April 23, 2021

UK Zookeepers Self-Isolate In The Park To Take Care For The Animals During The Pandemic Situation

During these lock-down times, some people will be remembered for their heroism. Among doctors, nurses, social workers, customer services, a group of Paradise Park‘s workers deserve some appreciation too!

Image credits: Paradise Park

Izzy Wheatley, Sarah-Jane Jelbert, Emily Foden and Layla Richardson are doing a selfless act staying close to animals in the zoo during these pandemic times, looking after them. And they’ll be doing this for at least three months on lockdown, as they announced this on their Facebook page. On their announcement, they also stated that the zoo will be closed for visitors until the pandemic situation gets better.

“All our keepers are really dedicated to the 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,” explained Alison Hales, Director of Paradise Park.

Image credits: Paradise Park

Image credits: Paradise Park

And as the director stated, the volunteering zookeepers are doing this also for precautionary reasons. As they have vulnerable family members at home, as Izzy, one of the volunteers explained, ‘if worse comes to worst and all of the zookeeping staff is unable to work, at least she and her three colleagues will be able to pick up the pace in taking care of the animals.’

Paradise Park hosts over 1,200 birds as well as a number of various mammals like red pandas, red squirrels, Asian otters, harvest mice, and the Fun Farm animals. With over a thousand animals living in the zoo, looking after, feeding, cleaning, nursing, and doing other vital activities is no easy task even without the pandemic over one’s shoulder. So this Monday they made a request asking for donations to keep offering their best care for the animals.

Being asked if the animals are reacting to the fact that there are no visitors coming to see them these days, Alison said: “We are keeping to the Park’s routines, like twice-daily penguin feeding times (can be seen on our webcam) so that they would not notice too much difference. Also, spring is in the air and many pairs of birds only have to pair up and nest-building on their minds.”

She continues: “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.”

Image credits: Paradise Park

Image credits: Paradise Park

Image credits: Paradise Park

Zookeepers said that they’re keeping the daily caring routine for the animals, including the ones with the Humboldt penguins. Starting on Easter, the zoo will begin doing what they call Photocalls — a handful of visitors are chosen to help with feeding the penguins, to pet them, and to take photos.

They are also keeping up with the schedule to train their eagles, vultures, hawks, and a number of other bird species who take part in the zoo’s free-flying displays that take place during the summer.

Needless to say, self-quarantine at the zoo has its perks, as Alison of Paradise Park 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 to your special bird friends for a bit longer, but the best bit is waking up to a tropical dawn chorus in deepest Cornwall!”

Image credits: Paradise Park

Image credits: Paradise Park

Image credits: Paradise Park

Here are some of the reactions people had towards this selfless act: