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Sir David Attenborough fronts TV appeal to save ZSL

“ZSL’s work is vital in driving forward a vision of a world where wildlife thrives, but ZSL now faces its toughest challenge to date – the national institution is now itself, at risk of extinction.”

Sir David Attenborough is fronting a TV appeal to save conservation charity Zoological Society of London  (ZSL) “from extinction”.

The emotive video – due to air across Sky channels from today, Thursday 9th July –  paints a stark picture for the iconic institution, founded in 1826, and its two zoos, London and Whipsnade.

ZSL relies on income from zoo ticket sales to fund global science and conservation projects in more than 50 countries around the world. Closed to the public since the end of March, ZSL’s two zoos were shut for an unprecedented three months, putting huge pressure on the charity’s reserves. 


David Attenborough opens Komodo Dragon house 2004 (ZSL)

ZSL Director General Dominic Jermey said: “The closure of London and Whipsnade Zoos put us under immense financial pressure. Our zoos may have been able to reopen their gates, but with strict social distancing measures and heavily restricted visitor numbers we have no way of recouping what was lost; we’re fighting our biggest challenge in our 200-year history.”

Jermey added; “Unlike any other UK zoo, our zoos are the lifeline for ground-breaking research at the world-renowned ZSL Institute of Zoology and fund our global conservation projects – work that has never been more vital. As well as educating and inspiring millions of people to make a difference for wildlife, we’re at the forefront of research to understand how diseases such as coronaviruses transfer from wildlife to humans, and we’re using our expertise to help find new ways for humans and wildlife to peacefully co-exist. The world cannot afford for our work to be stopped; but we need help to keep going.”

The ZSL appeal video – watch here – has been produced for free by agency Wunderman Thompson, with all broadcast slots also given for free, meaning all donations go directly to supporting the campaign.

To support the ZSL appeal visit

Main image: David Attenborough and Bulu the orangutan April 1982 (ZSL)

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