AS WE WRESTLE with the daily challenges of coronavirus, it is life as normal for the animals at Birdworld.
And life as normal therefore means feeding, cleaning, and caring, for more than 1,100 birds (180 species) and other animals, many of which are endangered in the wild and in some cases, even extinct.
While many of us are either furloughed, working from home or self-isolating, the animal husbandry team at Birdworld, as with many key workers, show up every morning for a relatively normal shift.
The only thing missing at the wildlife park, located on the A325 two miles south of Farnham, are the visitors, which makes for a pretty lonely environment.
Normally at this time of year, and particularly with the recent nice weather, Birdworld would be seeing up to 1,000 visitors every day and it is the income from these visitors which provide the food, veterinary needs, utilities and staffing to run the site.
Many visitors and supporters of the park have still been able to engage with the animals and staff via social media.
Regular posts on all the main social media platforms have provided insights into the daily goings on, with live Facebook events proving particularly popular.
Included within this interaction has been the opportunity for supporters to give financial aid towards the upkeep of the animals via a ‘Go Fund Me’ page.
The aim has been to raise an initial sum of £10,000 and although well on the way, more support from local businesses and individuals would certainly help to achieve the goal.
Birdworld curator Duncan Bolton said: “We have been amazed at the generosity shown to Birdworld during these difficult times and we would like to thank everyone for their fantastic support.”
Haskins Garden Centres acquired the park at the beginning of the year and has ensured that financial provisions are in place to support the business while it is closed to the public.
Julian Winfield, chief executive of Haskins Garden Centres, said: “We have implemented the Government’s recommended furloughing scheme at the park, retaining 17 key members of staff to provide the exceptional care that the animals require.
"The park is currently closed to the public, during what would have been the park’s peak season, and we are continuing to cover the monthly running costs that include the care, feeding and veterinary fees for the birds.
“We are dedicated to seeing this difficult time through to the best of our ability, prioritising animal care, but it is clear that the shutdown will have a financial impact on the business that will take years to recover from.”
Mr Bolton, curator, continued: “Being closed over the Easter break has already significantly impacted our income that goes towards the upkeep and feeding costs of our animals.
"There have been a number of reports in the media on the plight of zoos and so we are incredibly thankful to have the support of our parent company, Haskins, as it allow us to maintain the welfare of our animals during the current global health crisis.
“We have a loyal fan base at Birdworld and we can’t wait to re-open the park to our visitors when it is safe to do so, and we thank them for their support.”