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The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland will be ready to reopen Edinburgh Zoo by the end of June if lockdown eases further and has warned that being closed over the summer months could be “financially disastrous”.

Chief Executive David Field, who joined RZSS from the Zoological Society of East Anglia this week, said, “We are talking to the Scottish Government and hope we can reopen within the next few weeks if Scotland moves into the next phase of lockdown and outdoor attractions can open again.

“Concerns have been raised by zoos in England which have been told the earliest they can reopen is in July, even though private gardens have already opened.

“Edinburgh Zoo and Highland Wildlife Park have large outdoor spaces and we can reopen safely by introducing social distancing, closing indoor areas, limiting visitor numbers and selling tickets online with time slots.

“Zoos with these covid-secure restrictions will be just as safe as private gardens and far safer than a crowded beach or public park.

“The many educational, physical and mental health benefits of visiting zoos and enjoying nature are also well known, which is why zoos in Europe have been among the first places to reopen.”

“When this crisis is over, connecting with nature and being close to animals is going to be more important than ever, which is why it is vital that our parks open again and we can recover to continue our science, education and conservation work.”

The Royal Zoological Society has provided updated information on how to support the charity here.