Zookeepers Self-Isolate in UK Wildlife Park for 3 Months to Take Care of Animals

The spread of coronavirus has occurred unexpected and since there is no vaccine against it governments had to initiate certain preventive measures like lockdown and self-isolation. During the self isolation period many people opt for the countryside where they own summer or garden houses. However, not many people considered the possibility of self isolation at workplace.

Yes, something like that is true especially for the employees of the Paradise Park Zoo. Several zookeepers have already done that and adopted a different approach to self-isolation.

Four zookeepers voluntarily self-isolated in the Paradise Park Zoo

The Paradise Park is a wildlife sanctuary in Hayle, Cornwall, UK, and home to the World Parrot Trust and Operation Chough, but currently is closed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. This a temporary decision of the officials of the zoo, which goal is to keep their zoo keeping staff safe in order for the animals in the sanctuary to receive the high-quality care.

Four employees of the Zoo, Izzy Wheatley, Sarah-Jane Jelbert, Emily Foden and Layla Richardson, decided to volunteer and self-isolate in the park and thus offer the needed care for the residents of the park. They will be in self-isolation for 12 weeks in a row, but during this time “they will be supported by other keepers on a daily basis, observing all the relevant guidelines”, stated at the official Facebook page of the park.

The Director of Paradise Park, Alison Hales, stated:

 “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.”

The four zookeepers stated that they have come up with this decision because of two reasons, not to put at risk their vulnerable relatives at home, and to take care of the animals if there would not be any zookeeper capable to do the job. Therefore, the four of them decided to self-isolate themselves in the wildlife sanctuary’s onsite house.

In the video messages of Ms. Wheatley to her family, she says: “we’ve all been here for each other when it’s got tough”. She added that if the other zookeepers need to be self-isolated due to the coronavirus, they “could keep it running as best as we could.”

In the park live about 1,200 tropical birds and mammals, including red pandas, red squirrels, Asian otter, harvest mice, and the Fun Farm animals.

Hales states that they are trying all that they can for the animals not to see a difference in their everyday lives. Since there are no visitors the employees act as everything is the same, but parrots are smart and although in the park reside many different parrots “the friendliest of these are wondering where everyone is”.

Smart Precaution of Ensuring enough Employees to Look After the Park Animals

Four Zookeepers Feed, Clean, and Take Care of Over 1,200 Animals

The four zookeepers that are in the park continue with their daily routine and as well as with the training of birds that participate in the free-flying displays during the summer, such as hawks, eagles, and vultures. There are also the Humboldt penguins that are well taken care of. The park’s plan is that from Easter they will start the Photocalls, a project that involves choosing a handful of visitors that would help with the penguins like feeding, petting them, and at last for everlasting memory taking pictures with them.

Izzy explains the routines with the rest of the zookeepers: “We are being supported by other keepers who are coming in at different times of the day so they can keep separate, and obviously we are keeping our distance from them. This is being achieved by changed rotas and splitting up areas of the Park to ensure we are all working in different areas.”

Being self-isolated in the park has its own perks like firsthand observation of the animals in peace and quiet, talking with some of them, and the best advantage is for sure“waking up to a tropical dawn chorus in deepest Cornwall!”

The coworkers rotate to support the self-isolating zookeepers

Paradise Park is still dedicated to its visitors by offering regular updates on its media pages and shows footage from the live webcams in the park.

Hales explains that the Park mostly runs on the visits of the people, and for them these are really challenging times as they have lost plenty of income. Hence, after the end of the crisis, gathering enough funds would be the next challenge:

 “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 really 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.

The unknown is very worrying. Spring is usually a hopeful time where we get an influx of visitors and we can breathe a sigh of relief. It is now as if the rug has been pulled. I’m sure we will be OK. We are relying on the birds to show us the way. We will come out the other end.”

As a result of that, Hales and her colleague, Michelle Turton, have launched a GoFundMe campaign so that they can cover their essential expenses. They stated: “every gift really will make a difference in helping to ensure the high standard of care we pride ourselves on continues every day.”

Via social media the Zoo keeps posted her visitors thanks to the live webcams and the lovely pictures

Check some of the unique moments of the daily life at the zoo