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Baby chicks held in the palm of a hand

Helping Hanwell Zoo during the lockdown

The coronavirus lockdown has closed all kinds of popular venues. In a bid to help it meet its running costs, one of the borough’s most cherished community projects has reached out to residents.

Nestled behind the Wharncliffe Viaduct lies Hanwell Zoo. It grew naturally out of the animal centre that stood there for decades before it and now offers visitors the chance to catch a glimpse of lemurs, porcupines and red-crowned cranes while strolling round the tranquil surroundings.

Alas, the zoo has of course been closed during lockdown and will have to remain closed until at least 4 July – and is losing vital income. With their contingency funds depleted and without the invaluable support from its visitors to fund its many conservation, education and community projects, Hanwell Zoo set up a crowdfunding appeal to help them through this difficult time.

It is testament to how popular the zoo is that it hit the target in double-quick time. Needless to say, the staff there have been absolutely overwhelmed by the support. They know that things are tough for everyone just now.

However, with the future uncertain and with more animal feed to buy, the Just Giving page is still open and if you can possibly donate any more to the cause, the staff (and the animals) would be grateful for further support.

As you can see in the picture above, chicks are still hatching and the other wildlife is still being cared for all day, every day.

Jim Gregory, the zoo’s manager, said: “We have been humbled by people’s generosity and support of our crowd funding campaign. The money raised has been essential in keeping the zoo running.”

He went on to say: “In these unusual times we have trying to keep the animals’ routine as close to normal as possible. The keepers have been coming in every day to look after them. Without our visitors and our fantastic group of volunteers, the quiet atmosphere in the zoo, at what is usually our busiest time, has been the biggest difference. During this difficult time our keepers have turned their hand to a variety of tasks -creating new spaces for our visitors when we reopen and, in the meantime, keeping them engaged online.”

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