The Westmorland Gazette:

Written by zoo manager Jack Williams

When I heard the lemurs whooping last Saturday, I realised it was finally true: the zoo’s open!

It’s been strangely quiet during lockdown; amongst some animal calls echoing rather eerily, we noticed lots of them were actually making less noise than usual.

Sharp-sensed visitors can see how interested the animals are in us: heads cocked and ears erect with curiosity, following you and mirroring your movements, and of course, gossiping with each other about you.

So to hear our marmosets chattering, meerkats chittering and birds chirping again was truly uplifting. Like us keepers, it shows how much they’re enjoying visitors bringing the zoo to life again.

The Westmorland Gazette:

Yes, it’s different; our pre-booking system keeps visitor numbers lower and safer, with some areas including the lemur walkthrough path remaining closed for now.

COVID-19 can potentially pass between humans and primates, so we won’t risk these lively leapers touching you just yet, but you can still get good views up close.

But it’s all in a good cause, and I and all the keepers, (now happily back to work), thank our brilliant visitors for your understanding. You’ve followed one-way directions, kept safe distances, and been exemplary in washing your hands.

The Westmorland Gazette:

And thank you for lovely comments too; our safeguards don’t seem to have diminished anyone’s enjoyment, which was always our goal.

Indeed Sally, our safety salamander, is fast becoming a star with kids in her own right.

And it’s been brilliant unveiling some brand new exhibits. The new ‘Conservation Station’ ties together the reptile and amphibian area and as always we are hoping for some new arrivals very soon (everyone keep their fingers crossed)

The ‘upside down’ jellyfish are real showstoppers in our massive new marine tanks, too.

The Westmorland Gazette:

We’ll be learning and adapting as we go on, but every step together feels positive, and, as I can hear through my window, the animals are chorusing their approval.

Educational charity the Lakeland Wildlife Oasis is looking for volunteer rangers able to commit to one regular half-day a week to ensure visitors follow social distancing rules, monitor animals’ behaviour and wellbeing, and help educate visitors on our animals and their conservation.

If interested, please contact us via