After three closings and months of closure of the zoo, the zoo appealed to cover the costs of animal care.

More than 2,000 people have since donated £ 51,000, providing a ‘much needed lifeline’.

A black and white vari lemur

And the zoo bosses thanked those who helped him through such a difficult time.

Zoo Director Derek Grove said: “As it is ‘Love your Zoo Week’ this week, we would like to say a big thank you to all of our supporters who have helped us raise £ 51,000.

“Having to endure three lockdowns, with zero income, combined with animal care costs meant we were reaching a crisis point, but we were totally overwhelmed and grateful for the donations we received.”

The zoo gave examples of what the money will be used for: £ 1,200 allows them to feed and care for their Humboldt penguins for a month, £ 1 covers the upkeep and care of one lemur per day , £ 20 feeds a sloth for a week, £ 100 covers the care of their Asiatic lions for a week, £ 15 allows them to feed their giraffes for a day and £ 250 covers the cost of a week’s fish for their sea ​​lions.

The Castle Hill-based attraction reopened on April 12, as part of the government’s roadmap to get out of lockdown.

And in recent months, work has continued on the new outdoor orangutan enclosure at Dudley Zoo and Castle.

An empty enclosure adjacent to the current area has been cleared in preparation for construction work – which will see the space transformed for the Borneo orangutans at Benji Zoo, Jazz and Sprout.

Penguins. Photo: Neil Pugh

The modified plans, costing £ 500,000, will now see the grassy enclosure surrounded by a high mesh and glass barrier, with a semi-circular overhang at the top, which orangutans will be able to access from their dens current.

A large wooden climbing frame, hammocks, and ropes will keep arboreal great apes active, and a heated outdoor shelter will keep them warm on the cooler days.

Once the new outdoor exhibit is completed, it is hoped that the zoo can secure additional funding to redevelop and combine the existing outdoor space.

Funds have been raised through fundraising and visitor donations over the past few years.

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