The Isle of Wight Zoo
An introduction to my Blog
By Charlotte Corney, Zoo Director
Welcome to the IOW Zoo’s blog page. We are a privately funded organization and are therefore totally reliant on visitors to enable us to care for the animals for whom we are directly responsible as well as financing our conservation projects further afield in India and Madagascar.
The zoo’s ethos is geared to connecting people to wildlife and, to that end, we do all we can to ensure our visitors’ experience is one of ‘feeling’ as much as looking and learning. Our inspirational team of animal carers and educators commit everyday of their working life to the increasingly urgent cause of building empathy and action for wildlife. Having myself been immersed in the weird and very wonderful world of zoo-life since I was a child I am grateful to be able to share with people, from all walks of life, our special animals each with their own individual story. Many of our big cats have been rescued from circuses or from private ownership while others are surplus breeding stock from other wildlife parks.
While we do not breed our big cats, as none are eligible to breed under formally managed programmes, we are actively breeding some of our lemur species in line with global recommendations.
The nucleus of the zoo’s involvement with endangered species lies with big cats and lemurs but, increasingly, we are blending a carefully chosen mix of other animals which are instrumental in helping us to tap into the hearts and minds of our visitors – these are animals which people can get that little bit closer to without risk of injury or worse!
In years gone by my family thought nothing of taking tigers out walking on the local beach or entertaining the visitors with venomous snake handling demonstrations but times have changed and zoos must now adhere to a strict set of regulations laid down by governing bodies so those days are over, although not forgotten!
Contemporary zoo life is heavily focussed on education, conservation and research with optimum animal welfare standards at the top of our agenda. The IOW Zoo team, some 25 staff members and volunteers, are vocationally committed to their roles. They take very seriously their work both with their animals and with the people who care to visit them.
I urge you to put a date in your diary to descend on our spectacular Island but for those of you outside of the visiting radar I will be blogging weekly with animal-centric updates of life at the zoo so you can sample some of the behind-the-scenes action with a just a move of your mouse. Enjoy!
Isle of Wight Zoo