[S]taff at the Lake District Wildlife Park near Keswick are urging people to get involved in ‘Love Your Zoo Week’ (Sat 26 May – Sun 3 June), with special activities to get visitors thinking about animal welfare, education and conservation.
Organised by BIAZA (The British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums), Love Your Zoo Week is all about promoting modern zoos as much more than just a place to go and view animals. As a member of BIAZA, the Lake District Wildlife Park is part of this global network, which is helping to save endangered species from its base in the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
To mark the week-long Love Your Zoo event during May half-term, visitors to the Keswick-based attraction have the chance to enter a competition centred on what zoos mean to them. Keepers will also be on hand to chat about the work the Lake District Wildlife Park is doing to promote conservation science, natural history and environmental education.
Love Your Zoo Week is also an opportunity to celebrate the daily work that staff do to manage the wider 200-hectare Armathwaite Hall Estate, with its hay meadows and two Sites of Special Scientific Interest, as well as the Park’s global links with three designated charities:
Red Pandas: Housing two Red Pandas as part of the European Endangered Species breeding programme and donating annually to the Red Panda Network.
The International Vulture Programme: Housing two turkey vultures and a hooded vulture raising public awareness through daily Bird of Prey flying displays, and fundraising for the International Vulture Programme.
SEED Madagascar (Sustainable Environment, Education & Development in Madagascar): Housing two Red Ruffed Lemurs as part of the European Endangered Species breeding programme and housing/successfully breeding the critically endangered Black and White Ruffed Lemurs. The Park also has a troop of Ring Tailed Lemurs, donates money annually to SEED Madagascar and educates visitors about the importance of protecting lemurs.
Park Manager, Richard Robinson, says, “It’s great to have an active role in the conservation of the animals we care for. Programmes like the recent Blue Planet and Plant Earth have brought the natural world back to the forefront of people’s minds and we really want visitors to stop and ask us questions, so they can find out more first-hand about the creatures which inhabit our precious natural landscapes.”
BIAZA is a membership association representing around 100 accredited zoos and aquariums, which must do more than just comply with zoo licensing legislation by undertaking significant work in the field of animal welfare, conservation, education and research.