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Newquay Zoo prepares World War II exhibit
World War Zoo items
These are just some of the items in the World War Zoo exhibition

Newquay Zoo is preparing to highlight the role zoos played in Britain during the Second World War.

The search is on to discover more about what life was really like in Britain's wartime zoos.

Newquay Zoo, didn't open until 1969, but is hosting the exhibit to show the importance zoo's played during the conflict.

The second World War Zoo event will take place between 1st and 3rd May.

At the exhibition people will be able to learn more about wartime zoos, including how the skills developed on the zookeepers' allotments can be repeated today by us in our own back gardens.

During the war zoos were used as a morale boosting tool as well as a place to educate people on the benefits of growing your own veg and raising livestock.

Visitors can also learn about the plight some zoo's faced as meat rationing was bought in. This posed a problem as many keepers had to change the dietary requirements of their residents.

A WWII Zoo Keeper

Penguins and other fish eaters suffered heavily as they had to make do with meats covered in cod liver oil as a substitute.

A further problem was a lack of trainee keepers as all young men were called up to serve in the armed forces. Luckily the older keepers and some of the Land Girls were on hand to help out.

For a while Peter Pollard found himself living in a caravan in the car park of Chessington Zoo at the age of nine in the summer of 1940. He shared his memoires with the Zoo for the exhibition.

Reflecting on the time Peter said: "It was wonderful for a small boy of nine. I had a complete run of the zoo, I helped in the circus, maintained a miniature railway, they had an enormous playground there, it was perfect, it was heaven."

Newquay Zoo is also appealing to anyone who has an unwanted Andersen bomb shelter in their back gardens. They would love to add it to their outdoor World War Zoo.

Also if you or your family had a connection to Britain's wartime zoos, they would like to hear from you.

You can contact Newquay Zoo by calling 01637 873 342 or by emailing: education@newquayzoo.org.uk

Wartime at the zoo
30 May 07 |  England



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