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Last Updated: Tuesday, 31 October 2006, 16:56 GMT
Wedding couple adopt 27 animals
Joannah and Damon Barnard
The Barnards have been given free membership of the zoo
A newly married couple ditched a traditional wedding gift list in favour of adopting 27 different zoo animals.

Damon and Joannah Barnard, from Warrington, Cheshire, swapped toasters and crockery in favour of tigers and chimpanzees at Chester Zoo.

They are surrogate "parents" to creatures including bats, zebras, penguins, pandas and sea lions thanks to wedding guests' adoption gifts.

Chester Zoo said it was the most unusual request they have ever had.

The couple, from Burtonwood, have been given a free year's membership to the zoo, which covers the length of their adoptions.

Mr Barnard, a solicitor, said: "Joannah and I have lived together for seven years so didn't need a traditional wedding list.

A giraffe is among the Barnards' list of adoptees
"We first came to the zoo last year and were very impressed with what we saw. We are both animal-lovers and thought supporting the animals would be a worthwhile thing to do.

"Joannah chose most of the animals and went for those that were cute and cuddly. She said absolutely no reptiles however I did manage to squeeze a tortoise on to the list."

Chester Zoo has about 500 species of animals. The Barnards' adoptees include bush dogs, bongos, spectacled bears, elephants, red river hogs, tapirs, rhino, marmots, spider monkeys, lemurs, coatis and orang-utans.

Martha McKinley, the zoo's adoptions coordinator, said: "This has to be the most unusual request we have ever had.

"Our 6,000 adopters help make a difference and by buying shares in our animals, they help us with our growing annual food bill."

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