Isle of Wight Zoo
Isle of Wight Zoo logo
|Location||Sandown, Isle of Wight, England|
|Major exhibits||Tigers, lemurs|
The Isle of Wight Zoo, previously known as the Sandown Zoo is a sanctuary inside a fort on the coastline of Sandown, Isle of Wight. The zoo is privately owned, and the collection focuses principally on big cats and Madagascan animals.
Originally known as Sandown Zoo, the zoo was established in the 1950s. By the 1970s it had fallen into disrepair, and was dubbed "The Slum Zoo of Britain" by the Sunday Times. However, in 1976 the zoo was taken over by a new owner, and over the following years it was rebuilt as a sanctuary for big cats and primates.
The zoo is currently home to seven tigers, four African lions and two jaguars. The most famous of the big cats is Zena, the zoo's only white tiger. A single male golden tiger, Diamond, also resides in the zoo.
In recent years, three Indian themed enclosures have opened featuring glass viewing panels, ponds, natural planting and themed statues and temples. These enclosures were designed and built with the assistance of Ecclestone George Public Artists.
The zoo also has a Madagascan theme, and the primate section reflects this by specialising in lemurs. It houses ring-tailed, black-and-white ruffed, red ruffed, black, white-fronted brown and mongoose lemurs, several of which have bred in recent years as part of European breeding programmes.
Zoo At Home Animal Cafe
Formerly the reptile house, Zoo At Home is a zone for pet animals. It was adapted with the assistance of Pets At Home. It is also currently home to the zoo's Madagascan giant jumping rats. As of September 2012 the area became the Animal Cafe, where visitors can eat as they watch the animals.
The zoo currently funds two conservation projects, both related to its areas of special interest.
The principal project is 'Local Advocacy for Tiger Conservation in Bhadra-Kudremukh Tiger Landscape'. This project us administered by charity Global Tiger Patrol, and funded wholly by the zoo. Over the year 2010/11 the zoo's contribution was £10800. In November 2011 this project won the BIAZA award for Best Conservation Project (Small Collection).
The second project focuses on Madagascar, and is administered by the Madagascar Fauna Group. As a sponsoring member, the Isle of Wight Zoo contributes $5000 annually. The zoo sponsors and agroforestry station aimed at teaching alternative farming methods to the destructive slash-and-burn techniques commonly used.
The zoo was the subject and main filming location for the ITV Meridian television programme entitled "Tiger Island". Two series were filmed, showing different aspects of zoo life including making enrichment toys and designing new enclosures. A film is in production giving a behind the scenes view of the zoo and will be ready in August 2013.
- "Ecclestone George Exhibit Construction". Retrieved 3 October 2012.
- "Tiger Conservation at the Isle of Wight Zoo". Isle of Wight Zoo. Retrieved 3 October 2012.
- "Conservation award for Isle of Wight Zoo". Isle of Wight County Press. 14 December 2011. Retrieved 3 October 2012.
- "MFG Institutional Members". Madagascar Fauna Group. Retrieved 3 October 2012.
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