Year in review
Published: Jan 6, 2020As we enter into a new decade, we’re taking a look back at some of the highlights that 2019 had to offer us…
Happy 2020! As we enter into a new decade, we’re taking a look back at some of the highlights that 2019 had to offer us… And what a year it was!
January is frequently considered a quiet and dreary month, however for us January was all systems go as our maintenance team installed a brand new accessible toilet block.
The Changes Places toilet was fitted to improve the visits of people who need specialist facilities and to make it easier for them to relax and enjoy their day out without having to worry about how they or their loved ones were going to be able to use the toilet.
Since the facility opened we have also introduced wheelchair friendly picnic benches, re-tarmacked certain areas of the zoo and laid down bark chippings on grassed areas to make it easier for wheelchairs to move around.
We had another baby boom last year including a Philippine spotted deer, black wildebeest and crowned lemur. However, the real gem had to be Lien (meaning lotus in Vietnamese) the Owston’s civet kitten. Lien was born back in April 2019, the only one of three kittens to survive – and that thanks to Head Keeper Dave Rich.
Owston’s civets are a key species at Wild Planet Trust, as we manage the European breeding programme for them (and have done since 2005). We are home to more of this Endangered species than any other collection in Europe, with 6 in total. Not much is known about the Owston’s civet – not even how many there are left in the wild - but we do know that it’s not enough.
We were the last collection to breed Owston’s civets, and that was 3 years ago. So it’s fair to say that this was a massive boost for the conservation of this species.
Happy 50th birthday
On May 26th 2019 we marked a very special date - it was our 50th anniversary!
We celebrated with a big party which included free birthday cake for visitors, special themed talks and enrichment, live music, a BBQ and crafts and activities for children. Plus, visitors could take a stroll down memory lane with our special 50th anniversary exhibition, which led them through our unique journey over the past five decades to the zoo we have become today.
So here’s to another 50 years!
There was plenty of excitement during September as we received a royal visit from His Royal Highness The Earl of Wessex KG GCVO.His Royal Highness was taken on a tour of the zoo where he viewed our 50th anniversary exhibition, visited Gems of the Jungle and heard about the South East Asian song bird crisis. He also unveiled a plaque to mark his visit.
We scooped multiple awards last year, which was very satisfying indeed!
In June we received two awards at Royal Cornwall Show - one for educational content and one for being among the best stands in the Countryside Arena.
Towards the end of the year we attended the Cornwall Tourism Awards, where we picked up bronze for accessibility and inclusive tourism. This was great recognition for our maintenance team and all of their hard work on the Changing Places toilet and in making the site more accessible for families.
We also attended the Loo of the Year Awards. There was some strong competition from large companies such as JD Weatherspoon’s and Glasgow Airport. However, we still cleaned up and won three awards, including washroom attendant of the year and a national category win. We received gold for the standard of our facilities.
So there we have it, just a few highlights of 2019. Here’s hoping to another great year.