Plans are being drawn up to build a ‘solar farm’ in the shape of the famous Whipsnade chalk lion at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, to radically reduce the carbon footprint of the UK’s largest Zoo.
The conservation zoo plans to install a photo-voltaic solar panel array in the shape of the Whipsnade White Lion that would cover two acres of its 600-acre site and would produce 1MW of energy, providing a third of the electricity currently required to power the Zoo.
The ‘solar lion’ will be constructed at the opposite end of the Zoo to the Whipsnade White Lion, ‘bookending’ the huge Zoo with a second, enormous lion figure, and, although it will not be visible from the surrounding hills, will create a spectacle to be seen from the skies.
The ‘solar lion’ is part of ZSL Whipsnade Zoo’s mission to make itself net zero carbon by 2035. Other plans to achieve this include reducing emissions caused by electricity and fossil fuel use for heating by 50% by 2030, as well as engaging with the Zoo’s supply chain to reduce indirect emissions.
Owen Craft, ZSL Whipsnade Zoo’s Chief Operating Officer said: “We are really excited about our plans for a Solar Lion to join our Whipsnade White Lion on the beautiful Chiltern hills and even more excited about the difference she could make to the planet.
“As a global conservation charity, we know only too well the devastating effect climate change is having on the world’s wildlife, as well as on the survival of our own species. As we approach the United Nations climate change conference COP26 in Glasgow, we’re calling on world leaders to put nature at the heart of global decision making, and we’re committed to that ourselves.
“We must invest our time, energy and resources into reducing our carbon emissions to be as low as they can be, as quickly as we can, with innovations like the Solar Lion.
“I hope that our Whipsnade Solar Lion, when she is in place, will be a beacon of light reminding people that change is not only necessary, but possible.”
Find out more about ZSL’s sustainability plans