Edinburgh Zoo faces cuts after visitor numbers drop

Edinburgh Zoo chimpanzee enclosure The zoo blamed poor weather and the economic climate for the drop in numbers

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Edinburgh Zoo is bracing itself for a series of cuts after a drop in visitor numbers.

About 60,000 fewer people visited the attraction last year - 10% down on the previous year. The fall in numbers is expected to cost the zoo about £1m.

The charity has already closed its exotic bird enclosure and started to charge members for parking.

Last year the zoo said it may need to downsize after plans to sell off land to raise cash were rejected.

In July 2009 a Scottish government Reporter ruled against the zoo's plans to develop up to 120 homes on the edge of its site on Corstorphine Hill.

It had followed the zoo's unveiling of a £72m plan to upgrade its Victorian plumbing, electrics and facilities.

The drop in numbers is being blamed on bad weather in July.

A spokeswoman for the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, which runs Edinburgh Zoo, said: "This year visitors to Edinburgh Zoo have fallen by almost 10% due to the current economic climate and poor weather over the summer. This has reduced income by approximately £1m.

"Any organisation faced with these circumstances has to reduce costs to meet its income and the society is now reviewing its financial position to achieve a sustainable business model for the future.

"The society has been in existence for over 100 years and has faced similar circumstances in the past.

"We are confident that by taking difficult decisions now we shall secure the future of Edinburgh Zoo for the city and Scotland."

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