Paradise Park

Zookeepers Self-Isolate At Wildlife Park For Four Months To Take Care Of Animals

Several zookeepers have forgone self-isolating in the comfort of their own homes in order to stay and look after the animals under their care, and their story has since gone viral.

Self-isolation has had a profound impact on everyone.

Unsplash | Sasha Freemind

As self-isolation measures continue to be enforced in order to try and help combat the spread of the coronavirus, the measures have been affecting everyone in one way or another.

For a lot of people, not being able to go out has simply lead to increasing boredom; however, for others, the pain of not being able to see their families has proven to be the biggest challenge of these necessary procedures.

However, there have also been animals left in need of assistance during these times.

Facebook | Paradise Park

Wildlife sanctuary Paradise Park, located in Hayle, Cornwall, UK, recently closed its doors to the general public in accordance with the procedures advised to combat the coronavirus pandemic. The park wrote on their Facebook page:

"We are very sorry to say that Paradise Park will be closed on Saturday 21st March until further notice due to the coronavirus situation. It was after closely monitoring the advice on coronavirus that we took this decision for the safety and well-being of our visitors, staff and animals."

However, this left the problem of who would be there to look after the animals if the zookeepers were self-isolating at home.

Although, Four staff members leaped to the rescue.

Facebook | Paradise Park

Yes, in order to look after the animals, four of Paradise Park's zookeepers decided to move into the zoo for the duration of the self-isolation measures.

Keepers Izzy, Emily, Layla, and Sarah-Jane, volunteered for the temporary move, and packed 12-weeks-worth of items, meaning they are prepared to be in it for the long haul!

For some keepers it was a tough but necessary decision to leave their families.

Facebook | Paradise Park

Despite it being a difficult choice to leave her family, keeper Izzy Saralis-Wheatly explained, "We're super busy all the time which is a good distraction".

"We've all been here for each other when it's got tough," Izzy added, also explained that the keepers have been able to keep in touch with their families via video chat.

"If the other zookeepers have to self-isolate, hopefully the four of us could keep it running as best as we could," Izzy also claimed in an interview with the BBC.

The decision to stay at the zoo also helps to protect the keeper's vulnerable family members.

Facebook | Paradise Park

Paradise Park's Director, Alison Hales, also explained that the decision to self-isolate at the zoo came from some of the zookeeper's fears that they would bring the virus home with them from work and endanger their vulnerable family members.

"All our keepers are really dedicated to the animals, but some also have vulnerable family members at home. When they heard the advice about self-isolating to combat the coronavirus, they had to make a decision about whether to stay away from work and isolate with their families.

"But then they suggested that they could come and stay in the house at Paradise Park to be there for the birds every day without risking the health of their families," Hales told Bored Panda.

The amount of work required to keep all of the animals fed and looked after is incredible.

Facebook | Paradise Park

Paradise Park is home to "over 1,000 birds plus mammals", according to its website. The four keepers who have moved into the sanctuary are aided as much as they can by some extra staff, who do their best to keep as far away from the four live-in keepers as possible.

"The other workers are coming in, but it's so tricky because it's a team job. We can't help each other out if we're falling behind, so you just have to work at your own pace," keeper Izzy told BBC.

People have been sharing their love and admiration for the keepers caring for the animals at this difficult time.

Facebook | Paradise Park

As the story has spread across the internet, many people have been heaping praise upon the tirelessly working staff... with a few people also expressing how they wish that they could be spending their time with all of the lovely animals at Paradise Parks:

"So pleased to hear that the animals are being well cared for and loved. Great job. I should think the animals are good therapy whilst you are isolating."

"What a wonderful way to self isolate with these beautiful animals can I help please".

"How wonderful of you, I heard on the radio yesterday that the petting animals in zoos are missing the children, they wait for come in, in the mornings, made me feel sad, well-done girls."

However, the park has been loosing money, and feed the plethora of animals isn't cheap.

Facebook | Paradise Park

"With it being Easter we are at our lowest point in terms of money and feeding animals costs ridiculous amounts. This is usually a really important time of year with lots of visitors," Izzy explained.

The park also shared this heartfelt appeal for donations on their Facebook page:

"It costs more than £1,500 a week just for the food for nearly 1,200 animals at Paradise Park.

"Our many visitors know that we strive to give the very best care to our animals and at the same time create amazing family memories. Every gift really will make a difference in helping to ensure the high standard of care we pride ourselves on continues every day. We fully understand that this is a difficult time but anything you can give to support Paradise Park through the shutdown would be really welcomed."

Hopefully, the park will get through this difficult time.

Facebook | Paradise Park

Keepers Izzy, Emily, Layla, and Sarah-Jane deserve all of our praise for their sterling effort to keep their beloved animals safe at this horrible time.

If you wish to donate to the park, you can do so on their Facebook page.

h/t: BBC