Colchester Zoo's managing director has paid tribute to the "kindness and generosity" shown to the attraction in a heartbreaking letter.

Dr Dominique Tropeano has written a letter of thanks to all those who have donated to help the zoo keep going during the coronavirus pandemic.

Last month the zoo confirmed it costs in excess of £25,000 a day to run the zoo.

Through its Colchester Zoo Operating Fund it is asking for funds to support the running of the zoo while lockdown continues.

The letter said: "We have just enjoyed some of the sunniest April weather in living memory, a very sad time to be closed, particularly missing the usually excellent busy Easter holiday.

"On the positive side, we have no reports of any of our staff being infected, therefore grateful the measures in place have worked and we can get on with our business of keeping the zoo going.

"Whilst we had the glorious sunshine the zoo looked lovely this spring, when the weather is warm, the animals are energetic and keen with lots of lovely babies to excite us all.

"Sadly, we seem to be spending our day in a ghost town or more appropriately a ghost zoo, this is really odd.

"Many of us, performing our daily duties, still find it very strange and have difficulty in coming to terms with this isolation and the lack of life we are experiencing.


"However, everyday all staff turn up for work early in the morning to carry out almost the same routine as it has always been.

"This is a great bunch of people turning up with energy and dedication to carry out those daily tasks with a great smile on their face.

"We have been overwhelmed by the generosity, by the support and help so many people have given us since closing down because of Covid-19.

"This is a spirit we have never previously experienced, the kindness is really overwhelming to the point where it has left us almost speechless and, in some cases, even emotional.

"We have saved no life, we have not put our life on the line like nurses or doctors so we certainly are no hero, all we do is look after our animals which is our job.

"Therefore, to have received so much praise, to have received money from so many people including children giving up their precious savings, to people who bring fresh fruit and vegetables, is simply amazing.

"People have walked, people have run, people have done all sorts of unimaginable efforts to do their bit to demonstrate the support they have for the zoo.


"To say we are grateful and emotional over this enormous sense of affection and care towards the zoo by so many people is simply overwhelming.

"So, on behalf of all the staff and all the animals here at the zoo we want to say a huge thank you to all of you for your help, for all your kind words and your generosity.

"We know in these difficult times so many organisations need help and the fact you have decided to help us means a lot to us, the animals and our survival.

"Let me also say that no one here connected with the zoo will ever forget this, what you have done for us because of the love of your zoo, thank you for this affection, thank you for this generosity."

In his letter Dr Tropeano also explained why the zoo needed support from the public.

It added: "Perhaps we need to make sure you know why we are in the situation we are in, just like so many others within the hospitality and leisure industry who are fighting for their survival.

"After a long winter, when expenditure is high and income low, we always rely on Easter to bring crowds and income to top up our accounts and keep us going.

"Easter has been and gone, we will also miss May Bank Holiday and will probably miss half term at the end of May which will have a massive financial impact for the future.

"We know every business is suffering from financial constraints but animal-based organisations have extra responsibility that even when closed the running costs are high and we must supply and maintain normal services and duties.

"We have always ensured we keep our spending in line with our income, so this loss means any capital project will be shelved, probably for a long time, and our efforts must concentrate on ensuring we are able to get through this winter, whilst hoping some sort of normality will return in 2021 so people can taste again a normal life.

"Covid-19 has been something exceptional and has made us sit back and perhaps re-consider what was our normal way of life and we can wonder what will be our new normal life.

"There have been many heroes from doctors to nurses, to other staff working with the NHS but also so many volunteers who have done so much for so many - Humanity at its very best.

"Keep safe and look after yourselves. Thank you for your support and help, we will never forget it and we hope we can continue our work."

You can donate to Colchester Zoo’s Zoo Operating Fund via their at