Eight-year-old zebra lover raises more than £10,000 for Somerset animal farm so it can survive pandemic

Polly loves zebras and wants to make sure she can still visit them at the zoo. Credit: Sarah Robertson

An eight-year-old girl has raised more than £10,000 to help her favourite zoo in Somerset survive the coronavirus pandemic.

Polly Robertson set herself a target of £100 by walking or running one mile a day for 64 days, in a bid to help Noah's Ark Zoo Farm feed the animals.

She has since raised more than £10,000 and staff at the zoo have prepared a special surprise for her when they re-open.

Polly the zebra with her new foal Hope, who was born just before the lockdown. Credit: Noah's Ark Zoo Farm

Polly's love for the attraction came after the team at Noah's Ark re-named a zebra after her as a gift on her lockdown birthday in April.

According to mum Sarah, it was "love at first sight" and her daughter has been "desperate" ever since to ensure it can open its doors again.

Polly initially set out to raise £100. Credit: Sarah Robertson

"It has been love at first sight and now Polly is desperate to ensure that the zoo is able to re-open in the future so she can visit Polly and that in the interim, Polly the Zebra and all her friends remain safe, cared for and well fed. So, as we live 64 miles away from the zoo, Polly is planning to walk or run 64 miles over the next couple of months to support the zoo’s Support the Animals campaign."

Sarah Robertson
Polly has been raising money for her namesake Polly the zebra, seen here with baby hope. Credit: Noah's Ark Zoo Farm

Like many other people in the West Country, Sarah said the past three months have been "hard for my two little girls" but added "this has been such a positive thing to focus on and will be a lasting memory for us all to take away."

"Anyone who has spent more than 5 minutes with Polly will know how much she loves Zebras!"

Sarah Robertson

Noah's Ark Zoo Farm plans to re-open to the public soon.

On Monday (15 June) zoos and other attractions were allowed to welcome visitors again after Boris Johnson announced the next steps to easing the coronavirus lockdown.

It has not been good news for all of them, though.

Living Coasts in Torquay, one of the region's most popular visitor attractions, announced it is closing down due to the challenges it has faced in recent weeks.

Newquay and Paignton Zoos also risk going out of business because of the sudden drop in income.

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