Running from 24-31 May, Love Your Zoo was first launched in 2011 by the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA). WLT has a long standing partnership with BIAZA and earlier in 2014, WLT and BIAZA launched BIAZA Buy an Acre, an initiative to raise funds to purchase and protect biodiverse habitat in Mexico’s Sierra Gorda.
Backing the Love Your Zoo campaign, Bill said: “Good zoos know it’s no longer acceptable to just say ‘here’s some animals... come along and wonder at them’. At the same time, they are raising funds for captive breeding programmes for endangered species and to protect them in the wild too. Let’s also not forget that zoos offer people what could be their first contact with animals. Go on... love your zoo!”
Zoos and conservation
To support Love Your Zoo week, Bill appears in a short film about his views on zoos, made at Beale Park. During the week he is going on a tour of zoos, where he will be holding a series of fun workshops to encourage youngsters to not only learn about the animals in the zoo but also how to get the most out of watching wildlife in their own back garden.
Bill’s tour is sponsored by Haith’s & Bill Oddie’s Bird Food, which also supports WLT. Haith’s take bird food very seriously and work with zoo nutritionists to improve bird diets. “There’s no doubt in my mind that ‘good zoos’ have an important part to play in wildlife conservation,” explains Simon King, Associate Director of Haith’s bird foods. “The zoos we work with are determined to safeguard their bird collections and provide safe bird diets, and we’ve recently embarked on an avian nutrition study with Edinburgh Zoo.”
Haith’s is a corporate supporter of BIAZA and has been working with Bill Oddie since 2001. “We joined together with Bill to support the Love Your Zoo campaign because wildlife is generally under threat in its natural habitat. It’s of course natural for youngsters to visit the zoo to enjoy watching the animals, but we want to get them thinking about the important role ‘good zoos’ play in wildlife conservation - and how beneficial they can be,” said Simon.
The Haith’s & Bill Oddie’s Bird Food ‘Love Your Zoo’ Tour will visit Shepreth Zoo (28 May), Newquay Zoo (29 May) and Hobbledown (30 May). You can follow the progress of the tour via twitter @billsbirdfood or via www.haiths.com and http://www.billoddiesbirdfood.co.uk/