Zoo animals enjoy the sunshine

By Rod Minchin, PA

Animals at a zoo that has temporarily closed because of the coronavirus outbreak have been enjoying themselves in the sunshine.

Bristol Zoo Gardens and the Wild Place Project closed to visitors last week but the staff have remained to ensure the animals continue to receive the best care.

There are more than 400 different species to look after across both locations, from the tiniest leafcutter ant to the tallest giraffe.

Lynsey Bugg, curator of mammals at the zoo, said: “It’s certainly very strange not having our visitors here, we only usually close on Christmas Day, so it’s rather surreal.

Two giraffes bask in the sun at the Wild Place Project (Bristol Zoo Gardens/PA)

“However, I’m very pleased to say that the animals are doing well and are enjoying this sunshine.

“The gorilla family have spent hours outside playing on Gorilla Island, the lemurs are basking in the warmth of the sun, and our pygmy hippo has been taking regular dips in the pool to keep cool.”

Will Walker, animal manager at the Wild Place Project, said: “We are very happy to say that the animals here are fine and content.

Holly the reindeer helping to clean her paddock at Wild Place (Bristol Zoo Gardens/PA)

“The bears, lynx and wolverines have been dozing in the sunshine, the giraffes and zebras have been out in the paddock and the geladas are enjoying picking at the fresh grass that has started growing in their exhibit.

“It’s certainly much quieter than usual and we are all missing seeing the happy smiles of our visitors, but we are grateful for all the lovely messages of support we have received, and we look forward to welcoming everyone back when we reopen.”