Priti Patel MP visits Colchester Zoo for post lockdown update
Priti Patel MP has today (21st August 2020) visited Colchester Zoo, a major tourist and recreational venue in her Witham constituency, for a tour and an update on how the Zoo is coping following its post-lockdown re-opening in June.
Priti met with Colchester Zoo’s management team, including its Managing Director, Dr Dominique Tropeano OBE, Richard Spurgeon, Park Manager and Sarah Forsyth, Zoo Curator. They discussed the long lockdown closure’s effects on the Zoo, how it is responding to the challenges posed by re-opening with social distancing and how the Government could help zoos in the future. Priti was then taken on a tour where she was shown the extensive changes the Zoo has made to its facilities in response to the challenges of the Covid-19 social distancing requirements. She also took time out to visit the penguin, sealion, orangutan and chimpanzee habitats.
Commenting after her visit, Priti said: “I was very impressed with the major effort the Zoo has made to adapt their facilities in a way that respects social distancing. They have created an environment that feels safe and I commend them. I was in contact with the Zoo during lockdown and made representations to the Government about the high quality of their re-opening preparations.
“With major ongoing daily costs, there is no doubt that the Zoo has been hit hard by the long pandemic closure. Even though it is now up and running, it is not out of the woods yet and urgently needs donations towards its ‘Save the Zoo’ campaign. Donations can be made via www.colchester-zoo.com/our-mission/support-us/colchester-zoo-operating-fund
“Colchester Zoo is a superb attraction for Essex and a well-known and respected centre for research and conservation. I hope local people will continue to give it their full support.”
Dr Dominique Tropeano OBE, the Zoo’s Managing Director said: “It was great to see Priti again and we were very pleased to show her the changes we have made to make our facilities as Covid-19 proof as possible. We were also able to brief her on the latest situation regarding the Zoo’s finances and our plans for the future. Her support is greatly appreciated.”