Rotary Club Decision Offers Zoo Relief

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Officers of The Rotary Club of Brownsville Charitable Foundation voted unanimously to modify the terms of its giving campaign, granting the Gladys Porter Zoo use of $16,000 to help keep the Zoo in operation. The Zoo had previously obtained the funds from the Foundation for the purpose of conducting a specific project.

When the city-wide shutdown aimed at curbing the transmission of COVID-19 occurred in mid-March, the Zoo lost its primary source of income. With no admission-paying visitors attending during its peak visitation times—Spring Break, Holy Week and Easter—funding for animal care as well as the Zoo’s ability to operate throughout the rest of 2020 was severely compromised. By restricting spending, cutting employee hours and with the help of generous contributions from the local supporters, operations continued throughout the shutdown.

“The community of South Texas helped see to it that our animal care continued to be exemplary,” said Dr. Patrick Burchfield, the Zoo’s Executive Director. “But, when we opened the Zoo with all recommended safeguards in place on June 8, visitors did not return in the numbers needed to fund the animals’ and facility’s most basic needs. With such limited attendance numbers, we are having to take some serious steps if the Zoo is to survive past this pandemic.”

The Rotary Club of Brownsville’s decision on Tuesday to allow funding restricted to projects to be used to help sustain Zoo operations helps diminish the Zoo’s anticipated $1.7 million shortfall for 2020.  “The Rotary Club of Brownsville supports the Zoo’s mission and recognizes its contributions to education, preservation of wildlife, and the quality of life in our Valley community. By modifying our gift, we want to do our part in helping the Zoo meet today’s challenges and continue its good work,” said Marshall Ray, Rotary Club Board Member.

The community of South Texas has been tremendously supportive of the Gladys Porter Zoo throughout these times.  Please consider supporting the Zoo by purchasing a Zoo membership or making a donation to the Zoo.

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