An eight-year-old girl with a love of zebras who helped a zoo during the coronavirus pandemic has handed over a huge cheque and had the chance to be a zoo keeper for the day.
During lockdown, Polly was disappointed when she couldn’t go to the zoo for her birthday. Polly, the Zebra, who lives at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm in Wraxall, sent Polly, the human, a birthday letter. This prompted Polly to walk 64 miles (a mile a day) during lockdown to ‘walk the distance’ from her house to the zoo to raise £100 for Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm’s Animal Support Fund.
The total rocketed after Polly appeared on the Jeremy Vine show on Radio 2 and told him she wanted to raise money to help feed the animals at Noah’s Ark. In the end she made more than a hundred times her target.
It meant that Polly had helped the zoo feed the animals for a whole month all by herself.
Polly Robertson, who is from Hereford, visited the zoo near Bristol to walk the last mile of her 64 mile sponsored walk and hand over a cheque for £11,111.
We didn't know how we were going to survive when we were told we were going into lockdown.
Larry Bush, the Managing Director at Noah's Ark Zoo Farm, says it has been incredibly difficult during lockdown: "We've had to call upon all sorts of help from people. Local businesses have donated vegetables. Members and supporters have donated money.
"All kinds of people have helped in different ways and so we feel very thankful that we've been able to survive this period but we didn't know how we were going to do that when we went into lockdown."
Polly had a great day meeting all the keepers and animals at the zoo. She fed the reindeers, the Bactrian Camels and baby Khoomii, the mob of Meerkats, the Tapirs, Bella the Barn Owl and of course the zebras. She also helped with the keepers' daily tasks and got to meet animals she didn’t even know she loved.
The zoo welcomed the opportunity to give Polly and her family a big day out. The young zebra fan was also guest of honour when the attraction reopened after lockdown.
Larry Bush says, “We’re bowled over by Polly’s fundraising to help care for our animals here at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm. We love it when people share our passion for animals and Polly is as mad about Zebras as we are!