Paw Prints Newsletter No. 2 December 1995

PP 2 P1 DEC 1995
Front page Meerkats,  Paw Prints Newsletter Newquay Zoo No. 2 December 1995 Page 1

Mike Thomas who ran the zoo from 1993-2003 wrote this Christmas Editorial on Page 1 and 2, about what we could achieve to rebuild and improve the zoo when “Our visitors became friends …”

As the original newsletters were produced in black and white, I have added some linked colour pictures of the subjects covered or the same zoo areas now in 2018.

Where the Paw Prints Front Page Meerkats once lived – The old Meerkat Mound on the old African Plains (1995) still exists, part now of our Philippine Deer exhibit (2018)

As Mike Thomas pointed out, “As you know we are called Animal World , but I tend to favour [the word] zoo – after all that’s what it is!” By my first Paw Prints issue as editor, issue 3 in Summer 1996, the name had changed back to Newquay Zoo.

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Living Together is Fun on the African Plains 1995  – see photo below of today – Paw Prints Newsletter Newquay Zoo No. 2 December 1995 Page 2
The old African Plains mixed species exhibit of Lechwe antelope, Zebra, Porcupine, Meerkat and Crowned Cranes (1995) is now home to Critically Endangered Philippine Spotted Deer and Visayan Warty Pigs (2018).

Chunky our last elderly Himalayan Black Bear was euthanased a year before due to ill health at Christmas 1994, leading to the original 1969 Bear Pit being redeveloped for new rare Sulawesi Macaque monkeys (“Black Apes”) throughout 1995 – see articles on page 8 and 9.

PP 2 P2 DEC 1995 Chunky

Keeper Mark Tomaszewski (“Cheski”) still works part time at the zoo, having joined the Council Run zoo in 1982/3, our longest continuous serving member of staff.

The Newquay Zoo Wildlife Rescue Hospital (closed c. 2003) was in full winter operation with rescued hedgehogs surfacing too early from or failing to fatten up for Hibernation. Claire Roper wrote about or contributed to three pieces on Hedgehogs on pages 3, 4 and 10.

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Paw Prints Newsletter Newquay Zoo No. 2 December 1995 Page 3
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Paw Prints Newsletter Newquay Zoo No. 2 December 1995 Page 4
PP 2 P5 DEC 1995 Halloween
First mention of a Zoo Halloween 1995 – although there may have been one in 1994, this was early days for this very popular Halloween dressing up event / tour which at the time, very few venues offered locally.

1990 was International Year of the Rainforest, so rainforest conservation was (and remains) an important and popular topic for school visits. My predecessor Jane Angwin organised a school workshop visit to Newquay Zoo over three days in 1995 by  the Green Light Trust. The Green Light Trust is still going strong, working on many UK forest and overseas conservation and education projects.

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Paw Prints Newsletter Newquay Zoo No. 2 December 1995 Page 5
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Paw Prints Newsletter Newquay Zoo No. 2 December 1995 Page 6

Overheard in the shop at the end of the day in 1995 as Penguin Feeding time was announced:

“Doris, do you want to see the penguins being fed?”

“No Ethel, it’s only fish!”

PP 2 P6 DEC 1995 Courtney
The much missed Courtney Eustice, My ‘Ansum!  This pose would make a fine sculpture of the “unknown zoo maintenance man at rest” …

Courtney Eustice was a truly dreckly Cornish zoo character, sadly missed, who is worthy of a whole blog post of his own sometime soon. No hurry, my lovers!

His funeral was a sad day for the Zoo and he is buried in St Keverne Churchyard on the Lizard,  in case you are ever passing. This little plaque at Newquay  Zoo is now relocated, down by the Dragon Maze.

Courtney’s memorial plaque, now moved down to the Dragon Maze area, 2018
Courtney’s Corner, August 2018 – relocated plaques and Reece Ingram carved fern fronds from the past Sensory Sculpture project, now down near the Dragon Maze entrance.

