An Appeal on Behalf of Shepton Bassett Zoo

Good evening.

My name is Hugo Weevil and I'm speaking to you today to ask for your help with what is a very noble and important cause. The British are, as it has often been said, a nation of animal lovers and it is for this reason that I feel certain you will be willing to dig deep in order to maintain the welfare of our furry friends. And not just the furry ones - we're also worried about the slimy, scaly and feathered varieties as well.

Here at Shepton Bassett Zoo we care for all manner of creatures but, like many similar institutions, attendance in recent years has been in decline. It hasn't helped that we were never a particularly affluent establishment in the first place and have been unable to match the investment of our competitors. Our elephant has a wooden leg and a trunk made out of cardboard, our monkeys are notoriously ugly, the paint is peeling off all our parrots and our hyenas have nothing to laugh about. Both of our ostriches are bald and one of them probably isn't even an ostrich. Our collection of rare and exotic snakes is just a jumble of differently sized lengths of hosepipe, which has never fooled anyone. And, continuing in this spirit of honesty, I have to admit that there is a very obvious reason why none of the stick insects in our insect house has ever been observed to move.

All of which has contributed to falling revenues, to the point where we are struggling to find the funds to care for many of our animals. Most of our penguins need to be waterproofed and the tortoise has dry rot. None of the lemurs have been PAT tested for at least four years, the zebras' stripes have still not been converted to metric and the gorilla is a twat. Add to that the fact that we need to find money to pay for new guttering for the giraffe and you can see that we really do need your help.

In fact, it's got so bad that we've had to lay off some of the animals. For the last three years our orangutan enclosure has been completely empty save for two old tyres and a kitchen chair. Having said this, I must admit that it has continued to be one of our most popular attractions and as a result we have added several other items of furniture to our collection. You can now visit the sofa pen where Ben, our grizzled leatherback divan, can be seen wallowing in his mud pool or sunning himself on a rock. Or maybe a visit to the aviary is in order, to catch of glimpse of the majestic winged armchairs as they swoop and dive amongst the branches. And no trip is complete without a tour of the park where, if you're lucky, you might just catch sight of the free-range footstools or a herd of bookcases.

But, obviously, this situation cannot go on forever. Admittedly, a chest of drawers doesn't need feeding quite as often as most animals, and nobody ever has to face the onerous task of mucking out the sideboard, but these are no substitute for the real thing. We need your donations! Your cash can help us to respray our butterfly collection. Your money can go towards getting the tigers insulated or paying for a new damp course for the leopard. And, who knows, if we've got enough left over, we might even be able to extend the coffee table enclosure and invest in some more scatter cushions.

Thank you in anticipation of your generous donation.

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