Online tour of Chester Zoo shows off elephants, penguins and tigers

Chester Zoo broadcasts video tour of its animals after centre closed to public amid coronavirus lockdown

  • Chester Zoo shows off its elephants, tigers and sun bears via Facebook Live
  • Spring weather normally brings 8,000 daily visitors, but lockdown’s left it empty
  • Red pandas, penguins and sloths also appear during Friday’s virtual tour 
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

The glorious spring weather may have many of us wishing we could go for a nice day out.

But with the lockdown keeping most of Britain indoors, Chester Zoo has decided to bring the grand day out to our screens, offering a virtual tour of its animals, including penguins, elephants and tigers.  

The zoo conducted a tour of the ‘eerily quiet’ grounds using Facebook, featuring animals including red pandas, giraffes, sloths, 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, said: ‘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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