The Zoological Society of East Anglia has announced that Banham Zoo in Norfolk and Africa Alive in Suffolk will open their doors on Monday 12 April, with the first five days reserved for annual pass holders and all members of the public invited to book slots from Saturday 17 April.
This time last year, the charity was reeling from the national lockdown which led to the two zoos undergoing a substantial restructure and the necessary cost saving measures to ensure their survival for the future.
One year on and ZSEA see a positive future ahead following magnificent fundraising efforts by dedicated supporters amounting to over £60,531 over 12 months. They also received a lifeline Zoo Animals Fund grant of £752,000 from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to cover the cost of animal care during this third lockdown, and to undertake much needed repairs.
Claudia Roberts, Joint Managing Director, said: “We are delighted to be re-opening again and sharing our beautiful open spaces and diverse collection of animals with the community that have supported us so much over the last year. The animals have missed them too!
“We recognise that the last lockdown over the Winter months has been particularly tough for everyone. As there is a strong connection between nature and wellbeing, we are delighted to offer during the Members Only Week, in recognition of Stress Awareness Month, free entry for one friend so they can enjoy a ‘Wellbeing Walk’ around the zoo”.
ZSEA has also announced that after a career spanning over 28 years at Africa Alive and Banham Zoo, Gary Batters, Joint Managing Director, made the difficult decision, with agreement of Trustees, that now is the right time for him to leave and focus on other challenges.
Chair of Trustees at the charity, Gerard Smith, commented: “Gary is very well known for his dedication to conservation and education work, especially with the AEECL (The Lemur Association) where he has been its President since 1993.
“I’m sure that all our staff, volunteers, visitors and animals will join me in thanking Gary for helping to steer us through a very challenging year and we all wish him the best of luck for the future”.
Claudia Roberts will become CEO from April 2021 and will take forward the charity’s vision for the zoos to be a haven for wildlife and people. ZSEA’s 2021/22 plan includes a renewed focus on education and to become the UK’s first neurodiverse zoo.
Covid-safety measures will continue at both zoos – from advanced booking only online to sanitizing stations across the sites. Until further notice, indoor displays will also be closed and guests must visit either with six other people or with one other household. The Zoological Society of East Anglia’s safety video can be viewed here:
Book your tickets here or purchase an annual pass to get exclusive access to a range of benefits including entry into our members exclusive week from 12th – 16th April 2021!. Alternatively donate to our #WildAboutSurvival campaign to help support us and our amazing animals!