THURSDAY, JAN. 19: Support charity Bermuda Zoological Society has announced it will lay off three full-time and two part-time positions as a cost-cutting measure due to challenging economic conditions.

“We are sad to have to resort to laying off valued staff, but this is entirely due to the state of the economy and is no reflection on these employees or their performance,” said Dr. Ian Walker, a BZS Executive member and Principal Curator of BAMZ, for which BZS provides funding, volunteers and support staff.

“The declining economy, resulting in more people leaving the Island over the past year, has translated into reduced BZS membership, a decline in the return on investments, as well as more difficulty in fundraising to support BZS operating costs,” Walker said. “The combination of all those factors has left us with only one option—to reduce salary expenses and restructure some of our programmes.”

Walker noted that BZS had weathered the global recession until now by reducing operating budgets and absorbing financial losses, while resisting staff cuts for as long as possible. “But there comes a time when, to be a fiscally responsible organisation, we have to draw a line in the sand and make tough but necessary decisions.”

As a result of the announcement, the BZS Gift Shop at BAMZ will be closed today and tomorrow (January 19 and 20). Until further notice, the shop will be open only on weekends (Saturdays and Sundays), and closed weekdays. Dr. Walker added that no capital projects, BAMZ staff positions, or BZS conservation-education programmes would be compromised.

“Our BZS education programmes, which provide free science classes to thousands of Bermuda’s school students every year, will remain high-quality and available to educators and families year-round,” he said. “We realise the importance of these programmes to our whole community and they remain a top priority for us.

“BZS continues to be a financially viable organisation that is committed to helping the community—and we thank our donors for their confidence in BZS and their continued support.”