City Hall will help cover some of Prague Zoo’s financial losses, and the public can help too

The zoo has lost tens of millions of crowns in admission fees, but still has the same expenses to care for the animals

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston
Published on 04.11.2020 09:58 (updated on 04.11.2020)

Prague Zoo has been hit heavily by financial losses due to the coronavirus pandemic. The animals, though, still need to be fed and cared for and much of the staff still needs to work, despite he lack of visitors.

Prague City Hall will step in with 45 million CZK to help cover some of the losses. According to the zoo, that is equal to the amount of lost revenue from the spring alone.

"There is no doubt that the capital, and thus the Prague Zoo, will expect austerity measures in the coming months. Therefore, we want the Prague Zoo to enter next year in the best possible condition and without internal indebtedness,” Prague Deputy Mayor Petr Hlubuček (United Force for Prague), responsible for the environment, said.

Newly acquired red panda
Newly acquired red panda / via Tereza Mrhálková, Zoo Praha

In recent years, between 1.4 and 1.5 million visitors have passed through the gates of the Prague Zoo every annually. This year, however, there have been 836,165 so far. In addition, the Prague Zoo is currently closed again for many weeks, so it is highly probable that the current number will not increase significantly by the end of this year.

The losses to the zoo are not just from admissions. “We lose not only the entrance fee, but also the income from renting restaurants, selling souvenirs and parking fees. The amount that the city has now decided to help us with is very important for us not only in terms of its amount, but also in terms of reaffirming we have their support,” Prague Zoo director Miroslav Bobek said.

Prague Zoo is also supported by the public through adoptions or sponsorship of animals. Within the spring closure alone, these methods of support raised 2,317,488 CZK and in the autumn 1,137,267 CZK.

The adoption program lets people donate money to support a specific animal, and a name plate can be placed near the animal’s habitat. The larger animals are more expensive, but there are some available in every price range. The process can be done online. People can also donate money via an SMS text message.

Newly renovated hippo pavilion
Newly renovated hippo pavilion / via Khalil Baalbaki, Zoo Praha

“I thank the management of the capital and all individual donors for their help. It is a great feeling to know that we can rely on you,” Bobek said.

Prague Zoo saw a record number of visitors in 2019 with 1,456,526 people paying admission, and it was ranked as one of the top tourist attractions in the country. Users of travel website TripAdvisor The have ranked the zoo as the fifth-best in the world. It had been ranked as high as fourth in 2015.

Prague Zoo currently covers 58 hectares with 50 hectares used for exhibits. The zoo opened on Sept. 28, 1931.

Significant events in 2020 included the births of two elephants, the birth of a tapir, the arrival of a red panda and the renovation of the hippo pavilion.