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UK zoos & lockdown going forward...

Discussion in 'United Kingdom' started by TriUK, 8 May 2020.

  1. TriUK

    TriUK Well-Known Member

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    I've been thinking about how zoos & wildlife parks are going to move forward. I work in education, and though there are many differences in schools with reference to the challenges we will face when re-opening, some of the issues will be the same. If I was trying to manage my local zoo, Paignton, for example, I may consider pre-paid tickets only to be scanned by a member of staff outside the main entrance or behind a kiosk. It would be relatively easy to install a one way system at the zoo i.e everybody goes left towards the reptile tropics, and everybody exits via the Brookside aviary and out the 'side entrance' (used in the evenings when the shop is closed). Some of the indoor exhibits would be out of bounds and there would be some sections, such as dead ends (Owls, Takin and Cheetah) which would be closed off completely. Temporary painted lines on the floor would guide people through the 'route' with 2 metre distancing guides at popular spots. Volunteers and education staff could gently keep the flow moving - much like visiting a National Trust house. Prices could be reduced and members would have to book slots in advance to allow paying visitors entry. Jersey announced something similar this week. Each zoo will have its own issues and compromises, but discussion is important and I think if approached creatively and sensitively, with input from lots of agencies and stakeholders, we could be back visiting safely very soon whilst securing the futures of our much loved conservation institutions.
     
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  2. Andrew Swales

    Andrew Swales Well-Known Member

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    I hope you are right! All of this is being discussed, and much more....
    A couple of things I would ask about are -
    1 - why you feel prices should be reduced at a time when visitor numbers (and thus income) are likely to be down by 60-80%, staff requirements increased, and retail spend will be either eliminated or massively reduced? This will mean that many zoos will actually lose more money by being open under such restrictions, and would be better off to stay closed. The UK is very different to say, the Czech Republic for example - ie where all zoos are heavily subsided anyway... Government 'zoo funding' has already been reduced from the promised 100m down to 14m, I am sure that funding with not be available to compensate for losses when 're-opened'.
    2 - booked arrival slots, very narrow in Jersey's case of just half an hour, will surely lead to arguments and congestion at the entrances, when people arrive just outside their given slot.

    Two metre social distancing should be possible in most zoos, as it is in most supermarkets; but how do you enforce this in schools or on school busses, or other public transport. School visits and formal zoo education programmes, will not be able to re-start unless 2m social distancing can be achieved on the bus which brings the kids OR parents will have to bring them in their own cars, and driving is banned and results in a cumulative fine.... and the classrooms which we had to install to comply with the ZLA are indoors and wont be usable. No animal handling sessions, no keeper talks, no walk-throughs, no animal feeding, closed buildings, no play areas.... probably until the winter when zoos income drops again naturally.
     
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  3. J C

    J C Well-Known Member

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    Was thinking today perhaps going foward in the short term guided tours could work where a guide could monitor social distancing with in a group and provide information along the way about the exhibits ect to help offset the reduction in value of ticket prices to the guests from closed play areas, shops, restaurants ect on site. This would allow one group to move into an area of the zoo once the group in front has moved along in allotted time frame much like in golf where you would wait till the next tee is clear before moving to the next hole. This could also possibly allow one in one out systems to happen for indoor areas managed by the guides. For the zoo this could help maximise guest if they are limited by numbers at any one time after a two hour say tour that group is out and another in to keep them at the max they would be allowed. I know nothing is set yet on how we will begin to come out of this but I can see social distancing left to the public being hard to manage both from having a large influx of people arriving at popular times of the day and bigger attractions drawing large crowds with in the zoo elephants, big cats, apes ect and if they do the gov will close it down again not to mention bad press for the zoos in question. Where as guided groups could be both managed and organised, not wedding party size just say 20 people to allow for distancing with in the group every ten minutes or what every the zoo could cope with, just a though
     
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  4. J C

    J C Well-Known Member

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    By the way quedos to twycross for having the vision to have for seen social distancing coming last year and constructing there one way system fencing and all long before we knew about corona, to every one that could not understand the meaning of it all last year, well there you go visionary’s that’s what they are:)
     
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  5. Andrew Swales

    Andrew Swales Well-Known Member

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    In the UK, at a time when other countries are announcing plans for easing restrictions, and specifically opening zoos, it looks as though we are facing another 3 weeks of lock-down. The BBC has just reported this has already been announced for Wales. Shopping for things that will keep you at home is allowed now along with food, but all other driving is prohibited especially for leisure - so whilst it is logical that people are keen to get out and zoos could be the ideal places for them to go to exercise - largely outdoors, ability to restrict and ticket access etc - it is illegal for them to go. This is especially contradictory considering the Government has just announced that zoos we never required to close in the first place and could have been open all through, but with no visitors of course...
    Another kick in the teeth, after they announced the UK£100m 'zoo fund' in Parliament 2 weeks ago, this has now been slashed by £86m - and now stands at just £14m.
    It was speculated that the back-pedalling on emergency funding was perhaps because people would be allowed to go to the zoo again, so income could re-start, but it doesn't look like it. People are placing a lot of faith in an announcement due on Sunday, but given the Welsh announcement, it is hardly likely that England will be any different.
     