RAF Photograph March 2000 adoption Macaque Pete Trebilcock John Macknelly

Page 7 features a  typically busy and varied day in the working life of Head Keeper and Site Operations Manager Peter Trebilcock, who worked as a keeper from 1977 to about late 2000.

RAF Rock Apes No 1 Squadron 2000 PT Jmac
A very serious looking Peter Trebilcock (centre) with Newquay Mayor Jon Weller and John Macknelly, Marketing Manager (sunglasses), on the occasion of ‘ Hemlock’ Sulawesi Macaque (“Black Ape”) adoption by No 1 RAF Regiment, “The Rock Apes” Newquay Zoo,  March 2000. Newquay Zoo Archive local press cuttings

Much of what I learnt about working with visitors from Pete Trebilcock is embodied in this “typical day” article. Note the 9.30 a.m. opening in 1995 – a bit early? 

PP 2 P7 DEC 1995
Paw Prints Newsletter Newquay Zoo No. 2 December 1995 Page 7


Curator Jon Blount redesigned the Bear Pit into the Black Macaque enclosure in 1995. He wrote this two page article on its progress, just as some of the new female macaques  on breeding loan were due to arrive from Jersey Zoo.

Jon wrote this Black Macaque article partly to counter the many criticisms of old-fashioned zoos that were around at the time. Only three years previously, c. 1992, even London Zoo had been facing down demands for closure, events filmed at the time by a fly-on-the-wall documentary team.

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Paw Prints Newsletter Newquay Zoo No. 2 December 1995 Page 8
PP 2 P9 DEC 1995
News of future research and eagerly looking forward to macaque babies in 1996: Paw Prints Newsletter Newquay Zoo No. 2 December 1995 Page 9

This macaque breeding programme is still going well (2018) and benefits from an in-situ overseas conservation education and research programme for these now Critically Endangered monkeys from Sulawesi in Indonesia.

Claire Roper, senior keeper in charge of the Wildlife Hospital is pictured here in colour from our 1996 Guidebook working with our then Zoo Vet Mike King.

wildlfe hosp Claire Roper Mike King vet 1996
Senior Keeper Claire Roper and Mike King the Zoo Vet, Newquay Zoo Guidebook, 1996
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Paw Prints Newsletter Newquay Zoo No. 2 December 1995 Page 10

We kept some newsletter pages blank until the last moment, ready for special stop press news for our adopters and members to read about new births, etc. such as our recently arrived Asian Otters and Cotton-topped Tamarins. This Christmas baby was probably an unusually pale grey baby Asian otter called Cinnamon – will have to check the roecrds on this.

PP 2 P11 DEC 1995
Stop Press – Births page – Paw Prints Newsletter Newquay Zoo No. 2 December 1995 Page 11
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Paw Prints Newsletter Newquay Zoo No. 2 December 1995 Page 12

The forerunner of the Amazon Wishlist for Newquay Zoo, page 12 is an appeal for spare equipment to carry on our conservation, rescue and incubation work.

I hope you enjoyed this glimpse of Newquay Zoo in 1995 and how, whilst many things change, it continues to do important conservation and education work in 2018 with your help.

Shared as part of NZ50

Blog posted by Mark Norris, Newquay Zoo Archive, Newquay Zoo, August 2018.


Paw Prints Newsletter No 1 August 1995

PP 1 P1 AUG 95
Paw Prints No. 1, August 1995: Original front cover made from headed paper, Letraset titles and Newquay Animal logo added top left. Black and White (Newquay Zoo Archive).

Many people have said to me “I don’t like Zoos …”

being the opening words by Mike Thomas of the first Paw Prints newsletter from Newquay Zoo, August 1995.

Paw Prints newsletter ran for almost ten years before merging with Paignton Zoo News  c. 2004 and all this is now replaced by websites, social media and blogs, things unimaginable then. By 1996 we had a zoo website of sorts.

