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COVID-19 update

It is with a very heavy heart that we did not open Dartmoor Zoo this morning and we will be closed from today until further notice. At the moment this is the only available course of action to ensure the safety of visitors, members of staff and ultimately the animals, who are dependent on a functioning zoo surviving this period of uncertainty. The Trustees and Senior Management Team of the charity have tirelessly explored all the options currently available to us, and closing the gates to the public at the moment is the right course of action.

For now, we must emphasise that this is a temporary closure for public and staff safety, so that we can continue to provide a future for the animals here.

With the measures currently in place we are 100% confident that we will be able to re-open when circumstances allow, and we are actively exploring all the options in a rapidly changing situation. However, we are completely reliant on our ticket income  and as a result of the winter, our reserves are almost exhausted and we will soon run out of money. We hope to be in a position to borrow from the Government Scheme, however, this is unlikely to be enough and we need to ask you as our supporters to give as generously as you can in these difficult times so that we can keep Dartmoor Zoo functioning until things return to normal.

The entire world is stunned by this situation, but this country is pulling together and the authorities are supporting many businesses and charities, including this one, so that they can get through the coming weeks and start to return to normal as soon as possible. We are taking great comfort from this.

Dartmoor Zoo has always been a public resource, but one which is dependent on its public to support it.

Please do what you can to support us by buying memberships, using our online shop, making donations and even buying advanced tickets for when we re-open.

We are all devastated that we have to close, but with your understanding and support, we will be back as soon as we can.

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21 thoughts on “COVID-19 update

  1. Hi Guys,

    We are planning a visit tomorrow and wonder if the cafe is still open to get a hot drink, even if its takeaway and we are happy to use our own cups.

    Many thanks,


    1. Hi. Yes our restaurant is still open, we have taken all precautions such as spacing seating areas per recommendations.

  2. Are you opening Sunday Mother’s Day. My wife has brought tickets but the government has said not to go….I’m a little worried. I’m quite happy to move the dates if your closing

    1. Good morning, yes we are still open on Mothers Day. Our scheduled talks are now virtual, you just need to scan a QR code at the enclosure and you will be able to watch the talk. Our restaurant is now takeaway only but still open.

      1. Why don’t you appeal to the public to “adopt” one of your zoo residents, maybe by undertaking to pay the cost of feeding one, or a group of animals? What for instance does it cost to feed one of your lions? I would like to help if possible.

        Michael Thornton

        1. We offer adoptions on all of our zoo residents. There are 2 levels of adoption and there is full information on our web site shop. Thank you for your support.

    1. Good morning, yes we are still open on Mothers Day. Our scheduled talks are now virtual, you just need to scan a QR code at the enclosure and you will be able to watch the talk. Our restaurant is now takeaway only but still open.

  3. Hi,
    I was gifted a Virgin Experience voucher which has an expiry data of 08/12/2020 – what happens should this situation carry on longer than anticipated? I was so looking forward to my Meerkat meeting! (I haven’t yet activated the voucher yet.)
    Many thanks.

    1. Hi there, We will be able to fit this in before the expiry date hopefully. Alternatively, as long as you book it before the expiry date, we will book it for next year, no problem. Once the zoo is open again please get in touch and we’ll get a date booked in for you.

  4. I saw your appeal for donations on BBC Spotlight last night and quickly answered your request for help.

    I first visited the old Sparkwell Zoo as a small child in the late seventies and I like to visit Dartmoor Zoo once or twice every year. You all do fantastic work spreading the word about how amazing animals are and thank you so much for continuing to look after them during the lockdown. You are doing a wonderful job and I look forward to visiting many more times once you reopen.
    Let’s hope the government help all zoos throughout the country as soon as possible, but in the meantime I keep a monthly donation going until you reopen.

  5. We have lots of friends (children) etc. who would like to be involved with fund raising events why are the charity not calling for help instead of talking about eutheniasing these beautiful animals – who was tihis woman who was so negative instead of asking for help – there are many people in the Dartmoor area Plymouth area who love this park – we can help – get on to social media – get onto local news – stop being so negative and give us some hope.

  6. Hi Guys, as soon as you are open I would love to visit you and the animals. I live in London so will need to plan. I was unfortunately tested positive for COVID-19 while I was in hospital for an unrelated issue!

    1. We look forward to seeing you here soon. There is information on our web site about how to get here.

  7. I too will donate regularly until you are able to re open. I seen a piece on the news last night about how you are struggling to feed the animals. I wish you much luck in your appeal.

  8. Hello
    Very sad about your problem.Did owner of zoo park tried contect suppermarkets ,farms around UK?There are so many expaired food,fruits,vegetables,meat are throwing away in supermarkets.They are expired for human but could be OK for animal.Every body have got soo dificult time during lockdownUnfortunatelly I can’t halp with donation at the moment but I can spread and share some information on social websites.
    I wish you r zoo will survive and I hope I could visit your park in future.Wish you all the best!

  9. Hello. I’m from Arizona, USA. Me and my mother fell in love with the story of your zoo from the book and film and I was so saddened to realize that the zoo was being affected by the virus. I donated $6.21 cents, which is 5 pounds where you are. Hehe. I hope that helps a little. If a lot of people pitch in a little, it becomes a lot. I hope to visit you one day. Thank you.

  10. We first came to see you by chance after trying to visit Dobwall’s (which unknown to us had closed) on the way home from a holiday. Instead We followed the signs to the Zoo but when we arrived we found it was the day before reopening, our son was upset, but despite everyone under pressure to get ready we were allowed in a day early and staff even opened up the gift shop for our son to buy a toy animal. We have never forgotten how kind everyone was – we have made a donation and pray that all goes well for you all.

  11. I’ve never done anything like this, but I hope it takes a little pressure off for a day at least! I recently Bought my first home, quit my job (lets say covid was among the reasons but no unemployment like my fellow Americans are getting) Then had a freak accident so no income and no health assistance and released from hospital with nerve damage, and cervical spinal cord damage (I’ve lived a fragile life 3yrs b/c existing herniated disc in cervical spine that is couldn’t get treatment for) I say All this to tell you I’ve been blessed through this! A gofundme was set up for me from an unexpected new friend, a million lost friendships reunited at the news I was injured, and Medicaid set up, my relationship is even better! I’m getting proper help for my neck this time, which sometimes brings me to tears.
    I just watched the movie tonight for the first time, yes I know I’m behind the times, and yes I had heard how good it was, yet if I had watched it before it wouldn’t be during covid, so while checking out the real zoo behind the story, I wouldn’t have seen your dire need for assistance, if I had gone through this roller coaster going from thinking I was paralyzed, to walking around my yard and doing most of my self-care, I wouldn’t have felt so moved to donate such a chunk for me, when I’m the most frugal person I know! I’m not sure the time difference (I live in Arkansas) but I hope you find this and know you and your animals are loved and prayed for worldwide! 🙂 Pip Worrell

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