Zookeepers Self-Isolate In A UK Wildlife Park For 3 Months To Take Care Of Animals


Almost the whole world right now is living in lockdown. Most decided to isolate themselves with their families at home and others took the advantages to stat far away from cities in their village or summer houses.

And there are others who settled in their workplace. Do not get confused, as many workers do their jobs from home. They are self-isolating at work!

A handful of zookeepers took this courageous step to self-isolate in their workplace.

Paradise Park, a wildlife sanctuary in Hayle, Cornwall, UK decided to temporarily shut the doors for visitors about a week ago due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The decision was realized since the animals at the zoo need to get high-quality care, as it is their job to keep them healthy and safe. At this moment, not only humans but animals may suffer, especially those at the zoos.

Four staff members of the zoo- Izzy, Emily, Layla, and Sarah-Jane are the heroes who volunteered to self-isolate into the park.

Some of their colleagues will be supporting them during the 12-week self-isolation by coming in during their shifts.

The director of Paradise Park, Alison Hales, explained:

 “All our keepers are dedicated to animals, but some also have vulnerable family members at home.

When they heard the advice about self-isolating to combat the coronavirus, they had to make a decision about whether to stay away from work and isolate with their families.

But then they suggested that they could come and stay in the house at Paradise Park to be there for the birds every day without risking the health of their families.”

As the outbreak spread across the globe, the four zookeepers needed to make sure they and their families are safe.

While all four of them have vulnerable families at home and do not want to bring the virus back, one of them explained that if other members of the staff get sick, the four of them will be able to pick up the pace and take care of the animals.

In Paradise Park, visitors can see various numbers of mammals like red squirrels, Asian otters, red pandas, harvest mice, Fun Farm animals, and around 1,200 birds.

Despite the outbreak, it is no easy task to look after, feed, medicate and clean the animals and their cages. Their job is quite heroic and takes so much effort to keep everything in place.

When Alison was asked if animals find it weird that no visitors are around anymore, she explains that they are keeping to the Park’s routines, like feeding the penguins twice a day so they won’t notice such a difference.

She adds that birds are preoccupied nowadays (as spring is in the air) with pairing and nesting, so they won’t notice a thing.

“However, we have many different kinds of parrots here (we are home to the World Parrot Trust), some in small colonies and others in pairs and I do feel the friendliest of these are wondering where everyone is.

Some parrots interact with people a lot, for instance, Max and Cocky, the pair of Umbrella Cockatoos were shouting ‘hello’ really loud to me this morning and I thought they were pleased to see me,” she continued.

The daily routines at the zoo are perfectly done by the self-isolating zookeepers, like the ones with the Humboldt penguins. They hope that the zoo will begin doing what they call Photocalls around Easter, meaning they will let in chosen visitors to help the zookeepers with feeding the penguins, take photos, and pet them.

Another goal is to keep up with the schedule to train vultures, hawks, eagles, and a variety of other bird species that take part in the zoo’s free-flying displays. Those events are happening during the summer.

According to Alison of Paradise Park, the self-isolation at the park has many advantages. She explains:

 “It’s magical to walk around once all the feeding and cleaning has been done, quietly observing the birds going about their business. You can chat with your special bird friends for a bit longer, but the best bit is waking up to a tropical dawn chorus in deepest Cornwall!”

Despite being closed, the zoo provides a window for those who are extra-curious to take a peek of what is happening inside during these hard times. Paradise Park runs live WEBCAMS and updates its social media pages regularly. Now, visitors are able to see some of the wildlife from inside their homes.

Unfortunately, like many public locations that are closed due to the outbreak, Paradise Parks has lost much of its income. Alison and the staff are now dedicated to keeping their health safe. After the pandemic end, the next challenge will be raising funds.

 “All our income comes from visitors and we have only been closed on Christmas Day and a few days due to snow in our 46 years. Winter is our quietest time of year, so we look forward to the Easter holidays, we put on extra events and get lots of visitors.

We have been very self-sufficient over all these years, many people are regular visitors and we have achieved a lot of really good conservation work for endangered species.

Our bank is being helpful and has already extended our overdraft but this is the first time we have ever done a fund-raiser,” Alison explained.

In response to the low income, the zoo’s staff members hope to cover food and other vital expenses by opening a GoFundMe campaign. Their goal is to reach over $1,500 per week.

Everyone is in need during the shut-down, therefore, consider donating to the zoo so it will keep running during these harsh times.


This div height required for enabling the sticky sidebar