Zoos and aquariums across the country will get almost $100 million in federal funding to help them through the COVID-19 crisis.
The $94.6 million will be used to pay for the cost of caring for animals and keep the operations afloat until travel and other restrictions are eased.
On regional zoo owner called for financial support earlier this month, saying facilities across the country were crippling under the financial pressure of operational costs not met by visitation revenue.
"We're in a different situation to other businesses that can shut their doors and there's no running costs. It's business as usual inside the zoo and for the animals nothing has changed," Port Macquarie's Billabong Zoo owner Mark Stone said.
"You still have all the feeding, cleaning, lighting, heating and other costs that go with caring for the animals."
His words were echoed by Hunter Valley Zoo owner, Jason Pearson
"The closure has put immense pressure on our operating budgets, we have many ongoing costs like veterinary care and significant food costs with some animals requiring highly-specialised and exotic food," Mr Pearson said.
A single lion needs about $250 in red meat per week or $13 000 of red meat over an entire year.
The Port Macquarie zoo, which opened in 1986, exhibits over 80 species and cares for over 220 animals, including cheetahs, snow leopards, spider monkeys and freshwater crocodiles.
"The most important thing is that all the animals are being looked after - looked after just as much as if the doors were open," Mr Stone said.
"We need to make sure we have a plan in place for assistance until such time as we can stand up on our own feet again."
While COVID 19 may be keeping visitors away, zookeepers, and veterinarians continue to play a lead role in wildlife recovery after the bushfires, from treatment and rehabilitation to the development of insurance populations.Mark Stone, Billabong Zoo
Eligible exhibiting zoos and aquariums will have access to a grant that contributes towards up to six months of its animal welfare operating costs. This includes animal feed, enclosure, health and other specialised care expenses, and utilities directly related to the housing and caring for animals.
In addition to this support to help with operational costs, zoos and aquariums who meet the criteria will be able to apply for the JobKeeper program to assist with staffing costs.
Mr Stone said the funding will ensure his staff can continue to provide specialist care and treatment for the zoo's animals until the impacts of the pandemic ease.
"The closure has put immense pressure on our operating budgets, we have many ongoing costs like veterinary care and significant food costs with some animals requiring highly-specialised and exotic food," Mr Stone said.
"While COVID 19 may be keeping visitors away, zookeepers, and veterinarians continue to play a lead role in wildlife recovery after the bushfires, from treatment and rehabilitation to the development of insurance populations."
Federal Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham said it's crucial zoos and aquariums can still operate on the other side and play a major role in helping the region's tourism industry to recover.
Australia's zoos and aquariums attract more than 20 million visitors a year.