What's new at Basel Zoo

Basel Zoo has had another successful business year with a high number of visitors and generous donations. The zoo received over nine million francs in donations and legacies. The year was greatly influenced by the major Ozeanium project; the people of Basel will vote on this in a referendum on 19 May.

Basel Zoo’s annual report, published today, shows an annual profit of CHF 52,516.96 in the zoo’s income statement. Net profit as at 31 December 2018 thus amounted to CHF 1,122,639.69. The visitor numbers seen in 2017 were extraordinarily high due to the opening of the Tembea elephant enclosure. However, the proceeds from admission and season ticket sales in 2018 evened back out to an average value of CHF 9,178,438.16. At CHF 11,805,749.85, the staff costs for the 104 full-time employees needed to run the zoo remained very similar to the costs seen in the previous year (CHF 11,858,052.29).

Increased awareness

The business results were not the only reason zoo director Oliver Pagan was pleased: ‘Every day, my employees and I see children being inspired by the zoo and are able to engage in many positive discussions with our visitors. They help validate the zoo in its role as an educational institution, particularly in the fields of nature and species conservation.’

The zoo’s inhabitants also received a lot of attention in 2018. The passing of female gorilla Goma made headlines worldwide, and news about the first meerkat born in a decade and the cotton-top tamarin triplets was also widespread in the media.

A big thank you to the generous friends of the zoo

Basel Zoo also received external funds in the millions in 2018. Last year, the zoo recorded earnings in the form of donations, gifts, legacies, bequests and sponsorship amounting to CHF 9,585,946.21 (previous year: CHF 6,335,227.81). CHF 3,767,818 of this was for a designated purpose, including CHF 3,457,926 that was allocated to restricted funds at the donor’s request. The remaining external funds of CHF 6,128,020.21 could be used to cover the ongoing, structurally negative operating costs. The payments from the cantons Basel-Stadt and Basel-Landschaft as well as the contributions from local councils remained the same as in the previous year.

Basel Zoo will continue to be reliant on donations, foundation contributions and subsidies in the future to ensure it can further pursue its goals. The Board of Directors and management are very grateful for all contributions made to the zoo. Board President Martin Lenz: ‘It would not be possible to maintain the zoo without the help of the many private donors, so particular thanks go to them.’

The Ozeanium in the spotlight

The Ozeanium played an important role in 2018 and will continue to do so in regard to the future plans for the zoo. On 17 October, the Great Council of Basel voted in favour of the Ozeanium’s construction plan with a clear majority of 69 to 13 votes. The people of Basel will vote on the project in a referendum to be held on 19 May 2019; the zoo will receive support from a broad-based pro-committee.

With the Ozeanium, visitors will have access to the sea right in the heart of Basel and be able to experience its beauty and wonder. Basel Zoo wants to use intensive environmental education to promote sustainable living and raise public awareness about marine conservation.