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beating the dream and owning a zoo one day?

Discussion in 'United Kingdom' started by stubeanz, 26 Nov 2014.

  1. stubeanz

    stubeanz Well-Known Member

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    Hi all,

    I just wondered how many of you had thought about opening a zoo one day? Perhaps you took steps towards it and it never worked out? or maybe it did?

    This isn't another "I want to own a zoo" thread but a serious discussion.

    One day in my life I hope to open a zoo I always say it could be 5 years from now or 50 years but one day I hope to succeed, this made me wonder if anyone had tried their hardest to beat the dream and make it a reality?

    There are many methods when starting a zoo and I'm not talking about opening a multi million pound world class zoo but perhaps a very good small zoo specialising in small exotics and particularly mixing the common place for the public with the unusual for myself and others who are of the same mind-set.

    any thoughts you may have please start the discussion :)
     
  2. Panthera1981

    Panthera1981 Well-Known Member

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    Yes, absolutey! If my numbers come up mind!

    Mine would be a specialist collection dealing in the smaller and lesser known cat species, which I find are grossly underrepresented in many collections.
     
  3. James Barber

    James Barber Well-Known Member

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    I've always had the dream of owning my own zoo one day but I don't think it will be a relality for me.

    This dream will only stay in my head along with the animals I have listed.
     
  4. garyjp

    garyjp Well-Known Member

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    Yes would love to own a Zoo one day! But have got to agree need the six numbers on a saturday to do it. I also agree that a smaller to meduim size collection would be the best route forward - there is no need to compete with the Chester's & London 's of this world plus of course the cost that would go with it.So i think first consideration would have to be location - where in UK ? I understand that some may want a specialised collection but I think you would have to be more generic - people like to see some some "big" animals. You have to cater for the paying public . I think a good example of a good little Zoo is PWP at Broxbourne - that would be the blue print I would probably go along .
     
  5. Nanook

    Nanook Well-Known Member

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    Absolutely yes, I have always wanted to have my own "public zoo", (keeping animals privately being different of course). But unfortunately these days it is so much harder not only to start one, but equally, to keep one going with any success over a long time period.
    Back in the 1960s and 70s of course it was very much easier to start a zoo, and that is why so many started up in the 1960s.
    But today is a completely different prospect. So I think my hopes of starting a zoo realistically, are sadly, extremely slim:(
     
  6. Shorts

    Shorts Well-Known Member

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    To be honest, whilst PWP has it's place, if I won the lottery I could never be motivated to run a similar generic collection -the UK has enough of them. It's not that another in the right place wouldn't be financially viable but more that avoiding risk would mean that I'd solely be running it as a business. We're talking lottery driven personal financial stability here so I wouldn't need the zoo to "pull up trees" business-wise -so (largely) following my own interests animal-wise would be the main point of the exercise. I'd want to offer the public something different and hope they come (like Crocodiles of the World seems to have done so successfully).

    To me personally, the lottery-given opportunity of a lifetime would be seen as the chance to risk doing something different (without threatening personal financial stability) rather than providing a generic zoo for the sake of being able to own/operate one.
     
  7. tetrapod

    tetrapod Well-Known Member

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    I would be interested to know what sort of collection prospective 'new' zoo owners would be aiming for. Some people have already mentioned both the specialist approach (small cats) while others have gne for a small/medium sized generalist. Are there some species which are almost a given eg. meerkats and ringtails? Medium to small zoos make keeping some of the larger megafauna such as hoofstock, apes and big carnivores difficult (or at least there is a limiting factor on how many you could keep). Specialist bird collections have declined over time, and those that still exist often supplement with token mammals. Many large zoos have reduced the variety within their collections. Is there space and viability for entirely specialized collections - Crocs of the World comes to mind? Do we need to think outside the box and look at opportunities such as photographis safaris such as Wildlife Heritage Centre (or whatever it calls itself) in Kent? I would think that most people couldn't keep an essentially private collection like RSCC with unusual species without a fairly healthy bank balance.
    My personal thoughts lead towards collections similar to Exmoor and Newquay. Not huge sites, a good balance of commonly kept and some unusuals. Interesting without having to go all out wow. If the zoo is viable then with time the collection may become a bit more specialised depending on individual interest and breeding success.
     
  8. Nanook

    Nanook Well-Known Member

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    Location is one of the most important considerations.
    There have been a few places that have fallen by the wayside in recent years, with their location playing an important part in their sad demise.
    So the location of any zoo is a crucial aspect to their success, or otherwise.
     
  9. Shorts

    Shorts Well-Known Member

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    Absolutely!

    If Blackbrook had been near a tourist area I think it might still have been here (as it was).

