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Zookeepers Self-Isolate in Wildlife Sanctuary to Care for Animals

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Due to the fast spread of the coronavirus, many companies and attractions across the world shut their doors to outside guests. That included Paradise Park in Hayle, Cornwall, UK. This is a wildlife sanctuary that houses a little under 1,200 animals. With all of those animals still in need of care, zookeepers came up with the idea to self-isolate in the park to properly care for the animals each day. 

A Unique Idea

Paradise Park in Cornwall shut down temporarily due to the coronavirus outbreak. Instead of self-isolating at home like the majority of the world, four of the park’s zookeepers decided to stay on to take care of the animals. The four staff members — Izzy, Emily, Layla, and Sarah-Jane — moved into a house onsite instead of staying home. The zookeepers knew they had to self-isolate in Paradise Park for at least 12 weeks to help care for the animals there. 

This unprecedented move was made for several reasons. For one, these workers have vulnerable family members at home and didn’t want to put their loved ones at risk by potentially bringing the virus back from work with them. Also, if none of the other zookeeping staff was able to come into work due to the virus, at least these four will be able to step up to take care of the animals. 

A Daily Routine

During this period, the staff members continued to feed and clean all of the birds and mammals housed at the park. They also provided medications, enrichment activities, and any other important maintenance that the animals needed. In spite of not having regular visitors, the zookeepers kept up the daily routines of the animals.

“A few are hand-reared and very friendly and in the summer season from Easter onwards they take part in ‘Photocalls.’ Usually, at the two feeding times of 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., we select a handful of visitors to help feed the penguins, give a talk. Then, visitors are invited to meet and stroke one of the friendly ones and take photos,” Izzy shared with Metro. “To ensure we are ready when we re-open, we are continuing to go through these routines. Plus, we continue training with our eagles, vultures, hawks, macaws and other species who take part in our big free-flying displays throughout the summer.” 

The four staff members who stayed at the zoo were also supported by other zookeepers who came in at different times of the day. They all took care of different areas of the park to ensure that all areas were covered. Of course, all of the staff kept a good amount of distance away from each other to ensure everyone stayed safe. 

Financial Stress

With the lack of daily visitors, Paradise Park, like many closed public locations, lost a lot of its income. Throughout the year, the park is only really closed on Christmas Day and other days due to snow. During the Easter holiday and the warmer summer months, the staff is typically able to throw extra events that attract even more visitors who contribute funds towards their conservation work. However, with the doors being shut to the public, that money stopped coming in. 

The zoo launched an online fundraising campaign, the first fundraiser that Paradise Park has ever needed to have. The fundraiser was created to help cover the cost of food and other expenses, which total over $1,500 per week. Loyal visitors can contribute to that campaign to help. They can also watch live webcams of the animals online and see regular social media updates from the park. The workers at Paradise Park are committed to keeping this beloved sanctuary going for the sake of its animals and those who support it. 

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