A KIND-HEARTED fundraiser has started a campaign to help Colchester Zoo survive the coronavirus pandemic.

The Maldon Road attraction closed its doors last month as the country went into lockdown.

The zoo’s directors have said they do not know if they will survive the impact of the outbreak.

Carly Buchanan, 25, from Colchester, has set up a fundraising page after hearing of the zoo’s plight.

She wants to raise £1,000.

“I really want to help in any way I can as Colchester Zoo is a massive part of the community and it will be such a shame if that’s to close due to this heartbreaking pandemic,” she said.

“I have been blessed to be able to go to the zoo countless times along with my family and friends and it has made me appreciate the wonderful wildlife surrounding us and I want to do my bit.”

In a message to the zoo’s supporters managing director Dominique Tropeano said everyone associated with the attraction had been left heartbroken.

He said: “We are experiencing something exceptional - deserted cafes, empty viewing areas of animal enclosures, silence, lack of life, no children running with a smile, no mum or grandparent asking for directions, the time or where the nearest toilets are.

“Generally we are experiencing a feeling of sadness, even loneliness, as if we are not currently in the real world and soon someone is going to snap their fingers and by magic, like switching a light on and off, everything returns to normality.

“Then there is a feeling of fear, will we survive with our huge daily cost and no basic income?

“Will people be able to afford to return? Will further restrictions be imposed and make our job harder?

“Will this world, as we have known it, be the same again?

“We have been overwhelmed with messages of support and people asking how they can donate to the zoo to lend a helping hand. Support from the public is critical, now more than ever, so we are grateful for any donations we are receiving.”

To donate to Carly’s campaign click here

Visit colchester-zoo.com.