Extra safety measures introduced at zoos to protect health of animals and keepers

Zookeepers have introduced extra safety measures to protect themselves and the animals.

All zoos in the Midlands have now been forced to close, including Twycross Zoo in Leicestershire, which closed to the public on Monday evening.

The zoo has reassured the public that its animals will still be well cared for.

“Please be assured our incredible animal team will be continuing to work on site, while adhering clear social distancing and hygiene measures to stay safe and ensure all our animal’s receive the excellent standard of care they are used to. We have been overwhelmed by all the kind messages of support."

Twycross Zoo

However, concerns have been raised about impact Coronavirus could have on apes.

Scientists say the current outbreak warrants the utmost caution.

It's not yet known if non-human great apes are susceptible to the virus which causes Covid-19 in humans, but they can catch other human respiratory illnesses so scientists believe they may susceptible.

Twycross Zoo closed on Monday evening. Credit: Twycross Zoo
The zoo has reassured people that its animals will continue to be well looked after Credit: Twycross Zoo
The World Health Organisation (WHO) says that keepers should practice general hygiene measures Credit: Twycross Zoo

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says that keepers should practice general hygiene measures, including regular hand washing with soap and water after touching animals and animal products, avoiding touching eyes, nose, or mouth with hands, and avoiding contact with sick animals.

WHO adds that people should consider wearing protective gowns, gloves, masks while professionally handling animals and fresh animal products. Equipment and working stations should be disinfected frequently, at least once a day. Protective clothing should be removed after work and washed daily. Workers should also avoid exposing family members to soiled work clothing, shoes, or other items that may have come into contact with potentially contaminated material by leaving protective clothes and items at the workplace for daily washing.