The Denver Zoo is fighting to keep their doors open and 3,000 animals fed amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Posted at 8:21 PM, Dec 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-29 15:35:40-05

DENVER — The Denver Zoo has about 3,000 animals to feed, which in a year costs about $1 million. Although they say it’s been a challenging year, their commitment to keep these animals fed remains strong.

"Food is not cheap. We go through about 400 tons of food every year and that’s meat, fish, grains, produce," said Jason Williams, the director of nutrition services at the Denver Zoo.

For years, Williams has been committed to serving up high quality meals to animals at the Denver Zoo.

"We go above and beyond here most of the time when it comes to the level of specificity when it comes to how we feed the animals," said Williams.

Like many other businesses, the Denver Zoo had to restructure and cut different programs to keep its doors open and to keep the animals healthy when the novel coronavirus arrived to Colorado. They're already short about $10 million in revenue this year compared to last.

"We cut back on our education efforts, we cut back on our international conservation efforts, we cut back on our capital projects. We would shut other things down, we would make other changes, we would do so much more before it ever got to that (cutting down on food expenditures for the animals)," said president and CEO of the Denver Zoo, Bert Vescolani.

It’s not only the food that’s a major expense. Caring for the animals, in general, costs about a million dollars a month. Something that wouldn’t have been possible without the community’s support.

"I think we take advantage of places like this and now with the pandemic we realize how important they are and how much good they do for the animals, for the community," said Maggie Toth who was visiting the zoo Monday.

And although this has been the hardest year the zoo has ever seen, there is optimism in what 2021 will bring.

"This is to important to our community. It’s a critical part of the culture of Denver and the Denver metro area," said Vescolani.

Click here to visit the zoo's website to donate.