1. ITV Report

Animals at Bristol Zoo and Wild Place Project bask in spring sunshine during coronavirus lockdown

The sunshine has been welcomed by animals at both sites. Credit: Bristol Zoological Society

The coronavirus outbreak has made many of us change our daily routines, but the animals at Bristol Zoo and Wild Place Project are happier than ever...

Staff are struggling to adjust to the lack of visitors, but the hundreds of species being looked after at the parks have been enjoying the sunshine.

Holly the Reindeer helps to clean her paddock in the sunshine at Wild Place Project. Credit: Bristol Zoological Society

Bristol Zoological Society closed both the zoo and Wild Place Project on Friday 20 March to help stop the spread of Covid-19.

Keepers, vets and other essential staff members are still working though, to ensure the animals are cared for.

There's a combined total of more than 400 species being looked after at the parks.

Lynsey Bugg, Curator of Mammals at Bristol Zoo Gardens, said: "It's certainly very strange not having our visitors here, we only usually close on Christmas Day, so it's rather surreal."

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.

– Lynsey Bugg
Black and white ruffed lemurs sunbathe during the lockdown. Credit: Bristol Zoological Society

Over at Wild Place Project the bears, lynx and wolverines have been "dozing in the sunshine", according to animal manager, Will Walker.

He said the giraffes and zebras have been out in the paddock, whilst geladas have been 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 re-open.

– Will Walker

As the coronavirus lockdown continues, staff from Bristol Zoo and Wild Place Project will be keeping people regularly entertained and updated via social media with regular live videos and photos.