Keepers read bedtime 'tails' from London Zoo during closure

Veronica Heldt with Gorilla by Anthony Browne at ZSL London Zoo

Veronica Heldt reads Gorilla by Anthony Browne at London Zoo on January 23. - Credit: Matt Worthington

From The Tiger Who Came to Tea, to The Snail and the Wale, keepers at London Zoo are reading animal adventures to stay in touch with younger visitors while they are closed.

Every Saturday and Sunday until February 21, keepers at the Whipsnade and Regent's Park zoos will read a different story book from one of the animal enclosures and post it on Facebook.

The virtual bedtime stories are a way to bring the zoo to youngsters unable to visit in person and keep them in touch with the animals during lockdown.

Tails from the Zoo includes Judith Kerr's classic in the company of Sumatran tigers Asim and Gaysha, Kes Gray and Jim Field's Oi Frog! read in The Reptile House, Tom Fletcher's There's A Dragon in Your Book under the watchful eye of Komodo Dragon Ganas, and Anthony Browne's Gorilla read from the Gorilla Kingdom.

Zookeeper Sam Aberdeen said: “We came up with the idea because lots of us have children who love to listen to our own tales from the zoo. It’s a tough time for the zoo – as it is for so many others – and this felt like a fun way to reach out to all the children we miss seeing here so much. We have loved doing it, and hope children will enjoy hearing their favourite stories and seeing the animals at the same time. And we hope it might spur people who can, to donate a little bit to help secure the zoos’ future.”

Sam Aberdeen reads The Snail and the Whale by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

Sam Aberdeen reads The Snail and the Whale by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler - Credit: Matt Worthington


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ZSL’s director of fundraising, James Wren, said: “With our gates currently closed to the public – but life going on behind the scenes caring for our animals, the zookeepers have found a great way to bring our Zoos to our youngest supporters – and hopefully give parents up and down the country a little break at bedtime.”

Zookeeper Nick Burnham reads What the Laybird Heard on Holiday by Julia Donaldson in front of Yoda the gibbon

Zookeeper Nick Burnham reads What the Laybird Heard on Holiday by Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks in front of Yoda the gibbon - Credit: ZSL

Tails from the Zoo are uploaded at 6.30pm every Saturday and Sunday on ZSL's Facebook pages. The conservation charity, which relies on entrance fees and fundraising to care for its 20,000 animals, is facing huge financial pressure due to closure. To donate go to https://donate.zsl.org/donations/

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