Due to the coronavirus, many attractions around the world have closed their doors from the outside world. Paradise Park in Hayle Cornwall, UK is no exception. The sanctuary is home to just under 1,200 animals that need continued care and protection. The zookeepers came up with the idea to care for and protect these animals by self-isolating in the sanctuary.
Paradise Park shut its doors temporarily because of the coronavirus outbreak. 4 Zookeepers decided instead of staying in their homes, they would stay with and care for the animals. The four keepers, Izzy, Emily, Layla, and Sarah-Jane moved into a house on site instead of staying home. They realized they would have to self-isolate for at least 12 weeks to care for the animals.
This unusual move was made for several reasons. One, the workers have vulnerable family members and did not want to put their loved ones at risk by possibly bringing the virus back from work. Also, none of the keepers would be able to come into work due to the virus yet four of them volunteered to care for the animals.
During this period, they continued to feed and clean all the birds and mammals at the park. They provided medication, enrichment activities, and other important maintenance that animals need. Even though there were no visitors, the zookeepers kept up their daily routines for the sake of the animals.
There are a few hand-reared, very friendly animals that during the summer from Easter onward take part in the Photocalls. There are two feeding times 11 AM and 3 PM and the keepers would select a few visitors to help feed the penguins then invited them to meet and stroke one of the friendly animals and take photos. Also, to ensure they are ready when they re-open, the keepers continually go through these routines. Every day, the keepers continue training the eagles, hawks, macaws, and other species to keep them focused and in great shape for free-flying during the summer months
The staff members who stayed at the zoo were supported by other keepers who came in at different times. They all took care of different areas in the park to make sure all areas were covered. All staff members kept a good distance away from each other to make sure everyone remained safe.
Another downside, with no visitors, the park, like other public places, lost a lot of revenue. During the year, the park is only closed on Christmas Day or days due to snow. During warmer summer months and the Easter holiday, the staff is able to put together extra events to draw more visitors who contribute funds toward their work. Unfortunately, with the doors closed to the public, money stopped coming in.
Until now, Paradise Park has never needed to raise funds but now they launched an online fundraising campaign. The fundraiser was set up to help cover the cost of food and other expenses which normally runs around $1,500 a week. Loyal visitors contribute to the campaigns to help out. They also watch live webcams of the animals online and view regular social media updates from the park. Workers at Paradise Park are truly committed to keeping this precious sanctuary running for the sake of the animals and those who support it.
With more and more public places being allowed to open once again, hopefully so will all the zoos around the world. Special praise should go out to all zookeepers who have continued to care for and protect their animals. Animals in zoos have become vulnerable and need help to get through this pandemic and thankfully there are those who have stepped up and said I’m here for them!