Chester Zoo conducts virtual tour of ‘eerily quiet’ grounds


Chester Zoo has broadcast a video tour of its animals after the centre closed to the public due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

The zoo conducted a tour of the “eerily quiet” grounds using Facebook, featuring animals including red pandas, giraffes, penguins, and butterflies.

Chester Zoo announced on Saturday March 21 that it would be temporarily closing following Government advice on social distancing, though its staff would still be coming in to care for the animals.

Announcing its tour on Facebook, the zoo wrote: “As you can’t come to the zoo right now, we’ll bring the zoo to you!”

Mike Jordan, animal and plant director at the zoo, told the PA news agency: “It’s eerily quiet because although everything is built with our animals in mind, it’s also built with visitors in mind.

“On a busy day we’ll have 15,000 people or more… Today’s a gorgeous spring day – it’s the sort of day when we would have had 7,000 to 8,000 people in the zoo and it would be a bustling place.

“It’s very unusual to be completely devoid of people but also we’re deliberately not really interacting among ourselves… it’s quite an isolating experience, what would normally be a very social experience in a zoo.”

Mr Jordan explained that the zoo is currently running on two-thirds to three-quarters of the normal amount of staff due to social distancing guidelines.

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