The Noah’s Ark theme of this first Editorial by Mike Thomas in the first edition of Paw Prints (August 1995) was one that he was to return to over the next ten years and was celebrated in our Ark ticket entrance, new c. 1994/5,  rebuilt since but it still doggedly retains the Ark name today.

ark gates mural 1997
Ark entrance and gate murals c. 1996

Zoos were heavily criticised in the late 1980s and early 1990s by some people on animal welfare grounds. Some zoos closed, others like Newquay Zoo struggled to survive financially and improve its enclosures.

The first Paw Prints Newsletter came at a point of much rebuilding on a very tight budget. Hence Mike Thomas  and Jon Blount spend much time in their first editorial and articles setting out a vision of what small zoos like Newquay could become, with the support of visitors, working with many other good modern zoos around the world.

Looking at the logo used on the front page, we were proudly Newquay Animal World – subtitled Wildlife Rescue and Conservation.  These two themes make up much of this first edition in August 1995. The first edition  was probably  written by a combination of Jane Angwin, Jon Blount and Mike Thomas. The ‘Animal World’ name would change by the time I first edited Paw Prints issue 3 for ‘Newquay Zoo’ in Summer 1996.

These early Paw Prints editions are quite simply made, cobbled together using a very basic PC word processor in the Zoo Curator’s office (the only computer in the zoo in 1995/6),  a black and white photocopier, Letraset lettering transfers, black and white photographs, line drawings, ink pens, scissors, glue and sweat.

They were usually  photocopied by the friendly folks at Quintdown Press in Newquay for sale in the zoo shop or sending to members, adopters and local schools, all to promote the zoo. We were encouraged as staff to take them home and leave a few  around in waiting rooms whenever we had a doctor or dentist appointment.

PP1 Black Ape enclosure photo 1995 600dpi
Close up of photo of Bear Pit becoming the Macaque enclosure. Paw Prints 1st Edition Aug 1995

As there is  no  colour in these Paw Prints , I have added some relevant colour photos from our Archive or of the scenes today. Here is the 2018 scene of the 1995 enclosures and animals shown on page 2:

The same Sulawesi  Macaque enclosure today 2018 with those distinctively shaped rocks.
Now 2018: Where swans and wildfowl waddled, this is our front lawn and café entrance area.
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Page 3 Hedgehog Hospital  info with the Hedgehog parade pic borrowed from our 1994/5 poster
NZ A4 Animal World poster c 19945
Newquay Animal World 1994/5 era A4 size poster – spot the hedgehog parade.

Advertising posters may have been colour in 1994/5 but it was far too expensive an option for the Paw Prints Newquay Zoo newsletter. This remained mostly black and white until August 2003 when we switched to a colour front cover. Shortly after c. 2004 we merged the Paignton and Newquay Zoo and Living Coasts newsletters to provide a full colour A4 newsletter, covering news from each zoo.

PP 1 P4 AUG 95
Senior keeper Claire Roper interviewed about the Newquay Animal World / Zoo Wildlife Hospital by 1995 Education Officer Jane Angwin. Mike King the 1995 zoo vet is mentioned.

Hedgehog Rescue and our Wildlife Hospital 1994 – 2004

These pages all bring back many rich and smelly memories for me as I spent many happy hours helping out  in our Newquay Zoo  Wildlife Hospital in the quieter times of the year in between education sessions,  from about 1996 onwards. Working with native wild animals in Britain as well as ‘at risk’ species overseas were both important to the Newquay Zoo of 1995.

Mark Norris hedgehog hospital duty 1996
Mark Norris working in our Wildlife Rescue Hospital at Newquay Zoo, c. 1996. Not a uniform day obviously! (Newquay Zoo Archive)


Hopefully the prickly descendants of rescued hedgehogs Spike, Oily, Bumble and Bill are still enjoying a wild life in Cornwall. Some of the more injured rescued hedgehogs were released into the zoo grounds and hedgehogs were certainly still around when I was working late evening  several years ago.

PP 1 P5 AUG 95
page 5 A few rescued Hedgehog success stories  and a warning about invasive flatworms!

