Saint John city council has delayed a discussion about the financial crisis at the Cherry Brook Zoo.

The decision to put things on hold came after someone contacted city officials on the weekend to discuss options to assist the facility.

Lynda Collrin

Lynda Collrin is the volunteer director of development for the Cherry Brook Zoo. (CBC)

Zoo director Leonard Collrin sent a letter appealing for help from city council this week.

Collrin notes the zoo has used its reserve bank account earmarked for growth and enhancement just to pay regular bills.

Collrin has reduced his salary to $30,000.

Vandals recently destroyed the zoo's entrance sign. The appeal to the city notes the zoo pays $11,000 a year in property taxes and there is no pension plan for employees. The zoo is asking for help with snow plowing, pothole repair and paying for health benefits.

Lynda Collrin, the zoo's volunteer director of zoo development, says a potential mystery benefactor contacted her husband.

"Someone had called him over the weekend and is interested in helping the zoo out and staff are talking with whoever it is," she said. "It's a mystery. And hopefully the opportunities for the zoo will be better."

Saint John Mayor Mel Norton is saying little about the discussions.

"There are some discussions that are going on with others in the community — apart from the zoo — and some contact that's been made," said Norton.

Given those ongoing talks, city council has pushed back its discussion about the zoo until the end of March.

The zoo opened in 1978 and covers 35 acres in the northern section of Rockwood Park. It is home to exotic and endangered species, including a Siberian Tiger, a golden lion tamarin and a Goeldi monkey.