Animal care made priority at zoo facing ‘challenging times’

PUBLISHED: 07:00 16 May 2020

The zoo celebrated its 20th anniversary last year.	Picture: Mark Atherton

The zoo celebrated its 20th anniversary last year. Picture: Mark Atherton


A Wraxall zoo is adapting to the ‘challenging times’ it is facing due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Only 20 keepers remain at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm and with no visitors around, animal care is the focus.

The keepers are spending their time, with everyday cleaning and feeding routines, making enrichment for their animals as well as all the jobs that come around at this time of year.

New additions have arrived at the zoo since it was closed to the public, including lambs and piglets being born, a baby camel and zebra.

Managing director, Larry Bush, is on site every day lending a hand where it is needed, be it mowing the lawns or working with the animal teams preparing food or making enrichment.

He said: “I’m proud that we’re continuing to run our zoo to such high standards and providing excellent animal care even while the nation is in lockdown.

“It does cost around £3,000 per day to fund the running of the zoo with our team of skilled animal keepers, specialised food and animal care and maintaining the site and grounds.

“The elephants alone each cost £150 per day just to feed, so being closed to the public with no income is super challenging.

“It’s lovely to know that the zoo means so much to so many people and the messages of support and the generous donations have given us a real boost in morale as well as being such a practical help.”

Businesses have been supporting the zoo with donations of fruit and vegetables including Aldi in Portishead, which has gifted crates of vegetables, while Sainsbury’s and Makro have donated food for the animals.

Donations have also come in from members of the public.

Many people have been adopting animals by going onto the website or making online donations or sending in cheques with letters of support.

Curator Chris Wilkinson added: “Even though the zoo is so beautiful and peaceful in the spring sunshine it just feels empty without visitors.

“The level of support on social media for the zoo has been uplifting during the outbreak, and the keepers have been enjoying having time to make more videos about what they do day-to-day.

“We’re so looking forward to being open again as soon as it’s safe to do so.”

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