Apologies for the copy or scan quality of the next three pages. We don’t have the original pages of the next three page article on “The Modern Zoo “ by Zoo Curator Jon Blount, as they were probably kept and heavily photocopied to help answer student and visitor enquiries about the role of a “Modern Zoo”.

Best job I ever had“, he recently mentioned when I contacted Jon about our 50th anniversary in May 2019. 

Jon Blount, then recently  graduated, was our Newquay Zoo Curator from 1994 to 1997 before returning to college to do research.  Today  (2018)  Jon is a Professor  of Animal EcoPhysiology and Director of Postgraduate Research at the University of Exeter (based not very far away at the Penryn / Tremough Campus).

I wonder what Jon would makes of his 1995 article today, comparing his Zoo Curator job as it would have been in Victorian times or the early 1900s to that he enjoyed ‘today’ in the 1990s ? He’s a busy man but hopefully he’ll have time at some point to reread it and comment, and we shall include this here if possible.

What do we learn about developments in the 1995 era zoo from this article? 

New 1994/5  arrivals that Jon mentioned include  the Asian Short Clawed Otters, a species we still hold and breed today in 2018. Kafue Flats Lechwe antelope and Damara Zebra “Etosha” are no longer with us. They lived on the original ‘new’ mixed species African Plains (where the rare Philippine Deer now live), but since 2009 we  have  an expanded African Savanna section with Chapman’s Zebra, Black Wildebeest and Nyala antelope. The last elderly female Lechwe moved in with this mixed herd in 2009. The Meerkats now live at top end of the zoo.

Jon mentions the arrival of some escapologist Banded Mongoose (housed where Tippys Café now stands),  two  Sooty Mangabeys (oddly behaved ex-pets “Misha” and “Ramrod”), free range Cotton-topped Tamarins (pictured) released from the Tropical House in 1996 into the trees near the Maze.   We still have Crowned Cranes on our main lake edges.

PP 1 P6AUG 95
Page 6, 1st Edition Paw Prints, Newquay Zoo, August 1995

Conservation, Education, Research and Recreation – still pretty much the role of a good ‘Modern Zoo’ in 2018. 

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Page 7 1st Edition Paw Prints, Newquay Zoo, August 1995
PP 1 P8 AUG 95
Final / Back page 8, 1st Edition Paw Prints, Newquay Zoo, August 1995

By 1994 5 we had joined and been mentored into membership of the Federation of Zoological Gardens of Great Britain and Ireland with its zebra head logo, now known as BIAZA or the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums

We also joined EAZA, the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria, around the same time, widening the range of breeding programmes, studbooks and loans we could be involved in

We remain highly active members of both BIAZA and EAZA and so are involved in today’s version of co-operative breeding programmes for increasingly rare animals, zoo research and working on overseas conservation projects in country.

PP1 Black Ape enclosure photo 1995 600dpi

Jon Blount also mentions the creation of the Sulawesi Crested Macaque monkey group with animals on “breeding loan” from London, Marwell and Jersey Zoo. This species are still doing well here as part of that cooperative breeding programme but are now Critically Endangered on their home island of Sulawesi. One of the early youngsters born to our first Alpha Male Hemlock, a 1998 baby known as Chekeeto  still heads our group in 2018.

A new Puma enclosure design competition is mentioned in 1995 for two rescued Pumas from a zoo which closed at Haigh in Wigan.  This Puma enclosure in 2018 now houses Carpathian Lynx and their recent twin kittens.

Michelle Redmore penguin 19967
Newquay Zoo Keeper Michelle Redmore feeding a hand-reared Humboldt Penguin c. 1996 (photo by Paul Armiger , c/o Newquay Zoo Archive collection)

Research 1995 and 2018 

Research projects mentioned at the time include hand rearing Penguins, along with studying enclosure design and dietary effects on the behaviour of nocturnal Kinkajou and Sooty Mangabey monkeys. Botth these last two species  we no longer work with. However similar nutrition, behaviour and enrichment research by students still continues today supervised by a full-time Research Officer, Dr. Kathy Baker.

