City owes Rome zoo arrears of €3 million in public funds.
Rome's Bioparco is "at risk of closure" due to the non-payment of €3 million by the city, which provides one third of the zoo's funding, according to Bioparco president Francesco Petretti.
The public funds, of which €1 million is owed from 2018 and €2 million from this year, have yet to be paid despite being included in the municipal investment plan up to 2020, according to Italian daily newspaper Corriere della Sera.
Petretti says the financial uncertainity, which has resulted in the zoo stalling plans for upgrading works, has been hampered further by Rome's cold and rainy spring.
The bad weather during this year's so-called 'super ponte', a prolonged holiday spanning from Easter to May Day, was disastrous for the zoo, leading to the loss of "90 per cent" of the number of visitors expected.
Petretti said that weekend visitors have also dropped from "6,000, even 7,000" down to "500-600" people thanks to the persistent rain this spring.
Inaugurated in 1911, the Zoological Garden of Rome was established in the northern corner of Villa Borghese by Carl Hagenbeck, an animal trainer from Germany.
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Rome's Bioparco faces closure
Bioparco di Roma, Viale del Giardino Zoologico, Roma, RM, Italia