Zoo is 40 and forward-looking
Animals and humans tucked into a birthday cake with a difference at the weekend as they helped celebrate 40 years of a top tourist attraction.Dozens of visitors and a menagerie of creatures, including camels, llamas, owls, Suffolk Punch horses, and reindeer braved the wintry weather on Saturday to mark Banham Zoo's ruby anniversary alongside a 6ft high fruit and vegetable cake.
Animals and humans tucked into a birthday cake with a difference at the weekend as they helped celebrate 40 years of a top tourist attraction.
Dozens of visitors and a menagerie of creatures, including camels, llamas, owls, Suffolk Punch horses, and reindeer braved the wintry weather on Saturday to mark Banham Zoo's ruby anniversary alongside a 6ft high fruit and vegetable cake.
The south Norfolk venue, which opened as a two acre animal sanctuary on part of an apple orchard in 1968, has since grown to 35 acres with more than 1,000 mammal, primate, bird and reptile residents and 200,000 visitors a year.
The attraction received an early birthday present with the opening of a new £400,000 giraffe enclosure and the arrival of baby giraffe Ruby last week - the venue's 5,229th birth.
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Director Martin Goymour, who founded the zoo, said there had been huge changes since it began life as Banham Zoo and Monkey Sanctuary and it would continue to “constantly evolve” and plough profits into new animal enclosures in the future. New homes for its snow leopards and zebras are next on the zoo's development programme.
Mr Goymour, whose company also owns the Dinosaur Adventure Park near Lenwade and Africa Alive!, near Lowestoft, said it was a “privilege” to see Banham Zoo develop and fully support conservation in the wild.
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He said: “We have not saved the planet, but we have played our part.”
“When we started 40 years ago, there was no real concern about conservation, there were no rabies quarantine controls and you could go to a pet shop and buy the most exotic animals and we became a sanctuary for those animals that grew up and became dangerous or too difficult to keep.
“The biggest change has been in the knowledge and attitude towards animals and conservation. When we first started it was an independent and individual zoo, but we now work together with other zoos with the common purpose to improve care and wildlife conservation.”