Cheski lemur
Mark Tomaszewski “Cheski” and female Black Lemur (only males are pure black).  Archive photograph from Mike Thomas’ memoir. Strange Things Happened on My Way To The Zoo.

The Black Lemur Forest Project education and conservation project in Madagascar mentioned in our 1995 newsletter 1995 was a forerunner of the many overseas conservation and education projects that we are still involved in as the three zoos of the Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust.

Black Lemur Forest Project tshirt design 1990
Black Lemur Forest Project fundraising t shirt,  many were sold in our zoo shop from 1994 onwards for several years; this tatty example is  still in our Newquay Zoo archive.

Ring-tailed lemurs have now occupied and bred on the ‘Black Lemur island’ for over fifteen years, as the last of our Black Lemur group moved off on breeding loan elsewhere.

lemur island nd
Ring-tailed lemurs on the Lemur Island, c. 2003? Photo by volunteer Connie Slaney.

That was our first edition of Paw Prints, Newquay Zoo, August 1995 revisited and updated looking back from 2018. I hope you enjoyed reading it again or afresh.

Look out for the second edition Christmas / December 1995 to be featured soon.

Blog posted by Mark Norris, Newquay Zoo Archive as part of our NZ50 50th Anniversary preparations,









Then and Now: Connie’s photographs of Newquay Zoo late 1990s


Encounter Lawn Wendy W nd
Then: Coatimundis on the Animal Encounter Lawn c. 2000 – 2003 with Newquay Zoo keeper Wendy Winstanley (and left possibly Keeper Emma Nowak?

Connie, one of our longest serving volunteers, recently dropped in a handful of ‘snappy snaps’ as part of our NZ50 Anniversary request for photographs of the changing zoo over the last 50 years.

Her extended family having worked in various staff roles at Newquay Zoo, Connie basically grew up here!

Now 2018: the same Encounter Lawn, early morning before visitors arrive. Animal Encounters are still held here but the coatis are now sadly gone.
Now 2018: The Encounter Lawn now also houses a Bug and  Bee Hotel for 2018 “Nearby Nature”. The Giant Stone Rabbit from the Old 1980s Rabbit Warren (now Red Pandas) still lurks in the bushes.

These are pre-digital camera snaps, old school camera film and prints. Like many of my snappy snaps, they are occasionally a bit blurry, but nonetheless valuable for the glimpses that they give of Newquay Zoo in its 30th-something years (built 1969), when it was privately run by Mike Thomas and team (1993-2003).

That was Then, This is Now!

On a bright sunny morning in July 2018 before visitors arrived, I walked around Newquay Zoo trying to locate and photograph the scenes that Connie had photographed. This was not so easy in some areas, especially with two more decades of jungly exotic plant growth.

Connie’s photos (featured here) start from around  1999 / 2000  and up until the Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust took over in August 2003, when Mike Thomas retired.

iguana tropical house nd
Then: When Iguanas roamed the Tropical House at Newquay Zoo … this may be Dino, that rare Green iguana – a friendly one!
Now 2018: No Green Iguanas left in our Tropical House but lots of jungle and tropical plants for our current rainforest animals.
Our 1987 Tropical House is shown in its original simple light green wall background, looking through big windows into the Village Farm area. 
sloth tropical house 2003
Roxy Peru the Hoffmann’s Sloth or her mum c 2000-2003 in the Tropical House, before the lovely Indiana Jones style Temple walls and Jungle Ruins rebuild.
Then 2018: the same scene! Sloths still live here, but it’s much much more jungly!

