$6 Million shortfall: Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens struggling to feed animals

Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens struggling to feed animals

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens was expecting big crowds of visitors this year, but when the coronavirus pandemic hit, it suffered a financial blow.

The coronavirus pandemic has choked off the income of Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens.

Visitor counts are down, and revenues are off by $6 million, according to the zoo’s official website. https://www.jacksonvillezoo.org/

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Erin Donovan and her husband Mike visited the zoo today to celebrate her 26th birthday.

“Every year pretty much, she chooses one and that’s where we go,” said Mike.

The zoo reopened in June with new social distancing rules, personalized tours, and reduced admissions, but the park now faces a severe financial challenge.

Despite the difficulties, the zoo continues its animal rescue efforts.

“I was telling him earlier that all the precautions they took, everything was amazing,” Erin said of the zoo employees' efforts to keep visitors safe.

Now through Sept. 20, the zoo is hoping to raise $250,000 to recover from the loss.

The donations coming in will help feed and care for over 2,000 animals and over 1,000 plant species.

Erin and her husband were glad to pitch in to help.

“Super happy to help,” Erin said.

“If anyone who had the extra money was able to donate, then help that cause with feeding all of the animals in their housing here, that would be amazing,” Mike said.

Visitors say the fundraising is indicative of the zoo doing what it can to make ends meet.