New Year, Same Big Appetites!

January 18, 2021


TORONTO, ON, Monday, January 18, 2021: The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact your Toronto Zoo’s operations and revenue sources into 2021. Toronto Zoo and Terra Lumina have been closed to the public since November 23rd, 2020 until further notice and the $1 million annual cost of food for our 5,000 animals is normally funded through our paid guest parking. Phase two of our Zoo Food For Life campaign will help to offset lost revenues and ensure funding for the Zoo’s Nutrition Program in 2021.

"This unique fundraising campaign is a chance for everyone who enjoys the Toronto Zoo and its animals to help during these tough times. We saw great success with the first campaign with thousands of people stepping up to help replace lost parking revenue. Thank you to all those who came forward to help last year and all those who will come forward this year to contribute to the second phase of the Zoo Food For Life campaign. Your contributions will help ensure the Zoo remains a vibrant attraction when this pandemic is over," said Toronto Mayor John Tory.

“Your Toronto Zoo is committed to connecting people, animals and conservation science to fight extinction. Despite being closed to our valued guests and members, your dedicated Zoo team continues to provide world-class care to over 5,000 animals, which includes a healthy, balanced and nutritious diet,” said Dolf DeJong, Toronto Zoo Chief Executive Officer.  

Toronto Zoo nutrition staff work in the Wildlife Nutrition Centre (WNC), comprised of a Food Production Unit and a Nutrition Research Unit, which work together to ensure top quality animal health. The Zoo’s Food Production Unit prepares 430 different “menus” a week, and delivers more than 10,500 kg (23,100 lb) of diets throughout the zoo each week.

“We launched our first Zoo Food for Life fundraising campaign in April 2020, one month into the initial pandemic closure,” said Beth Gilhespy, Toronto Zoo Wildlife Conservancy Executive Director. “The response was overwhelming and meant we had guaranteed funds for food right through to the end of December 2020. We are now looking to secure funds to have that assurance through these continued uncertain times.”

The Toronto Zoo Wildlife Conservancy will be reaching out to the public over the coming weeks to highlight the Zoo’s nutrition program and its funding needs.  For those interested in continuing their support of the Toronto Zoo’s Nutrition program, please visit, call us directly at 416-392-9114 or mail your donation to:

Toronto Zoo Wildlife Conservancy – Zoo Food
361A Old Finch Avenue
Toronto, ON CA
M1B 5K7


To learn about the Toronto Zoo Wildlife Conservancy and its work, visit

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Media Contact Information:

Beth Gilhespy
Toronto Zoo Wildlife Conservancy Executive Director
(416) 392-5913

Katie Gray
Toronto Zoo Manager of Strategic Communications
(416) 938-5283

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The Toronto Zoo’s mission is to connect people, animals and conservation science to fight extinction and our vision is a world where wildlife and wild spaces thrive.

An iconic tourist attraction and Conservation organization, the Toronto Zoo boasts a number of leading programs for helping wildlife and their natural habitats – from species reintroduction to reproductive research. A world-class educational centre for people of all ages, the Toronto Zoo is open every day except December 25 and attracts approximately 1.2 million guests each year.

Toronto Zoo is accredited by Canada's Accredited Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA) and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). The Zoo has also achieved the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC) Certificate of Good Animal Practice® and is inspected by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA).

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