Lake islands have long provided safe homes for many of our primates such as Lemurs and Tamarins.

lemur island nd
Then: Connie’s photo shows Ring-Tailed Lemurs on what was once the Black Lemur Island and its old ‘shed’ house. Rear wire enclosures housed the occasional Tamarin (if out of its group for any reason). 1999-2003 era.
Now 2018: Ring Tailed Lemurs still live on this island. Beyond the back fence is now our much larger African Savanna (2009 onwards).
RT lemur island 082003
Then 1999? 2003? Connie’s photo shows Ring Tailed Lemurs on the old Marmoset / old Bamboo Lemur island.
Now 2018: What was once temporarily Ring Tailed Lemurs is now a Tamarin house and Island. It has got bigger, the bamboo platforms have been replaced by smaller linked islands  and there is  much more planting and cover for foraging.
male lion late 1990s
Then: Connie’s photograph shows Meat in the scratchpost tree for one of our series of ageing retired ex-Longleat male lions – not dated but late 1990s, early 2000s.  This could be Major? Ronnie? Charlie?
Now 2018: The Lion House is now home to three young African Lions, non-breeding male  Boss and his sisters Amahle and Semira, all from Longleat. Photograph taken during the July 2018 heatwave, the ground is dry and the lack of rain is beginning to show.

Sometimes it was harder to work out where Connie’s  photograph was taken from, such as in the Oriental Garden. The steep stone steps and stonework of the original Japanese Water Garden can be glimpsed in the background of her photograph. These have now gone and the whole area is more accessible.

old asian otter area and stream 2003
Before we opened up whole of  the Oriental garden stream to our Asian Otters, Connie’s photograph shows what  was once part of their land area. 1999-2003?
Then 2018: a little more tricky to find the right angle and exact spot but this is roughly the same view, with the whole of the Oriental Garden stream opened up to the Otters (glimpsed right). The old steep stone steps form part of the newer otter enclosure stream walls.
Then 2018: the view from over the other side of the stream, looking back towards where Connie’s photograph was taken from, Oriental Garden 2018.
penguin pool burrows short feeding rock
Connie’s picture shows Humboldt Penguins in our current Penguin Pool (the old Sealion Pool) before the big feeding rock was built out into  the middle of the Penguin Pool. 1999-2003
Now 2018: the same scene with the much larger feeding rock out into the Penguin Pool.
tapir paddock cranes nd
Cranes feeding on the grassland area of the Tapir and Capybara enclosure.
tapir paddock nd
Two (or two and a half?) slightly blurry Brazilian Tapirs. One may well be the original Tippy who arrived in 1996 and gave his  name to our original small café nearby.
Now 2018: Good forest shade around a rebuilt Tapir pool and Tamarin Island off to the right.
Now 2018: part of the Tapir and Capybara Paddock
Now 2018: Jungly! The same shady scene looking back to the Tapir and Capybara Paddock and Houses.
wallaby house by red pandas bugs tunnel nd
Then: This had me stumped!  Connie’s photograph (1999-2003) shows Bennett’s free ranging Wallaby in the area where Red Pandas now live. the carved wooden fence was where Prairie Dogs once dug (now home to Cusimanse mongoose).
Now 2018: The Wallabies have gone. This stone walled section is the viewing area for Cusimase mongoose, digging where Prairie Dogs once dug (out into the Red panda enclosure, but that’s another story). The entrance to Toad Hall (amphibians) is on the right and I am almost standing in the Native Amphibians Pond.

The free-ranging Wallabies and Patagonian Cavy or Mara were very popular with visitors, much less so with our zoo gardeners. Now these roaming herbivores  have moved on, the exotic planting has survived much better and Newquay Zoo is much more jungly. Funny coincidence that.

Now 2018: A few steps further back from my previous photograph, looking for where Connie’s  Wallaby photograph was taken leads to a jungly wall of bamboo! Happy Red Panda(s) though …

Connie’s final photograph shows the Newquay Carnival in 1999.

nqy carnival zoo 99
Newquay Carnival 1999 – the zoo van K292 NCV was our balloon clad float that year and lots of staff were dressed or facepainted as animals – centre kneeling, Connie the photographer, now one of our long-serving volunteers.
nqy carnival zoo staff crop 99
Identified members of staff 1999 – left in blue, Mary Slaney, Connie Slaney as a tiger (and owner of these  photographs), Jo Topham the Lion, whilst amongst the Keeper and Penguin Club crowd, a glimpse of Lucy Bennetts? I’m in there somewhere amongst the sunshine; Jo Topham and I are still working at the Zoo in 2018.
nqy carnival zoo 99 van crop
Newquay Carnival 1999 – the Daihatsu zoo van (“Rescue 2”) decorated as our float, a gorilla driver  and lots of zoo staff and volunteers dressed as animals. Fun times!

