Coronavirus (COVID-19): Support for zoos and aquariums

Eligibility for animal welfare grants for licensed zoos and aquariums affected by coronavirus (COVID-19).

If you run a licensed zoo or aquarium in England and are experiencing severe financial difficulties because of lost revenue, you can apply for a grant of up to £100,000.

How much you get will be based on your animals’ needs. You can use the grant to cover animal-care costs that you cannot lower such as:

  • keepers’ wages
  • animal feed and bedding
  • veterinary care and medicines
  • electricity and heating
  • waste removal

If Defra approves your application you’ll get payments over a maximum of 3 months.

The fund is:

  • not a guarantee to save every zoo and aquarium business or job
  • intended for smaller zoos at immediate risk
  • in place to protect the welfare of animals living on site or by rehoming


You can apply to the Zoos Support Fund if your zoo or aquarium is based in England and either:

  • holds a licence (full or dispensation) under the Zoo Licensing Act 1981
  • has been granted an exemption under the Zoo Licensing Act 1981 and holds a licence under the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) Regulations 2018

Before you apply for a grant, you must try to:

You may have to submit evidence of this when you apply.

You’re not eligible if:

  • your zoo was in financial difficulty on 31 December 2019 (defined in Article 2-18 of the General Block Exemption Regulation)
  • you’ll have received direct grants of more than €800,000 under the COVID-19 temporary framework once this grant is awarded

How to apply

Apply for the Zoos Support Fund.

If you’re in severe financial difficulties, apply as soon as you can to avoid delays in payment.

Published 4 May 2020