Firstly, we hope you are all well and want to thank all the people who have been asking how we are doing in these hard times.
We know you don’t want to read too much, so I will try to keep it as short as possible and then add some more details below for people who don’t already know lots about us. So thank you for taking the time to read.
We, just like so many others have struggled to get through the pandemic. We have not as yet created a ‘Go Fund Me’ or asked for help or support as we honestly felt everyone was in such a bad situation, we did not feel it was right to ask for help. But now after a whole year of being closed and using up all our resources, already accessing what little help there has been available and taking out all the loans we could get, we find ourselves in a dire situation and almost out of funds. But as you can all appreciate the overheads we have cannot be reduced or compromised; animal care, animal food, electric for heating, veterinary costs and specialist equipment, to name just a few. We really thought we would be open by now, but we are not and here we are looking for you to help us make it over this last hurdle.
I can’t emphasise enough, whilst we have watched other zoos having successful funding campaigns at the beginning of the pandemic, we really have tried our hardest not to ask for help, and it is with a heavy heart and lots of sleepless nights that we have ended up here.
To make things worse (for the people who don’t know us well) three months before the pandemic took hold, we found out the sad news that we could no longer operate our community zoo and education centre in its current location. Even though this could have meant the end, we managed to work with our local council (Telford and Wrekin Council), who have been really supportive and offered us a new home, a forever home in the heart of Telford, Telford Town Park. So, with that in mind we had already been closed for three months before the pandemic. We thought the move would be a massive struggle financially as we were not expecting it, wanting it or prepared for it. I’m sure you can imagine what a struggle it has been to deal with both of these traumas at once.
We are really well known for our education programs and hosting visits for thousands of students every year on site in our wildlife academy, all of this income disappeared due to the pandemic which, without the pandemic would have helped us through the move.
We are also a special place for so many people in the community from hard to reach and vulnerable backgrounds who benefit from our animal therapy sessions and programs. We work closely with lots of local groups and the council to support young people unable to access education, adults in care and sheltered accommodation as well as some of our elderly service users suffering from dementia. This is just a small example of the people we work with in the community to improve their health and wellbeing. This part is one of our favourite aspects of the zoo and a part we have missed the most and we know we have been missed by the people we work with.
We hope to find some support to get us through these next few hard months we thought we would never find ourselves in and look forward to opening our new doors to our community again this summer and carrying on the good work we always try to do.
We are home to some amazing animals from all around the world that have found Exotic Zoo as their home after arriving to us as rescues from pet homes or from other zoos, and also from being born with us. They help us to educate our visitors and all the young students and volunteers that take part in our education programs. We help them to develop an understanding about the environment, the environmental issues affecting animals, people and the world we live in. We have set up a reforestation project to coincide with the opening of the zoo at the new site to help replant trees within the rainforest, but also to get our community and visitors involved in this exciting project that will not only replant the rainforest but in turn support all the animals that call the rainforest their home. We don’t just care for exotic species; we also have domestic animals in our farmyard and believe in educating people about environmental problems closer to home. To help us do this, we are currently planting hundreds of meters of hedgerow at the new site to support local wildlife, as well as planting our woodland areas with lots and lots of native trees! We cannot wait to be Telford’s place for conservation, education and engaging young people to care about the world we live in.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post and we hope we can welcome you to our zoo really soon.