When COVID-19 forced Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens to close its gates for two months, the nonprofit lost critical revenue during the busiest months. The zoo is now seeking help from the community to recover through ZOO-A-THON, which is set to raise $ 250,000 in donations by Sunday.
“Many people are surprised to learn how expensive it is to keep our daily operations running even after we closed to the public on March 14th. We still had to feed and care for our animals on a daily basis and employ dedicated staff who worked through our closure. We were closed during our busiest season and are still feeling the effects after we reopen, as our attendance averages less than half of what we normally see, ”said Tony Vecchio, Executive Director.
For assistance, send ZOO to (904) 560-5600 or donate online at JacksonvilleZoo.org/ZOO-A-THON. Every donation goes directly towards operating costs, including the care of more than 2,000 animals and 1,000 plants. The largest donor will receive naming rights for the Mandrill child born on August 1st and will be announced on Sunday during the one-hour finale on WJXT Channel 4 at 6:30 p.m. The show will be streamed live at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens with exclusive behind-the-scenes stories and content.
“We are grateful for the support from the City of Jacksonville and the many guests who have visited since we reopened, but there is still a long way to go. We hope we can hit our $ 250,000 goal to guide us through the rest of the year while continuing to provide the educational and conservation resources we need for our community, ”said Vecchio.
For over 100 years, Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens has endeavored to promote wildlife discovery and appreciation through innovative experiences in a caring environment. As of 1914, the zoo has a collection of deer fawns, more than 2,000 rare and exotic animals and 1,000 plant species, and has the largest botanical garden in northeast Florida. Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens is a not-for-profit organization, and a portion of every ticket sold goes to the 45+ conservation initiatives that Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens supports around the world, including here in Northeast Florida. JZG is proud to be an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. More information is available at jacksonvillezoo.org.