Comedians join Sir David Attenborough to save London Zoo

Famous comedians back Sir David Attenborough’s appeal to keep London and Whipsnade Zoos open 

A HOST of stars are lining up behind Sir David Attenborough to support ZSL London Zoo in its hour of need – with a hilarious star-studded TV ad due to debut on Channel 5 today.

Top talent including Jonathan Ross, Catherine Tate and Meera Syal will voice zoo animals plotting ways to save the zoo – including a technologically inept giraffe, two hip hash-tagging #lemurs and a spiritual gorilla.

The launch of an appeal by Sir David Attenborough, calling on the public to protect ZSL – the charity behind the zoo, has attracted the support of a flock of famous comedians, including Bill Bailey, Alan Carr, Dane Baptiste and Shazia Mirza, who are all voicing zoo animals for the light-hearted television advert with a serious message. 

The short film shows Bob the emperor tamarin monkey, voiced by Bill Bailey, chairing a zoo marketing meeting with his furred and feathered ‘colleagues’ to discuss how to raise urgent funds, with Bhanu - London Zoo’s male Asiatic lion – landing on the winning idea through an accidental screen freeze. 

ZSL, the international conservation charity behind London and Whipsnade Zoos, is running its biggest ever fundraising drive to ensure its ground-breaking science, global conservation work and two world-class zoos can survive in the face of major financial losses. Relying on the power of laughter to raise money, the charity hopes to claw back some of the income lost due to the coronavirus-enforced zoo closures, with an aim of generating £1million a month.

Animals all attending a Zoom call online

Bill Bailey, comedian, musician and actor, and long-time supporter of ZSL said: “I knew ZSL and its two zoos were struggling with the devastating effects of the pandemic, and I wanted to help in any way I could. 

 “I was delighted to voice Bob the tamarin to support their appeal, as it’s for an excellent cause, and, I also think Bob and I are quite similar, we both share a certain joie de vivre, and have eccentric facial hair.  I’ve worked with ZSL on a number of occasions to raise awareness and support for their important conservation projects for threatened species – but now they’re the ones at risk. This is how I can help.”

With powerful words from Sir David Attenborough already appearing in national media outlets, the appeal will leave no avenue unexplored with print, digital and television advertising space used to maximise awareness of the charity’s plight. All creative services and production have been donated by agency Wunderman Thompson, ad spaces donated, and funds channelled through JustGiving.

ZSL Director General Dominic Jermey said: “The closure of London and Whipsnade Zoos put us under immense financial pressure; we’re fighting our biggest challenge in our 200-year history. The situation ZSL is facing is anything but funny.

ZSL Director General, Dominic Jermey

“But we know that building a connection between people and wildlife is vital to generate understanding and support. We’re hoping this light-hearted approach, supported by an incredible array of comedians who have generously donated their voices to our campaign, will get people smiling and donating.

“Our zoos fund global conservation work and ground-breaking science at the world-renowned ZSL Institute of Zoology. While they may have been able to reopen their gates to the public, we’re still struggling. We need help now if we are to stay open.”

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