Denver Zoo annual food budget nearly $1M, challenging to feed hungry animals through pandemic


DENVER (AP/KDVR) — Katrina Eschweiler has 3,000 hungry diners to satisfy every day of the year. It is an enviable client base for any eatery in these turbulent times.

But these diners are the year-round inhabitants of the Denver Zoo, and feeding more than 450 species is a painstaking, serious business.

The coronavirus has made the task more daunting. The zoo was closed for nearly three months early in the pandemic.

Today, it allows reduced crowd sizes. That has cut into revenue and led the Denver Zoo to ask supporters for donations to cover its nearly $1 million annual food budget.

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The Denver Zoo made this statement in response to the current situation:

Thanks to tremendous support of our guests, members and donors this year, we are not currently struggling to feed our animals. The wellbeing of the 3,000 animals under our care is and has always been our absolute priority, so we have adjusted in other areas to offset financial loses resulting from our 87-day closure and mandated reduced capacity.

As a nonprofit, we rely in part on donations to help operate the Zoo and our programs, including the feeding and care of our animals. That support has been more crucial than ever as we’ve navigated through the most challenging period of our 124-year history.

Tickets are not available at the Denver Zoo during COVID restrictions. The Zoo is limiting the number of visitors per day for proper social distancing and pre-purchased tickets are set for a certain time to stagger the amount of guests in the park at once.

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