Keepers move in to Paradise Park to look after the birds and mammals
Four Paradise Park Keepers have moved in on site at the Park, so they can continue to care for the birds and animals and isolate themselves from their families.
Above: Keeper Izzy moving in including her favourite plant and vital weighted hula hoop.
Keeper Izzy Wheatley explains “I had been thinking about how to handle the situation we all find ourselves in re isolating and social distancing as I have a big family including an elder member who has gone in to 12 weeks isolation. At the same time the Directors were having the same thoughts about using the house that is onsite and which became free as the Cornish Chough conservation meeting had just been cancelled. Myself and three other keepers Sarah-Jane Jelbart, Layla Richardson and Emily Foden then moved in to the onsite house.
We have just under 1,200 individual birds and mammals to look after, feeding, cleaning, giving medications, supplying enrichment activities, and any vital maintenance. We are being supported by other keepers who are coming in at different times of day so they can keep separate, and obviously we are keeping our distance from them. This is being achieved by changed rotas and splitting up areas of the Park to ensure we are all working in different areas.
Keeper Sarah-Jane going through the routine with Paloma where visitors would normally get to meet and stroke a penguin and take photos.
We are keeping up the daily routines with our Humboldt’s Penguins. A few are hand-reared and very friendly and in the summer season from Easter onwards they take part in ‘Photocalls’. Usually, at the two feeding times of 11am and 3pm, we select a handful of visitors to help feed the penguins, give a talk then visitors are invited to meet and stroke one of the friendly ones and take photos. To ensure we are ready when we re-open, we are continuing to go through these routines. Plus we continue training with our eagles, vultures, hawks, macaws and other species who take part in our big free flying displays throughout the summer.”
In this photo Keeper Sarah-Jane, with penguin Mildred by her side, is picking either Keeper Rachel or Emily, who are playing the part of visitors putting their hands up to be picked to feed the penguins!
The Park closed temporarily on 21st March, and is posting updates and videos to its social media channels of what is happening on site. Plus people can view two live webcams, one showing the penguins including at the 11am and 3pm feeding times. The other webcam is from the Red-billed Chough seclusion aviaries showing them nest-building for the coming breeding season and hopefully they will produce more chicks for the reintroduction projects like the one for Jersey.
It costs more than £1,500 a week just for the food for the nearly 1,200 animals at Paradise Park. If you would like to make a donation, for which we would be extremely grateful, the money would be focused on buying food for the birds and mammals, plus pay for extra enrichment items and veterinary bills. Please see our donations page here for more info and links. Thank you 🙂