Launches new fundraising effort during COVID-19 pandemic to support nutrition needs

TORONTO, ON, Thursday, April 16, 2020: For more than 45 years the Toronto Zoo has been committed to saving and protecting endangered wildlife and species at risk in Canada and around the world. Now the Toronto Zoo Wildlife Conservancy, established in 2019 to secure financial resources for the Zoo’s programs, is adding its support not only in the fight against extinction but for a new fundraising campaign launched in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The COVID-19 pandemic, and the closure of the Toronto Zoo on March 14th, has brought an immediate and critical initiative to the forefront for the Wildlife Conservancy. “The Zoo’s priority during this closure is to ensure that the animals continue to receive the highest quality of care, while protecting the health and safety of our dedicated staff,” said Dolf DeJong, Toronto Zoo Chief Executive Officer. The cost of food for the Zoo’s 5,000 animals is $1 million per year and is normally funded by parking and admission revenues. The Wildlife Conservancy has launched the Zoo Food for Life campaign to raise funds to offset these lost revenues.

The Toronto Zoo Wildlife Conservancy will be reaching out to the public over the coming weeks to highlight the Zoo’s nutrition program and its funding needs.  Animals at the Toronto Zoo are known and loved by millions and people care deeply about their health and wellbeing.  “The Wildlife Conservancy echoes the Toronto Zoo’s commitment to caring for the animals, no matter what the situation” said Beth Gilhespy, Toronto Zoo Wildlife Conservancy Executive Director. “We are focusing our fundraising efforts, with the help of our donors and the broader community, on the Zoo Food for Life campaign to support the animal nutrition program during this difficult time.”

“Our mission at the Toronto Zoo is to connect people, animals and conservation science to fight extinction, and we are thrilled to have the Toronto Zoo Wildlife Conservancy working with us to fulfill our vision of a world where wildlife and wild spaces thrive,” added DeJong.

“We’re excited to be adding our support to the Toronto Zoo,” said Paul Doyle, Toronto Zoo Wildlife Conservancy Board Chair. “Extinction is forever, and the Toronto Zoo’s work in fighting extinction –  through research, public engagement and education, breeding and reintroduction programs – is vital to the survival of wildlife here and around the world.”

With the global rate of animal and plant extinction now estimated at nearly 1,000 times the natural rate, it is critical that wildlife conservation organizations work together to educate the public and take actions to stabilize, then reverse, this alarming trend. CLICK HERE for more information about the Toronto Zoo’s nutrition program and how the public can help.


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Media Contact Information:

Beth Gilhespy
Toronto Zoo Wildlife Conservancy Executive Director
(416) 392-5913
[email protected]

Katie Gray
Toronto Zoo’s Manager of Strategic Communications
(416) 938-5283
[email protected]

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