Look, Baby Penguins! Now That We Have Your Attention, Hear How A Community Saved Their Zoo

When they heard the much-loved zoo was struggling due to the Covid-19 closures, they stepped up to help in a big way.

As cities around the world start to ease restrictions after the coronavirus quarantine, there are some sad stories from businesses that are going to remain closed permanently.

One of those places is the Chester Zoo, located just south of Liverpool in the United Kingdom.

With the lack of income from ticket sales due to Covid-19, the zoo was on the brink of closing their doors for good – that is, until some very generous people stepped up to help.

Iceland Foods, a regional supermarket chain, decided to adopt all of the zoo's endangered Humboldt penguins, which provided enough money to keep the zoo open, at least for the near future.

Even though the penguins aren't from Iceland, the store felt that sponsoring penguins, who mostly live in cold climates, was the most appropriate way to show their support.

"We were all saddened to hear of Chester Zoo's recent struggles; it's the heart of the local community in Chester and a much-loved family favorite," Richard Walker, the managing director of Iceland Foods, said in a statement. "I remember visiting the zoo as a child and my own kids love going there."

The grocery store also lobbied for new legislation on the zoo's behalf to allow zoos to open with strict social distancing guidelines in place.

And, as if this story could get any cuter, the zoo recently welcomed a crèche (that's the term for a group of penguin chicks) of Humboldt penguins. As a thank you to the NHS workers who have been working tirelessly on the frontlines of the pandemic, the zoo decided to name each of the five chicks after local healthcare heroes and hospitals.

In addition to the contribution from Iceland Foods, the zoo has raised over £2,470,740 (that's over $3 million!) from individual donations on the Just Giving fundraising website.

The zoo says the outpouring of support from the community has been incredible, with thousands of folks sharing their favorite memories of the zoo and posting fundraisers on their social media pages.

People from all over the world have been donating and hosting fundraisers to help raise money to keep the zoo open. Lorraine Nolan

"Chester Zoo is mine and my boyfriend's favourite place to go, we adore visiting," one user wrote. "Words can't express how much the zoo means to us. We have signed petitions and donated, and I've set up a fundraiser to run 10K!"

The zoo recently announced that they're set to safely re-open on June 15, 2020. And yes, opening day tickets are already sold out.

How can you start something good?

If you want to chip in to help keep the Chester Zoo open, you can make a donation on their website or fundraising page.

Also, as your favorite businesses start to re-open, remember to support them as much, and as often, as you can. Order take-out or delivery from your favorite restaurants, buy a membership to your local zoos and museums and buy locally to keep the mom-and-pop shops afloat.

Let's #StartSomethingGood together!

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