These Girls Are Self-Isolating The Best Way Possible: They Moved Into a ZooApr 1, 2020
Millions of people across the world right now are sharing the boredom that comes with self-isolating. Every day feels like “Groundhog Day.” Wake up, watch TV, take a walk, scroll through Facebook, watch a little more TV, eat something you shouldn’t, go to bed. Rinse, wash, repeat.
Four women in England have found a fun way to self-isolate that’s sure to keep them busy from sunrise to sunset. They’ve moved into a zoo.
Izzy, Emily, Sarah-Jane, and Layla are employees at Paradise Park in Broxbourne in Hertfordshire, England who volunteered to self-isolate at the zoo and take care of the animals during the pandemic.
This zoo has been temporarily closed for the first time in 46 years due to COVID-19.
The zoo is home to over 1,000 animals including red pandas, rare red squirrels, and Asian otters.
It’s best known for its colorful birds such as Humboldt’s penguins, Caribbean flamingos, red-billed Cornish choughs, golden and bald eagles.
The good news for the zookeepers is they won’t have to be housed with the wildlife. The zoo has a four-bedroom home complete with a kitchen and living room.
“So the reason we’ve all moved into the park is just in case, worst comes to the worst, and we’re the only four keepers in, hopefully, we can keep all the animals fed and watered,” one of the zookeepers told the BBC. “We’re all really enjoying it, but obviously we’re missing our families quite a lot, but it’s really nice having our work family all here together.”
The zookeepers’ ultimate goal is to keep the animal’s routines as close to normal as possible. They even pretend to be visitors at the penguin habitat, so the birds won’t suspect anything is wrong.
“About five days ago, we started thinking about what we could do,” Izzy told The Sun. “We were worried that if some of the keepers become ill themselves or can’t work because a family member is showing symptoms, then we needed a plan to make sure the animals are still cared for.”
“By removing ourselves from our families, we will hopefully be at less risk and continue working,” she continued.
The women could be staying at the zoo together for as long as three months until it reopens.
After getting used to living 24-7 in a place so removed from reality it may be hard for them to get back to the real world.
The park’s director, Alison Hale, hopes it will reopen as soon as possible. The spring months are an important time for the park. “The shop, cafe and indoor play areas are silent but the birds are full of the joys of spring and the keepers have their hands very full,” Hale told The Sun.
“The timing is terrible for wildlife parks, which rely on visitors to run, and would usually put on special events for Easter,” she added.
While the zoo isn’t bringing in any money, the animals still need to be fed. According to the zoo, it costs more than £1,500 ($1,860) a week just to purchase all of the food. So the park has reached out to the public via GoFundMe to help raise some funds to ensure “the high standard of care we pride ourselves on continues every day.”
The next few weeks (and maybe months) will be a bizarre time for everyone on the planet. When this passes, we’ll all have stories to share about how we spent days upon days stuck in the house. But these four women at Paradise Park may have the coolest stories because they got to spend the entire time having a blast at the zoo.