December 28, 2020

Recovery Mode

An Update on Denver Zoo’s Animals and Financial Health

Yesterday the Associated Press published a story with the headline “Denver Zoo Struggles in Pandemic to Feed Hungry Animals” that ran across a number of news outlets. Many of you have expressed concern for the Zoo and our animals, and even offered to help, so we want to provide additional information to help you better understand our situation as we head into the new year.

Our incredible keepers, veterinarians and nutritionists have made sure our animals’ needs are met day in and day out, regardless of the circumstances. The health and happiness of our animals is our absolute priority, and we have adjusted our operations across the organization to make sure they never miss a meal. And thanks to you—our guests, members, donors and supporters—we have begun to recover from the significant financial losses that resulted from our 87-day closure and ongoing mandated reduced capacity. You can rest assured that all of our 3,000 animals have been exceptionally well-cared-for throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

The past 10 months has been the most challenging period in our 124-year existence. After being closed for nearly three months through our peak season, we were able to reopen at only a fraction of our normal capacity and continue to operate at a significant deficit. We have had to make many difficult decisions that have impacted our staff, campus, educational programs and conservation efforts, but we have never sacrificed our animals’ care or wellbeing.

As we turn the corner into 2021, we are in a much better financial position than earlier in the year—and are feeling optimistic about our future, for a number of reasons. We have been able to remain open and keep our guests, staff and animals safe and healthy; funding from the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD) has been better than expected, thanks to strong consumer confidence and spending; and we’ve seen an incredible outpouring of support from the community. As a nonprofit, we also rely in part on fundraising to help operate the Zoo and our programs. That support has been more crucial than ever this year, and words cannot express our gratitude to those of you who have visited, purchased or renewed a membership, or made a gift to the Zoo.

We encourage you to read the article to find out what it takes to feed 3,000 wild animals, and why your support continues to be so important. If you’d like to make a gift to support the Zoo, you may do so here: https://denverzoo.org/support/zootrition.

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