONATE button at the bottom of the page – you can donate via PayPal or on a credit/debit card.