Zoo's storm battering couldn't have happened at worse time

Joseph Bulmer

Paignton Zoo is still picking up the pieces from Storm Eunice which caused significant damage to a number of their trees and buildings and forced them to temporarily close.

This closure has been made all the more painful as it coincides with the first few days of half-term, a time when the charity typically expects to welcome an influx of visitors.

“While Newquay Zoo has escaped relatively unscathed with a three-day closure, Paignton Zoo has suffered with significant damage and our teams are working tirelessly to get our zoo back up and running,” said Clare Rugg, Head of Conservation Services.

“A number of trees have fallen, fences and signs have been damaged and roof panels have blown off our Tropical Trails building. This has led to one pigeon escaping but our keepers hope to recapture it soon. All other animals remain safe and well, some of which are in temporary housing.

“Unfortunately, even when the zoo re-opens our Nature Trail and Tropical Trails building will remain closed for some time, while we make the necessary repairs.”

Paignton Zoo remained closed on Tuesday 22 February but at time of press, they were hoping to re-open on Wednesday, 23 February.

“I’d like to thank all of our teams who have worked so hard to fix and repair our site and also thank our visitors and members for being so understanding during this time. Over the coming days, we ask everyone to please check either our website or social media for updates before traveling to visit us,” said Steve Nash, Head of Campaigns and Programmes.

Paignton Zoo is managed by the Wild Planet Trust a charity that also owns and maintains Primley Park. Like Paignton Zoo, Primley Park has also suffered some significant damage and remains closed due to hanging branches across pathways.

The charity has some exciting development plans for this year as they approach their centenary year in 2023 but the unexpected associated costs with the repairs are now their immediate focus.

“Any donations during these challenging times would be much appreciated and full details of how to make one can be found on our website www.paigntonzoo.org.uk,” said Steve Nash.