PORTLAND, Ore. — The Oregon Zoo, which has been closed to the public since mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic, is asking for donations from the community.
“We planned for the future. We had reserves in place - but nobody was prepared for this level of catastrophe. In an instant, we lost 60% of our revenue,” said zoo director Don Moore in a news release Thursday.
The zoo has been closed since March 17, which means there has been no revenue from admissions and sales for over a month.
"That's a cliff," Moore told KGW Thursday night. "We have enough in reserves for the next several months and then we hit a bigger cliff."
Meanwhile the zoo has been offering new behind-the-scenes videos of animals and animal care staff on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok. The zoo has also been sharing activities on its website, developed by its education team, aimed at children ages K–5.
Now, the Oregon Zoo Foundation, the private nonprofit fundraising arm of the zoo, is asking for donations through a new emergency recovery fund. The fund’s goal is a $1 million infusion to support zoo operations during the closure.
To contribute to the fund, go to oregonzoo.org/donate.
Donations are tax deductible. Still, at a time when money is tight for most everyone, Moore said he couldn't thank the public enough for giving.
"We're going on furlough, I get it. It's huge," said Moore. "We would be so grateful for every dollar, every penny."
The zoo is home to around 2,500 animals and more than 200 different species.
Moore said the zoo’s animal-care team has not slowed down during the pandemic, but acknowledged that the future is uncertain.
“We can get through this crisis, but only with the support of our community,” said Bob Lee, who oversees the zoo’s animal-care programs.