The Toronto Zoo needs your help to feed its animals

The Toronto Zoo

The Toronto Zoo is asking for your help to keep the bellies of the 5,000 animals it cares for full.

The zoo counts on money from parking fees to cover their $1-million a year food bill. But with the zoo’s gates closed since mid-March because of COVID-19, that revenue stream has dried up.

The Toronto Zoo and the Toronto Zoo Wildlife Conservancy have launched a fund-raising campaign to try to recoup some of the money.

Beth Gilhespy, Executive Director of the Toronto Zoo Wildlife Conservancy says they expect it will cost $200,000 to feed all the animals, from bugs to bears, through the end of May. She is encouraged by early support of their call for help with $100,000 donations in the Zoo Food for Life campaign’s first day.

On the Toronto Zoo’s grocery list are items you might have at home: lettuce, carrots, squash, and fresh meat. But staff members also whip up gel compounds filled with a bunch of different kinds of food.

Gilhespy says the zoo is not considering rationing food to stretch supplies or money should the closure drag on.

“Whatever we need to, in terms of funds re-allocation, all that--the number one priority is to ensure the continued care of the animals,” Gilhespy told NEWSTALK 1010 on Friday. “We will get through this crisis, there’s no question.  And we want to make sure we have the same high quality zoo when we come out of it.”

You can give to the Zoo Food For Life campaign here: wildlifeconservancy.ca.