The Government has announced €3 million in extra funding for Dublin Zoo and Fota Wildlife Park in Cork. 

The funding will be used to complete capital projects which have already been started at both facilities. 

€2 million will go to Dublin Zoo and €1 million to Fota Wildlife Park. 

Minister of State for the Office of Public Works, Patrick O'Donovan said the money was additional to the supports being provided by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage. 

Minister O'Donovan said: "We all know that Covid has had a catastrophic effect on the income of Dublin Zoo and Fota Wildlife Park. Both institutions rely heavily on the income from gate receipts which provide the means to improve and develop facilities for both animal welfare and for visitors."

It comes after €2 million was raised through a public appeal for Dublin Zoo last month

Dublin Zoo director, Dr Christoph Schwitzer said: "I would like to thank Minister O'Donovan and the OPW for making this funding available, after what has been a challenging year for Dublin Zoo and Fota Wildlife Park due to Covid-19.

This essential financial support will allow us to re-commence vital work on capital projects, including the construction of world class habitats for some of our most endangered species." 

Dublin Zoo has to meet the cost of feeding and upkeep of the animals, which runs to about €500,000 a month. 

Revenue streams, in the form of gate receipts and onsite sales, have all but evaporated because of Covid-19 and to date this year it has lost over €8 million in potential revenue. 

Meanwhile, Fota Wildlife Park has received an influx of donations and support from the public, visitors, annual pass holders and schools as a result of the recent 'Save Dublin Zoo' campaign.  

Fota Wildlife Park has been involved in the conservation and reintroduction of some species that are extinct or close to extinction in the wild. These include the Scimitar-horned oryx as well as the European bison.

The park, which is located on 100 acres at Fota Island east of Cork city, is currently the second largest visitor attraction in Ireland outside of Leinster