Emergency Financial Support

Emergency Financial Support Needed for Marine Mammal Park, Zoo, and Aquarium Animal Care Costs

Dedication to daily animal care never ends even while parks are closed during the pandemic crisis.

The coronavirus continues to have a devastating impact on zoos and aquariums, most of which remain closed and without gate revenue. These facilities have a unique and urgent need for financial assistance to help continue to cover animal care expenses. The Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks & Aquariums (AMMPA) has joined with other like-minded associations and asked Congress to include emergency animal care funding in the next COVID-19 relief package.

We sent a letter yesterday to congressional leadership, signed by AMMPA, the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians, American Humane, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the International Marine Animal Trainers Association, and the Zoological Association of America, advocating for that aid. (Read the letter)

Last month, AMMPA and its members reached out to elected officials to ensure that the zoological community was not overlooked as Congress crafted the CARES ACT, an earlier COVID-19 economic relief package that provided access to capital and interest free loans to stabilize American businesses. Thankfully, some AMMPA members have been able to take advantage of the relief offered through CARES Act programs. Unfortunately, while some of the CARES Act programs offer expedited financial assistance for expenses such as payroll, rent and utilities, the allowed expenses do not include the cost of animal food, medicine, and other critical care needs. These expenses are unique to zoological facilities, and they are urgent. As you know so well, we don’t have the luxury of waiting to apply for loans which, based on recent experience after hurricanes, can take many months if not years to provide desperately needed resources. Zoos and aquariums have an urgent need for immediate access to funding for animal care needs.

We need you to help amplify our voice. We urge you to reach out to your Representatives and Senators, share with them the attached letter, and ask them to support the animals in the care of our nation’s zoos and aquariums. Please make the contacts ASAP. Since most staffers are working remotely, email to their offices is best. You can find contact information for your Senators at www..senate.gov. For your Representative, please go to www.house.gov.

Key points for you to convey in your messages to your Members of Congress include:

  • COVID-19 continues to have a devastating impact on zoos and aquariums across the country.
  • The animals in these facilities have critical daily needs, including food, veterinary care, enrichment, and habitat maintenance. Unlike other types of businesses and organizations, zoos and aquariums can’t turn out the lights, lock up their buildings, and go home.
  • Animal care costs for food, medicine and medical supplies, diagnostics, environmental testing, life support systems, etc., are extremely expensive. To help them weather this economic storm, they urgently need your help to ensure that the next COVID relief package includes expedited emergency funding to help the treasured animals in our care.
  • Expedited funding available through the CARES Act does not cover animal care expenses, and with cash reserves running short, there is an urgent need for financial assistance.
  • The zoological community is seeking $800 million from USDA APHIS or from another qualified government entity that has an existing grant program to help while during this period without visitors and gate revenue.
    • A letter signed by a unified coalition of associations representing zoos and aquariums, animal advocates, and other professionals who work with and advocate for animals is attached.
  • The animals are a critically important in education and conservation programs and are essential to promoting environmental stewardship. Providing this urgently needed economic support for animal care is the humane thing to do in the short-term and will in the longer-term help zoos and aquariums continue to foster in future generations of Americans an appreciation for the importance of conserving a wide range of species and their habitats.

Thank you in advance for your quick response and for your support of zoos, aquariums, and the animals in our care.