Sir David Attenborough has stepped in to save London Zoo from closure creating an appeal to raise £12m.
Everybody’s favourite TV personality and naturalist is at the front of a campaign that is aiming to raise £12m of a £25m rescue package to save the 18,000 animals at London Zoo.
The famous London Zoo is ‘at risk of extinction’ after being closed for 12 weeks due to lockdown. Eight keepers have been living in a lodge at London Zoo in order to keep it afloat.
Bosses have struggled, like at many other zoos, to keep up with the huge prices of the animal food bill, which costs £43,500 monthly according to The Times.
London Zoo opened last week but the bosses say that they are still in ‘dire peril’ due to social distancing rules limiting the capacity of the zoo to a fifth of its normal capacity.
Sir David said: “What happens if you can’t raise the money to keep the animals? What happens if you can’t afford the food? Are we supposed to put them down?
“The immediate prospect of the zoo going financially bust is too awful to think of. Are we, or are we not, a civilised community that it can’t support a zoo?”
The zoo has claimed it is facing the worst crisis it has ever seen since its opening in 1847. The coronavirus lockdown is the second time London Zoo has closed, the first being the Second World War which saw it close the gates for just two weeks.
The Zoological Society of London, a charity who owns the zoo and the zoo in Whipsnade, Bedfordshire, said they lost a whopping £8.5million in profit over the Easter and May holidays due to closure.
The ZSL’s conservation work is vital and could be jeopardised if funds are not raised urgently.
The zoo is not eligible for a government bailout and bosses would be unable to repay interest costs on a business interruption scheme loan.
The charity works with the government to tackle animal rights issues such as the illegal wildlife trade and simultaneously carries out research on diseases transmitted from animals to humans. It’s conservation work also helps to protect endangered species.
Keepers at the zoo also say that animals have struggled with the lack of human interaction during the lockdown.
Sir David has said it would be a ‘scandal’ if the country can’t support London Zoo which was the first scientific zoo in the world.
Sir David Attenborough’s career launched after he directed the Zoo Quest series on BBC at the London Zoo.
He said in his appeal: “There are three times as many people living on Earth as when I was collecting those animals. So the natural world has been overtaken by humanity and in the course of that we have denied space for a lot of animals.”
The zoo keepers at London Zoo currently take care of 16 species that are extinct in the wild, plus an additional 42 critically endangered species.
Once it is safe to release animals into their natural habitats, the zoo does so.
Donate to London Zoo here.
Manchester’s George Floyd mural has been defaced with racist graffiti once again
The mural of George Floyd in the Northern Quarter has been defaced with racist graffiti once again.
A local councillor took to social media to share the news, slamming the ‘racist cowards’ who vandalised the artwork overnight.
The tribute was created by graffiti artist Akse P19 in Stevenson Square after Mr Floyd’s death sparked protests across the world.
Akse recently had to repaint the mural after it was defaced earlier this month. Around the same time two men were also arrested after filming themselves urinating on the artwork.
Councillor Jon-Connor Lyons, representing Piccadilly ward on Manchester city council, took to Twitter to share the news that once again the mural has been hit by a ‘racist vandal’.
The incident occurred at around 5.30am this morning, with a suspect spotted by CCTV operators before being chased and caught by police.
Mr Lyons took to Twitter to share the news, writing: “Earlier this morning, police officers gave chase to another racist vandal who decided to come in the dead of night to attack the George Floyd memorial.
“The man was spotted on CCTV & was chased by police through the city centre & was caught. Thank you to GMP for their vigilance!”
He added in a later tweet: “These racist vandals all come in the dead of night – they are cowards.
“They know themselves how shameful it is what they are doing, attacking a memorial of a man killed by police brutality, but obviously have to do it in the dead of night. Racist cowards the lot of them.”
Face masks and Covid tests for school kids won’t be ‘compulsory’
The guidance on masks and tests won’t be enforceable
News broke earlier in the week that secondary school students would have to wear face masks and take twice-weekly Covid tests when they return to classrooms from March 8th.
It’s now been confirmed that neither of these measures will be enforceable, with schools told they won’t actually be able to make students wear a mask.
This is despite the government saying that secondary school pupils would need to wear them, both in classrooms and in the corridor.
However, according to the finer details of the ‘operational guidance’ for schools, ‘no pupil should be denied education on the grounds that they are not wearing a face covering.’
While before Christmas a lot of secondary school and college students were wearing masks in corridors and communal areas, the ‘roadmap out of lockdown’ revealed this was being expanded so kids would have to wear them in classrooms too.
The official document states: “The government also recommends that the use of face coverings in Higher Education, Further Education and secondary schools is extended for a limited period to all indoor environments – including classrooms – unless 2m social distancing can be maintained.
“Face coverings are now also recommended in early years and primary schools for staff and adult visitors in situations where social distancing between adults is not possible, for example, when moving around in corridors and communal areas.
“All children will once again be expected to attend school, as they were in the autumn term.”
The move had divided opinion among parents, with some saying they might keep their kids off school if they’re forced to wear masks, while others said they were in favour of it.
As well as face masks, it’s now been revealed that the twice-weekly Covid tests secondary students were meant to be taking are also ‘not compulsory’.
Education minister Nick Gibb confirmed that testing will be voluntary for pupils, saying that it remains ‘highly recommended’ to do so, however.
Mr Gibb added that it will not be a case of ‘no test, no school’, also clarifying that face masks will not be compulsory in schools, even though the government strongly advises pupils to use them.
He told Good Morning Britain: “No, they’re not compulsory but we highly recommend it, it’s everybody doing everything we can to identify asymptomatic cases of Covid, helping to reduce the transmission.
“The first three tests will be taken in the school that will show the students how to do it most effectively and it’s the students themselves that will do it at home with supervision by their parents.”
The UK’s Covid-19 alert level has been downgraded
‘It is really important that we all – vaccinated or not – remain vigilant and continue to follow the guidelines’
Following the threat of the NHS being overwhelmed receding, the Covid alert level in the UK has been downgraded.
According to the UK’s chief medical officers, the alert level should move from 5 to 4, Sky News reports.
This is because the numbers of patients in hospital are ‘consistently declining and the threat of the NHS and other health services being overwhelmed within 21 days has receded’.
Under Level 5, there was ‘a risk of healthcare services being overwhelmed’, while under Level 4 transmission of coronavirus is now ‘high or rising exponentially’ – so there’s still a way to go.
The four UK chief medical officers and NHS England’s national medical director said in a joint statement that they agreed the alert level should be downgraded.
This follows advice from the Joint Biosecurity Centre, but is also ‘in light of the most recent data’.
They added: “The health services across the four nations remain under significant pressure with a high number of patients in hospital, however thanks to the efforts of public we are now seeing numbers consistently declining, and the threat of the NHS and other health services being overwhelmed within 21 days has receded.
“We should be under no illusions – transmission rates, hospital pressures and deaths are still very high. In time, the vaccines will have a major impact and we encourage everyone to get vaccinated when they receive the offer.
“However, for the time being, it is really important that we all – vaccinated or not – remain vigilant and continue to follow the guidelines.
“We know how difficult the situation has been and remains to be for healthcare workers, we thank them for their immense effort, skill and professionalism throughout the pandemic.”