There is strong evidence to suggest that Covid-19 originated from a wild animal source linked with the illegal wildlife trade. ZSL’s scientists’ study zoonotic diseases and their transfer route to humans. Research and training the next generation of conservation scientists is essential to prevent future pandemics.
Over the last 18 months, due to UK Government legislation around COVID-19, ZSL’s Zoos were closed for over 40-weeks, with teams of dedicated specialists continuing to care for our animals. This deeply affected our main income source, and we had to spend down our cash reserves to look after our animals within our zoos – we will not ever compromise on animal welfare at any point.
Although we are delighted that our zoos are now reopened in a COVID safe way and we can welcome our visitors back, the closure of ZSL London and Whipsnade Zoos has had a significant impact on ZSL’s ability to provide the vital financial support needed for our critical global conservation programmes and to support our vital scientific research.
ZSL has been working tirelessly to end the illegal wildlife trade, the fourth most lucrative criminal network globally, worth $20 billion. We do this in partnership with governments, national, regional and local stakeholders. We work to protect and conserve habitats and improve the wellbeing of vulnerable local communities, most of whom are deeply impacted by the impact of the Covid 19 pandemic.
In areas such as Tsavo West National Park, Kenya, we work to conserve the critically endangered Black rhino. The halted tourism revenue has also had knock on effects on our anti-poaching patrolling efforts. Without intensive patrolling by our dedicated teams, there is significant risk to the security and survival of the black rhino population. This undoes 6 years of intensive conservation work in Tsavo West, with the recovery of the black rhino population, and a population growth rate of 5% per year, with zero rhino poaching in 2019. Urgent funding is needed to enable this anti-poaching patrolling to continue, and to protect the Black rhino.
When you give to ZSL America, you’re enabling ground breaking research and conservation that plays a vital role in Preventing the next Pandemic as well as ensuring a healthy planet where wildlife thrives, as do the communities that live alongside them.