Northumberland zoo which was ‘weeks away from closure’ getting set to reopen

Northumberland Country Zoo owners have breathed a huge sigh of relief that they will soon be allowed to reopen.

While zoos in England will be allowed to reopen from Monday, June 15, the Eshott venue, near Felton, is looking towards welcoming customers back in early July.

Maxine Bradley, curator at the family-run, not-for-profit business, said: “It’s very welcome news for the zoo community who are desperate to open their doors.

“Here at Northumberland Zoo we will be announcing an official opening date soon.

Wildlife at the Northumberland Country Zoo.

“It will likely be early July as we want to ensure our site is as safe as possible.

“We are currently awaiting guidelines from Defra regarding the specific measures that we need to be sure are in place before we allow visitors in the zoo.

“We want to ensure that when we do put measures in place that they are correct the first time so that we are using our money/time efficiently.”

A Canadian lynx.

“Obviously it’s been a really difficult time with being closed but we’ve had amazing public support, including over £40,000 in donations,” said Maxine.

However, the zoo was not eligible for a £14m government support scheme.

“Unfortunately to cut costs we had to make some staff redundant but we’ve still had keepers in to look after the animals.

“Now, the key is obviously getting people back in because we completely rely on visitor income but we need to take a careful measured approach.”

Arctic fox.

Initially, indoor spaces will be closed off to prevent congestion while the play area will be shut to reduce contact surfaces.

There are plans to introduce a one-way system throughout the zoo.

Entry will be by online ticket purchase only with dates and staggered timeslots available to ensure there are a capped number of people in everyday, throughout the day.

The keepers will also be endeavouring to ensure they don’t draw visitor attention and encouraging gatherings at feeding times.

A great grey owl.

There will also only be takeaway food.

The Northumberland Gazette is running our #supportlocal campaign calling on people to help their local businesses to get over the lockdown.

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you to also please purchase a copy of our newspaper.

Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.

A Scottish wildcat.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspaper.

Thank you.