The Phoenix Zoo has a celebrity in its midst — a handsome sloth that’s become all the rage on the web, and while he’s slowly making dough … the zoo’s still far from being financially stable.
The little guy’s name is Fernando, a 4-year-old Linne’s two-toed sloth who lives his life — inch … by … inch — within the confines of the zoo and lately, he’s been raking in some much-needed cash on Cameo. That’s the site where folks pay for personalized video messages.
Yes, people are paying for shout-outs from a non-speaking, slow-moving, tree-climbing mammal. At first, a Fernando Cameo only cost ya $25 — but now, because of his popularity, the zoo’s upped that to $50 a pop. At least 150 people have hired him, so far.
While it’s great the Phoenix Zoo is getting innovative during the pandemic — it also speaks to the hardship the industry, as a whole, is going through.
This specific zoo is reportedly a $1-million-per-month operation, and since closing its doors around mid-March … it’s been losing damn near $80k a day. So, the zoo is scrambling to raise funds any way it can right now.
Fortunately, the Phoenix Zoo recently got approved for a small business loan worth nearly $3 million as part of the federal stimulus package — but even that’s not enough to match what they’d normally make while open for biz.
For now, Fernando’s doing all he can on Cameo.