Zoo reopens with restrictions for customers to ensure safety

Anthony and Christina Bush and their son with staff and volunteers. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Anthony and Christina Bush and their son with staff and volunteers. Picture: MARK ATHERTON - Credit: Archant

A Wraxall zoo has reopened to the public.

Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm opened again yesterday (Tuesday).

The zoo, which has been closed due to coronavirus for 88 days, was officially opened by a special guest.

Polly Robertson, aged eight, wanted to help the zebras and walked 64 miles during lockdown, one mile a day to equal the distance from her house to raise £100 for the zoo’s animal support fund.

Polly, who was a guest on BBC Radio Two’s Jeremy Vine show, spoke to the radio host about how she wanted to raise money to help feed the zoo’s animals.

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After her appearance on the show, her Just Giving page amount shot up to almost £11,000, meaning Polly had helped the zoo feed the animals for a whole month.

Larry Bush, the zoo’s managing director, said: “We’re bowled over by Polly’s fundraising efforts to help feed and care for our zebras here at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm.

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“We love it when people share our passion for animals and Polly is definitely as mad about zebras as we are.

“It’s been a tough few months and a worrying time for the zoo and Polly has been an inspiration to all of us.

“We couldn’t wait to welcome Polly and her family to reopen the zoo, as well as inviting her back when she has finished her 64 miles, to meet the animals, including a zebra also called Polly and her baby Hope, who was born at the start of lockdown.”

The zoo is following Government guidelines and will limit the number of people who can buy tickets each day, including using timed entry to reduce the risk of crowds at the ticket office. All tickets need to be pre-purchased online before visiting.

There are also increased hand washing facilities on site and additional toilets and staff have installed antibacterial gel stations around the site.

All indoor enclosures are closed, including soft play, outdoor play is also closed, and food is available from kiosks and will be takeaway only.

The daily program of keeper talks has been modified to ensure safe social distancing can be maintained.

A zoo spokesman said: “To ensure the safety of our visitors, staff and animals, we are unable to book in keeper experiences and encounters.”

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