Despite disappointment at being closed to the public over the Easter weekend, zookeepers at ZSL London Zoo have ensured the animals don’t miss out on the annual festive fun – by arranging egg hunts for the meerkats and squirrel monkeys.
Painting papier-mâché eggs in eye-catching colours, dedicated keepers - who have continued to work on site throughout lockdowns to care for the Zoo’s animals - hid tasty treats for meerkats Frank, Dracula, Archie, Penelope, Timon, Aurora and Meko to find amongst the sand and rocks in their home, before hanging Easter baskets for the zoo’s mischievous troop of Bolivian black-capped squirrel monkeys to eggsplore.
“After what has felt like a particularly long winter, Easter is finally approaching and the warm weather is making a comeback - making it the perfect time to put on an egg hunt for the animals to enjoy,” explained ZSL’s Animal Manager Angela Ryan.
“The squirrel monkeys were particularly keen on hunting for snacks inside their Easter baskets and, while there were plenty of treat-filled eggs to go round, that didn’t stop a few of the meerkats getting protective over their Easter hoard - something that may be familiar to other households this Sunday!”
Angela added: “It’s looking set to be the kind of spring weekend that our visitors would have loved to spend exploring London Zoo - but sadly our gates will remain closed for what will be our second Easter weekend spent in a national lockdown.
“We’re now looking forward to reopening on Monday 12 April - it’s been a difficult year, but welcoming people back through our doors is a step towards us getting back on our feet and we can't wait to share our 36-acre wildlife haven with visitors once again.”
Reliant on income from ticket sales to care for the animals and fund their global conservation efforts, months of enforced closures have put ZSL’s charity zoos under huge financial pressure. Vets and zookeepers have continued to provide the highest level of care for the animals, working throughout the lockdown. ZSL, the international conservation charity behind the two zoos, is calling on the public to help ensure they remain open by becoming a member, booking a flexi-ticket for a future visit, or donating to ZSL.