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.
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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.