John Cleese Records Plea for Donations to Save the Welsh Mountain Zoo

Comedy legend John Cleese, known to Potter fans for playing Nearly Headless Nick in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, has recorded a video pleading for donations to help save the Welsh Mountain Zoo in Colwyn Bay, Wales.

In a recent video call, Cleese read aloud a beautiful appeal to the Welsh people and the world at large to assist the “financially crippled” Welsh Mountain Zoo. In his appeal, Cleese described an “uncertain future” ahead of the zoo after it faced several financial setbacks due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Welsh Mountain Zoo continues to face a very uncertain future, and the consequences for its animals certainly do not bear thinking about, all of course due to COVID-19. During three long months of summer closure with absolutely no income, the zoo had to carry on spending huge amounts of money just to feed and care for its animals, and to pay its keepers who could not be furloughed.

Over the last year, in line with Welsh government regulations with regard to the pandemic, the zoo has seen several closures. Recently, under advisement from the Welsh government, the zoo closed its doors on December 14, 2020, with no fixed plans to reopen in the near future.



The lost income due to the closures coupled with the ongoing financial responsibility to care for its animals has caused the zoo to face its worst financial crisis yet. The zoo has created a fundraiser on the fundraising website Virgin Money Giving to help ease the growing debt. For full transparency, the zoo’s fundraiser page provided more detail regarding operational costs and total loss from the earlier closures:

The Zoo charity’s running costs whilst closed are in excess of £100,000 per month. Combine this with lost income whilst we were closed at the beginning of the year, of over £700,000, and the crisis we now find ourselves in is the worst the Zoo has ever faced in its 57-year history.

As of today, the zoo has raised just over £330,000 on its fundraiser page.

Covering an area of 37 acres of land, the Welsh Mountain Zoo opened its doors to the public in May of 1963. In 2008, it was officially recognized as the National Zoo of Wales. Currently, the zoo houses over 140 species of creatures and works to conserve red squirrels, pine martens, and seals. Outside of Wales, the zoo also participates in conservation efforts for lemurs in Madagascar, red pandas in Nepal, snow leopards in the Himalayas, and tigers in Sumatra.

Cleese concluded the video by pleading with anyone regardless of financial means, reasoning, or location to help save the zoo.

So whether you’re a billionaire or of more modest means, whether you live right next to the zoo in Colwyn Bay or 6,000 miles away in California, whether you love animals and their conservation or whether you love Wales, whether you can spare £5 or you can even swoop in and secure the zoo’s future in one go, please help now so that children and families of the future will still be able to enjoy this wonderful place and the fantastic animals it cares for.

Aside from the Potter series, Cleese is known all over the world for cofounding the groundbreaking comedy troupe Monty Python and for his extensive filmography as an actor, screenwriter, and producer. Outside of the film industry, Cleese has contributed to several charitable organizations such as Amnesty International. This is also not the first time Cleese has asked for assistance on behalf of the Welsh Mountain Zoo, having provided support back in July during the difficult summer months of closure.



Have you ever been to the Welsh Mountain Zoo? Do you have any great memories while attending the zoo? Let us know in the comments or tag us on Instagram.

If you can help the Welsh Mountain Zoo, you can donate to the fundraiser, adopt an animal, or purchase an item from the Zoo’s online shop.


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Adam Poncharoensub

"Hogwarts is my home!" is a phrase that I've uttered more times than any sane person should (and my long-suffering friends can attest to it.) For as long as I can remember, I've always found myself escaping reality into the wizarding world to feel at peace. Instead, I'm more likely wandering the suburbs of South Florida shouting choice "Harry Potter" and Batman quotes at unsuspecting victims.

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