Live Reporting: Life at the ZSL London Zoo after lockdown

Various tourist attractions have finally opened their doors for visitors after a frustrating period of stagnation. One of them is the ZSL London Zoo, known as the oldest scientific zoo in the world. Today you will learn how this zoo operates after the lockdown.

Back in March last year, with the incoming of which would be the first of three planned national lockdowns, ZSL was forced to close the gates with thousands of animals inside. 

“We’ve been a part of our local community for almost 200 years, and with your support, are determined to be for at least 200 more.” Described ZSL Director General, Dominic Jermey when interviewed by the Hampstead Highgate Express.

Video from when they opened for the first time since lockdown was lifted in 2020:

Video Courtesy of ITV

The second lockdown once again affected the ZSL by cutting short their plans to bring in their winter finery and decorations. 

“We had been counting on Christmas to raise funds, and on December 4 we were excited to reopen as a festive wonderland with decorations and one-way trails. But as London plunged into Tier 4, we had to close again.” Told Dominic Jermey to the Hampstead Highgate Express. 

According to Metro, national lockdowns brought harmful financial issues to the ZSL London Zoo.

“Feeding the animals costs around £1 million a month, and the latest lockdown will cost the zoo another £1.8 million blow – on top of the £15 million pound loss last year.”

Sky News reported that in 2020, with visitors to the zoo declining due to the harsh months of continuous gate closures and persistent pandemic, the British bank Barclays decided to help the company with its debts, offering a £20 million loan to assist them. 
Nevertheless, the financial problems seem to persist and the inflow of new revenues is needed to move forward as soon as possible.

So now that the third and final lockdown is over, the most desired and definitive opening has come at the right timing. 

“Spending a second Easter break closed was a disappointment which has been keenly felt across the charity. By reopening day on April 12, London Zoo will have been closed for 29 weeks.” Said Dominic Jermey in his article with the Hampstead Highgate Express. 

Since 12 April 2021, the ZSL London Zoo welcomes visitors again. However, the ZSL official website announced some rules that people who want to come have to follow. Watch the video down below to find out about the new safety requirements:

Video Courtesy of ZSL – Zoological Society of London

On 27 April 2021, the newest addition, Asiatic lioness Arya joined the ZSL.

Arya was relocated from her previous home at Paignton Zoo in Devon to her new loving place at ZSL London Zoo.

This 4 year old lioness happens to be the daughter of a fellow lion who found his former home at ZSL, making this transfer a very special one for her. 

Her’s is an endangered species only found in India, with a total of about several hundred Asiatic lions in the wild.

Video Courtesy of Reuters

This sounds like exciting news for the zoo, but some people online have shared their opinions too. Here are some Tweets:

Now  there are a total of 20,329 animals and 438 species in the ZSL London Zoo, including eye-catching Asiatic lions, Okapis, Humboldt penguins and Two-toed sloths.

Some Humboldt penguins taking a swim this morning

The ZSL, which is 36-acre (15-hectare), was opened in 1828, and in 1830 received first additions from Windsor and the Tower of London menageries.

In 1849, the ZSL London Zoo introduced the first reptile house to the world and, in 1853, the very first public aquarium.

In Dunstable, Bedfordshire, the Whipsnade Zoo, a country branch of ZSL, was opened in 1931 by the Zoological Society of London. This branch of the ZSL is 600-acre (240-hectare) and currently has 9,694 animals.

A young lovely family of three, came to the ZSL London Zoo this morning. This is not their first visit, and they feel happy that the zoo is operating again.

“Definitely very beneficial for the kids. They enjoy the zoo and the animals very much” says Myat, and then she added that people should pay a visit as soon as they can.

Zoe, who has also visited the ZSL in the past, is satisfied with her experience today and recommends others to come.

“It’s definitely educational for children and adults. I love it.”

Despite the challenging period, the ZSL London Zoo operates again and welcomes the customers with unforgettable animals, hot pizza, sweet candy floss, spinning carousels and breath-taking experiences.

And will hopefully be able to recover, look after the animals and successfully continue to put smiles on people’s faces for the years to come.

Want to read more global COVID-19 news? Check out our interactive map.

by Daniele Kieraite and Saray Ramiro Fernandez

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