South Lakes Safari Zoo in Dalton reflects on the challenges and achievements of 2021


As we move into the first days of 2022, Dalton Zoo looks back on the challenges and accomplishments of the past year – and praises the “fabulous” support from the community.

The South Lakes Safari Zoo has shared its ups and downs of 2021 in a year plagued by uncertainties posed by the pandemic.

Sam Brewer, of the South Lakes Safari Zoo, said she was “so proud” of the zoo’s accomplishments over the past 12 months and said they only had the supporters to thank.

She said: “The year started as the last one started with all the uncertainty of the pandemic.

“Like everywhere else, we have had to close to try to stop the spread of the virus with 1,200 animals according to our care. We rely on visitors’ money to feed our animals and for our keepers to continue to care. of them.

“It costs over £ 100,000 a month to take care of everything and where you can scrimp and save on some things, animal welfare, food, heating and care are not one of them.

“But aside from the money we have had fabulous support, both locally, through our ‘lives’, from our members and just a tremendous feeling of being completely ‘propped up’ and for that we are. , and will always be, eternally grateful. ”

Ms Brewer said it had been “particularly poignant and moving” to improve an animal enclosure last year.

She said: “The animal’s reactions to the lack of visitors to educate and engage were interesting and varied; our keepers had to find creative ways to stimulate each resident and, very interestingly, the animals definitely understood the change in the number of humans. the faces they saw during the lockdown and began to interact more with each other, and with the non-custodial staff who were on site – and with the guards from other sections.

“The opening of our new home for the Andean bears and howler monkeys in early 2022 will be a milestone in a project that has cost over £ 100,000, and visitors will see one of the best indoor bear facilities in the world. UK.

“Most importantly, bears and howlers will have access to their new indoor spaces, all built and designed with the animal’s natural history at its heart.

“And will represent the first of what hopefully many to come.

“It’s always particularly poignant and emotional for the team here when we’re able to improve one of the paddocks and / or houses, and this one certainly hit a few chords, especially being able to achieve that. amidst constraints and challenges. of the pandemic. ”

Ms Brewer added that the team has had “tough lows” but looks to this year.

“We’ve lost some familiar faces this year and it’s still extremely difficult,” she said.

“We had some tough dips, but we ended the year with good news – a really bad kangaroo – Jalapeno who, after almost a year of observation and care from his amazing team, received a good health check of veterinarians.

“We are part of breeding programs, so animals play a major role in conserving their species for the future; have a backup generation to support endangered species in the wild.

“In December 2021, White Rhino Zahara, born here in 2017, moved to Marwell Zoo as part of the program, but the crash welcomed two new members as we celebrated the birth of calves Azeeza and Iniko.”

“One of our strengths is the ongoing relationship with Indy the Dogs for the Wild Sense Dog.

“We have seen Indy over the year move from a young puppy training in rhino and Africa enclosures here at the zoo to be ready for deployment (as soon as Covid allows) to South African reserves to protect these animals in the wild. ”

“Other highlights of this year: The births of little red pandas and the renewal of the funding and connection with the guardian of the red panda forest in Nepal, the funding of the lion guardian in Africa, another silent extinction, 21 £ 000 was raised for the GCF Fund for the Conservation of Giraffes in the Wild, £ 25,000 was raised for the Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary and the target was met to finance the transport of the Indy Bushmeat Detector Dog on the way to the Mankwe wildlife reserve.

“We are very proud to have been able to achieve all of this in one year, and not just any year – a year with so many challenges and uncertainties posed by the pandemic. And for that, we only have our supporters to thank.

“Look at 2022 as we launch our ‘you can change the world’ campaign where we will all ask you to dig deep to recycle your cans here at the zoo where we will turn that income into purely funds to support Indy as she arrives in Africa South and in the reserve where she goes each of us.

“We have some very exciting newcomers expected as well, so keep watching this space.”

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