  6. polarbear

    polarbear Well-Known Member

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    We are behind Europe though time wise so the lifting of our restrictions will be behind them too.
     
  7. Andrew Swales

    Andrew Swales Well-Known Member

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    You cannot compare the UK to Europe. Restrictions, definition of lock-down, permitted meetings of people, travel restrictions, have all been quite different here - even the virus itself is appears to be different in the UK, as in Germany and Holland it can only travel less than 1.5m and in the UK it can travel up to 2m. It must have mutated somewhere over the English Channel..
     
  8. CGSwans

    CGSwans Well-Known Member

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    In the past week:
    Germany has had 6,511 cases and 774 deaths.
    France has had 8,733 cases and 1,636 deaths.
    Italy has had 9,757 cases and 1,965 deaths.
    Spain has had 17,138 cases and 1,475 deaths.
    The UK has had 33,910 cases and 3,731 deaths.

    Might have something to do with it.
     
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  9. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    It seems Wales will allow 'some' Garden Centres(or parts of them anyway) to reopen, so presumably England will also follow suit. But most Garden Centres are situated out of towns, often right out in the countryside- so will driving to them be legal?
     
  10. Maguari

    Maguari Never could get the hang of Thursdays. Premium Member

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    If previous versions of the lockdown rules are anything to go by, it will be ambiguous and never clarified...

    (sorry, cynical hat on this morning!)
     
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  11. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    That's what I hate about these 'rules'- all the grey areas!:rolleyes:
     
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  12. Dassie rat

    Dassie rat Well-Known Member

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    Ventura Wildlife Park is behind a garden centre.
     
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  13. Maguari

    Maguari Never could get the hang of Thursdays. Premium Member

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    Absolutely. The gap between the legally-enforceable restrictions and what ministers say the 'rules' are is what makes our lockdown so fuzzy around the edges. People need clarity for it to work so the two should match. The French 'form to leave the house' system seems draconian but at least is much less ambiguous! Here what ministers are saying is a request or an instruction but often not the same as the law - which leads to people pushing the edges, knowingly or not.
     
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  14. Gigit

    Gigit Well-Known Member

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    It's an idea, but as somebody whose natural instinct at zoos is to avoid the majority of other visitors, I find the thought of one-way guided tours of groups more of a punishment than a treat! I don't know what the answer is and obviously zoo visits are not going to be what we're all used to. I'm lucky in that I can walk to my local zoo and I am an annual pass-holder. This means, or rather meant, that I can regularly spend just a morning there seeing only what I want to see.
    My exercise walk this morning involved the local conservation area and the beach and without exception we and other walkers performed those elaborate avoiding manoeuvres we've all become used to. It's not always the case of course, but maybe we could be trusted to carry on when/if we can visit zoos again.
     
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  15. Brum

    Brum Well-Known Member

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    I'm convinced that I'm going to end up being ran over because I spend that much time walking in roads nowadays to avoid others that it's probably inevitable... :rolleyes::D
     
  16. Andrew Swales

    Andrew Swales Well-Known Member

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    Why would one way guided tours of groups of people who before arrival have been strangers from multiple origins, be safer than allowing them to walk around on their own and keep their distance. Surely the point is to avoid groups rather than make them?
     
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  17. Dassie rat

    Dassie rat Well-Known Member

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    Watch out for this car:
    brum youtube - Bing video
     
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  18. TriUK

    TriUK Well-Known Member

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    I just want our zoos to survive this and I don't think they are being talked about enough in the media or at governmental level.
     
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  19. Andrew Swales

    Andrew Swales Well-Known Member

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    .. AND, visits to garden centres are for leisure reasons, just as they are to a zoo. Their visitors may go home with a tray of pansies, some tropical fish, or a £195 ceramic guinea-fowl for their garden, instead of a cuddly white tiger and a guide-book - but it was still a leisure destination they had to drive to. There is no difference - apart from most of the garden centre being indoors in a closed space.. Perhaps if zoos replaced their soft-toys with bedding plants, that would turn their shops into garden centres? Even though they display exotic animals and so legally are 'zoos', some already call themselves 'farms' or 'zoofarms' and have farm shops as part of their sites...
     
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  20. amaroc

    amaroc Well-Known Member

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    Down here most garden centres have huge out door displays, indoors is quite a bit smaller.
    From what I have heard they will have to restrict numbers entering, well have to wait and see how many and how that will work.

    But can you honestly say that if numbers in a zoo were limited to say 50 or even 100 people at a time that would really help, would help ?
    Most people would want to spend 2/3 hours minimum probably a lot longer, doesn't allow for many entrants

    Can you really see people driving for miles to stand in a queue all day and possibly not be allowed in, would it benefit zoos to have to pay the extra staff for possibly a small return .