    Conversely Yorkshire Wildlife Park probably would have struggled if it was between Chester and Blackpool.
     
  10. Nanook

    Nanook Well-Known Member

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    I would agree with Exmoor and Newquay and other small but interesting places like Shaldon - with relatively low running costs compared to the bigger collections. I would also agree that you need a balance of the more popular species with the enthusiasts species too, although the latter is what most of us would go for, like RSCC, it is so much harder to make it work. I think Todd relies a great deal on his other business interests to keep RSCC afloat financially? Crocs of the world has hit on an interesting concept which has worked very well for them, crocodiles are animals that have a bizarre fascination for people, some like them, some don`t, but still they all want to see them anyway!!
     
  11. tetrapod

    tetrapod Well-Known Member

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    It is also interesting to see the recent opening of two small collections in Stockton and Rutland. Mostly easily available species in the private trade.
     
  12. banham.tiger

    banham.tiger Well-Known Member

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    I would like to run a zoo like marwell or banham. I would have a large collection of star animals such as giraffes , rhinos , lions etc but would like to have a good collection of small cats.

    I think it would be nice to see a big cat center in the UK that would be open to the public instead of being closed such as whf.

    Are there any zoos that people would be interested to take over? For me it would be marwell.
     
  13. stubeanz

    stubeanz Well-Known Member

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    I agree with everyone and think the most important thing a zoo needs to run well, gain visitors and therefore keep progressing is location.
    Location is key, needs to be near a large population or at least a large visiting population (eg holiday destination).

    I think Yorkshire wildlife park does so well as there are hardly any animal attractions in the vicinity, whereas if I was looking to start a zoo in the south east yes there is a large population but it also has a massive amount of competition from other animals attractions.

    The next point is money and zoos cost a lot to set up and run, is it better to start a zoo from scratch or buy a zoo or land with enclosures already built? Which would cost more?!
    Most zoos start from private collections which grow so large they need the publics money to help them grow further, I think this is perhaps the easiest method to open a zoo.
     
  14. Animal Friendly

    Animal Friendly Well-Known Member

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    There were a lot of new news opening in the post war era, also safari parks, some good some not so good some damn right disgusting. I have always and always will have the greatest respect for the likes of Mr. Durrell, Mr, Motteshead and Miss Badham and Miss Evans for having the guts to opening their own zoos despite all the odds and making them the zoos which we as enthusiasts have the pleasure of visiting today, likewise what has taken place at Doncaster in recent years, unfortunately I cannot say the same for a zoo that opened in Dalton In Furness twenty years ago, it has not cut the mustard as far as I am concerned. Would I like to open my own zoo?, some years ago yes, as the North East of England is very seriously in need of a good zoo, hopefully this matter will be addressed one day. Now the wrong side of fifty I am now quite content to look after my own domestic pet animals and as I hopefully approach semi retirement I would like to have more, move to bigger premises and go to a cattle market and buy some sheep, goats and pigs, save them from the chop and giving them a good life for the rest of there days,
     
  15. garyjp

    garyjp Well-Known Member

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    As I said personally a small to meduim size Zoo and a rough blueprint of PWP because as well as its location the Zoo does have to be financially viable - surely we want our new zoo to survive prosper and grow and ultimately be a legacy to still be open after we as individuals have gone.I think there is room for specialist zoo's but we have to be realistic that the majority of the public still would like to see Lions, Gorillas etc so I would try and have a balance
     
  16. tetrapod

    tetrapod Well-Known Member

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    I'm interested to know if you could expand on why Paradise WP fits the bill for your blueprint? Collection appears to be modest (nothing remarkable stands out) and overall size is smallish, and I know they have done well (financially) due to the location and probably the marketing, but other than that I know little about the place. Definitely not a criticism of PWP as I've never been.
     
  17. Jackwow

    Jackwow Well-Known Member

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    Why do people start these hypothetical threads? Everyone is dreaming and nobody is going to be starting a zoo.
     
  18. stubeanz

    stubeanz Well-Known Member

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    I started this thread to see if anybody had actually done so?

    I know we all wish to have a zoo but some of us work in the animal industry and the dream is slightly closer than perhaps it is for somebody who loves zoos but hasn't had practical experiance.

    I know we have people on the forum who have large private collections and also run sanctuarys etc, I assume we may also have some curators on this forum and these are the type of people who may one day actually succeed.
     
  19. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    I know of a few members who *do* own zoos!
     
  20. FBBird

    FBBird Well-Known Member

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    Beating the dream....

    It is self-evident that people do start zoos, otherwise where do all the zoos come from?
    Having said that, of course it's difficult to start one, and even harder to sustain it.