Saturday, 7 July 2012

Happy Birthday DZP

It’s July 7th and we’re celebrating our Fifth Birthday so we thought it might be interesting to briefly reflect on how many ways DZP is just like a typical 5 year old...

We’re growing Fast - the output of our research department has recently more than quadrupled. We now conduct research projects at all academic levels across a broad range of subjects and we have fantastic relationships with a growing number of respected educational institutions. Our education department has also more than doubled its involvement with local schools and colleges offering an increasingly diverse range of tailor-made educational programmes including our award-winning Enterprise Challenge. And our collection has grown to include lechwe and waterbuck antelope, ostrich, Dartmoor ponies, white naped cranes, Bennett’s and Palma wallabies and not forgetting our most recent arrival, Luta the baby tapir. Developments are also underway to add zebra before the end of this year.

We’re resilient - Like any five year old we’ve seen our share of bumps and scrapes – perhaps more so than most. We’ve had to bounce back from some of the wettest summers on record, most of which damage more than just visitor numbers (even today the rain has reduced visitor numbers to a trickle of brave souls and wreaked several thousand pounds worth of damage). We've had catastrophic fresh water and electrical system failures and unexpected vital veterinary interventions that put major stress on available funds. And of course, like any other small business, we’ve been knocked around by the volatile economy, but we’re still on our feet.

We’re making new friends - Well we’ve been doing that since we started, but now we can say that we have a really strong group of reliable friends. A growing number of local companies have stepped up to provide much needed support over the years and we’re proud to number them among our friends. Also, we were recently confirmed as full members of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA). With full membership we are now a fully participating member of the wider zoological community.

We have big dreams - With a wish-list that includes a radically redesigned visitor access route, a nocturnal house and indoor kids play area, giraffe and elephant exhibits (but don’t tell the local authority), and a whole new research centre, our dreams are always big. But like any five year old we’re also expecting to continue to deal with the occasional nightmare.

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