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Where have all the zoo's animals gone?

PUBLISHED: 16:39 27 March 2008 | UPDATED: 14:53 07 September 2010

Golders Hill Park Zoo

Golders Hill Park Zoo

THE animals have disappeared two-by-two from Golders Hill Park Zoo this Easter, with 75 birds removed without warning by Hampstead Heath chiefs. Birds, including swans and ducks, were returned to the Norfolk sanctuary which donated them this

Katie Davies

THE animals have disappeared two-by-two from Golders Hill Park Zoo this Easter, with 75 birds removed without warning by Hampstead Heath chiefs.

Birds, including swans and ducks, were returned to the Norfolk sanctuary which donated them this month - ruffling the feathers of regular visitors.

There are no assurances they will be replaced and the enclosures at the North End Road zoo will be left empty until May, the City of London Corporation revealed this week.

The move comes just months after the zoo's Alpacas were returned to the same sanctuary earlier this year, never to be replaced.

"The company which loaned the birds to us wants them back," said a corporation spokeswoman.

"We hope to be fully stocked again by May. We have just signed up to an organisation which allows zoos to loan animals to each other so we have access to a long list of animals.

"We are looking at what's available and what we can keep. We don't know the specific animals we will be getting to replace them yet."

Many visitors have been left in a flap about the changes, which happened without warning.

They are worried that the latest migration, following in the footsteps of the alpacas, will mean a permanent reduction for the free zoo.

Nearby resident Nicholas Aleksander said: "All that they have put up is a little notice that the zoo is being refurbished - it doesn't say anything else.

"I have been going around the zoo since I was tiny and it is so sad to see the animals just disappear.

"They have given me and my family huge pleasure over the years and now it just looks very sad and empty.

"It's the only free zoo in London and the regulars are all quite sad about what's happening."

Other birds which have taken flight include the park's herons, doves, chickens and parrots.

Another neighbour, who did not want to be named, said: "I remember when they had more exotic birds like flamingos - it used to be a lovely space. I do hope they refill it.

"It's terribly sad that so much money is spent and there's nothing much to show for it."

The birds had been donated by Shorelands conservation centre, owned by animal breeder Ben Potterton. He has previously loaned more than 200 animals to the zoo, all of which have now been returned. He was unavailable for comment.

katie.davies@hamhigh.co.uk

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