We’re all going to the zoo… today!

Just Regional
Apr 29, 2020 4 mins read

Who fancies a trip to the zoo?

We may not be able to go and see the animals at the moment, but we can bring the Amazona Zoo into your home with a chat with manager Imogen White to see how the animals are getting on without us – it seems some of them quite miss having us around.

Imogen has worked at Amazona, in Cromer, for 12 years and has been manager for eight, so she is ideally placed to give us a tour…

How many staff do you look after?

Before Coronavirus, under normal circumstances, we have 10 to 15 members of staff, depending on the season.  Currently, while we are closed, it’s me, four keepers and two maintenance staff.

My team and I look after more than 200 South American animals and birds which live in 14 acres of land just outside Cromer town centre.  As well as the zoo, we have an indoor play centre, Jungle Tumbles; an outdoor adventure park, Rainforest Springs; and a café which served lots of delicious homemade food.

Have you seen any changes in the animals’ behaviour since you have been closed to visitors?

Since the lockdown we have seen some changes in some of our animal’s behaviours. Our jaguarundi, which are small cats that are normally very timid, have been out and about most days.

Others are missing their interactions with the visitors, such as our Capuchins, who are very cheeky and like a lot of attention. 

During this time, our keepers are busy with their normal daily duties, but we are also adding a lot more enrichment into their lives as it is so quiet.  

Do some animals thrive better without visitors?

​Arguably some animals do. Having lots of visitors around causes noise and this can disturb some natural behaviour. This being said, all are animals are used to people being here and the noise that this brings. When the doors close for the day, usually at 5pm, they know that its quiet then and they shouldn’t be disturbed.

Have people rallied round you like they have other organisations?

​Many local businesses have been very supportive, donating fruit and vegetables to us that would normally be thrown away. This helps in two ways – firstly, it stops waste going to landfill and, secondly, has helped us save some money. We rely solely on visitors coming through the door and at this time we have no income.  So, any way that we can save some money is a bonus.  Morrisons in Cromer has been particularly supportive.  

Are you having any special ‘online’ events for people to stay connected with the animals, such as webcams?

​We have been keeping people up to date with a daily lockdown diary on social media.  Photos or videos that I or the keepers have taken from that day are shared on our Facebook page. (Including the ones below.)

What has been particularly challenging or surprising since lockdown?

The support we have received from the community has been really lovely and has kept the team going.  We have received letters and cards, donations on our JustGiving page, and loads of lovely comments on social media.  Saying “thank you” virtually doesn’t seem enough, but we hope people realise how grateful we truly are.

We would like people to know that our animals are still being cared for to a very high standard with our dedicated and caring team here looking after them. We can’t wait to see everyone again when we are allowed to reopen.

How can people support Amazona Zoo?

If anyone would like to donate to our Just Giving page that would be brilliant. The funds raised will be going towards our animals’ upkeep and food and tune into our daily updates on Facebook!

Click here to reach the Just Giving page to see how you can help.

Visit the zoo website – www.Amazonazoo.co.uk – and find them on Facebook (@AmazonaZoo)

More of what's happening in Aylsham