Some Reflections & Thank-yous...
With the Park now open, albeit differently from the last 30 years, we look back at what we've all gone through and reflect on what might be ahead.
Unlike many Zoos, we made the decision not to furlough any of our keeper staff, and kept on our full team and our regular volunteers all the way through this. We simply borrowed the money to pay their wages and our Vets, (as no help was available from Government to do this) to ensure that our standards of animal care were not compromised at any stage.
The result was that 120 animals were born at the Park during lock-down, including some very special species.
We are lucky that the shortage of Veterinary medicines and operating theatre facilities, and the reduction or elimination of specialist veterinary care was not needed as there were no major emergencies during this period.
Public support (from individuals and local companies) was, and continues to be wonderful.
We did not resort to scare tactics about the Parks survival or possible euthanasia of animals to drum up public donations and media attention, so are also very grateful for the continuing support and coverage from the local media, which has helped raise the profile of all zoos and the work we do.
So many people have helped, it is both humbling to us and difficult for us to single out anyone specially.
But - THANK YOU...!
Going forward, we now owe a huge amount of money. This will inevitably slow down our planned developments, but we hope not stop them altogether. Our new Bear Meadow which has been worked on over most of the last year and is one of our largest projects to date, has resulted in the return of the Syrian Bear to the UK, was due to open at Easter, but lock-down has meant this has been delayed until August - we are almost there..
Thank you all again, and please watch this space...!