Isle of Wight Zoo reopening as Wildheart Animal Sanctuary

The new name reflects the focus on rescued and threatened wildlife and puts Isle of Wight at the frontline of the protection of endangered species

Wildheart Trust - tiger walking towards camera

The Wildheart Trust today announced that the Isle of Wight Zoo will reopen to the public on 12th April with a new name, a new brand and a renewed focus on protecting the world’s most endangered species.

The Isle of Wight Zoo is being renamed as the Wildheart Animal Sanctuary, reflecting its evolution from a traditional zoo to a rescue-first sanctuary for threatened wildlife.

Transition from zoological park to role of sanctuary
Over time, the Isle of Wight Zoo has transitioned its role from one of a traditional zoological park to the role of a sanctuary – a shared space for rescued animals to flourish in a caring environment and for humans to be inspired and learn from the natural world that surrounds them.

As a result, being called a ‘sanctuary’ is now more fitting for its activities on the Island and for the empowering experience that people have when they visit.

Corney: At the frontline of the protection of endangered animals
Charlotte Corney, Founder and Trustee of the Wildheart Trust, said,

“We are delighted to be sharing this significant moment in our history with our wide range of members, donors, visitors and the Isle of Wight community.

“Our approach is now ‘rescue-first’, caring for animals in desperate need of re-homing who have specific problems and challenges as a result of their time in captivity. By providing these special animals with a loving and safe forever home and telling their stories we hope to motivate our visitors to turn their concern for wildlife and the environment into confident action.

“Our role is now more critical than ever as we confront the realities of widespread animal exploitation and extinction. We want the Sanctuary, its community of supporters, and the Isle of Wight to be at the frontline of the protection of endangered animals and the move to treat all animals with compassion. If we are successful, then today’s generation of children will be amongst the last to need to see wild animals living outside of their natural environments.”

Shine a light on vulnerability of natural world
The announcement comes at a time when people are still deeply impacted by the global pandemic which has highlighted the imbalances in nature that threaten both animal and human life.

Wildheart Trust - monkey

The Wildheart Animal Sanctuary will shine a light on the vulnerability of the natural world while demonstrating solutions which really make a difference.

Bates: Opportunity to make transformative connections to nature
Lawrence Bates, Chief Operating Officer of the Wildheart Animal Sanctuary, added:

“The Sanctuary provides an immersive and stimulating day out and is a chance to see some of the most remarkable, yet threatened, animals on our planet, including our latest arrivals Daenerys, Nymeria and Tyrion, a family of Eurasian lynx who found themselves in dire straits and in desperate need of a new home.

“And yet our hope is that the Sanctuary offers much more than just a fleeting visit. It is an opportunity to make transformative connections to nature through meeting our wonderful animals in the flesh. Our role is to get people thinking, when they go home, about the meaningful changes they can make to their lives to help improve the well-being of animals and the health of our planet.”

News shared by Lawrence on behalf of Wildheart Trust. Ed

Thursday, 1st April, 2021 11:34am



Filed under: Isle of Wight News, Sandown

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7 Comments on "Isle of Wight Zoo reopening as Wildheart Animal Sanctuary"

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What is the difference between a zoo and a sanctuary? What to look out for: Both keep animals enclosed, but in a sanctuary, the animals have space to run about, their environment is more natural and stimulating. A tiger’s enclosure in a sanctuary would be 15 times larger than one in a zoo. The Isle of Wight Zoo used to keep tigers in barren concrete enclosures where… Read more »
I believe that zoos like the Isle of Wight Zoo are moving in the right direction by taking in animals rescued from the most appalling and degrading conditions, mostly from travelling circuses, which at last have been banned in this country, but are still operating in many other countries. For this I commend Wildheart. What I am questioning is whether they have gone far enough to call… Read more »
Benny C
Aside from programmes to combat the effects of man on species and habitats (e.g. extinction or maltreatment ) zoos are without doubt mostly money making prisons for their occupants. Only those with hundreds of acres of land provide anything close to a habitat and even then we expect African animals to endure much colder conditions than their systems are built for. We really should think harder about… Read more »
Mark L Francis
Zoos can be awful places – with concrete floors and animals shaking their heads back & forth, particularly if they are there for people’s entertainment rather than the animal’s benefit. However at a properly run place where animal welfare is paramount, this can mean the animals have better health and life expectancy than in the wild. When animals get injured in the wild they will often die… Read more »
Beware of the argument, much used by zoos for many years to justify their existence, that animals in captivity are better off than animals in the wild, if they are well cared for. Would you rather be kept in a comfortable prison, where all your needs were met, or have your freedom, where you wouldn’t suffer from intense boredom and loneliness, even if that meant a struggle… Read more »
…in a comfortable prison, where all your physical needs were met, but not your psychological wellbeing, your mental health. The pandemic has caused so many people to stay at home for long periods, whether shielding or self-isolating, or simply afraid to go out and have to mingle with strangers on city streets. And many have suffered from intense loneliness and boredom, resulting in mental health problems. This… Read more »
Angela Hewitt
Tamara, are you referring to British zoos or zoos around the world. It is my understanding that most British zoos are now renaming themselves as sanctuaries and attempting to improve standards. Others claim they are breeding the animals to maintain the gene pool. If the latter is the case then I believe it should be done in the country from which they came. At least the Isle… Read more »