The Newquay Carnival still takes place in late June / early July. Sometimes we head up from Newquay Zoo to join the parade during a busy summer and sometimes not.

Compare our 1999 Zoo Van with its 1970s and 1980s Carnival equivalent here:

More interesting Then and Now pictures to come in our next Blogposts.

Thanks again, Connie, for letting us share these snaps.


Jog any memories? Let us know any positive happy thoughts and memories via the comments section.

We would love to hear from you if you have any interesting “Then” photos of Newquay Zoo that you would like to share with us and our other blog readers.

Newquay Zoo is 50 years old on May 26th 1969 – look out for more news on how we will celebrate this big NZ50 birthday.

Blog posted by Mark Norris, Newquay Zoo Archive, Newquay Zoo, July /August  2018.



Building the Monkey Walk c. 1985

The Newquay Zoo Monkey Walk enclosures – Then and Now.

Incub Room Monkey Walk via Richard Pete Trebilcock
Photographs from the collection of Peter Trebilcock Newquay Zoo Keeper and Ops Manager 1970s – c.2000


The Incubation Room (Keepers Office) and Monkey Walk, same scene 30+ years later in 2018.


As part of our ongoing public appeal for photos of the changing and developing Newquay Zoo ahead of our 50th Anniversary in May 2019,  it was great to receive a little packet of photos from Peter Trebilcock. Peter was a  Newquay Zoo Keeper from the late 1970s and later, by the time I knew him, he was  Site and  Operations Manager  up to about the year 2000.

Somewhere I have a photograph of Peter Trebilcock in keeper action to post here.

They were passed to Peter by a mysterious someone called ‘Richard’, dropped in to be scanned and were returned to Peter the same day! Thanks both!

Obviously taken in Winter as building staff are well wrapped up and there are no leaves on the trees.

Crop 1 Monkey Walk via Richard Pete Trebilcock 2
Constructing the one of the three inside house sections


The middle one of the Monkey Walk inside houses – 2018 


Crop 2 interior Monkey Walk via Richard Pete Trebilcock 2
Inside the Monkey Walk inside house, looking out onto the white Trellis posts that still  form part of the Wildlife at Night house.


Surviving white Monkey Walk hard wood posts along the Nocturnal House area (2018).  


crop interior 3 Monkey Walk via Richard Pete Trebilcock 2
Monkey’s eye view, inside looking out: Branching inside the Monkey Walk outside enclosures, looking on to the public viewing areas.


Crop 7 interior Monkey Walk via Richard Pete Trebilcock
Inside area of the Monkey Walk being built in winter. Coats on!


Crop 10 interior popholes Monkey Walk via Richard Pete Trebilcock 3
Another Monkey’s eye view inside the animal houses showing popholes for  slider door animal access.


Crop 4 digger Monkey Walk via Richard Pete Trebilcock 2
Building the  indoors section of a Monkey Walk  animal house.


Monkey Walk 30+ years later with the external enclosure area mesh in place. 


crop 5 Monkey Walk via Richard Pete Trebilcock
Indoor houses ready for glazing and painting, before the outside metal work frame of the enclosures went on.


crop 8 Monkey Walk via Richard Pete Trebilcock
The end wall of the Staff working room, known as the Incubation Room. Now home to keeper records, Curator and Head Keeper offices.


Crop 9 ext wall Monkey Walk via Richard Pete Trebilcock 3
Before the big high fences – In the Car Park looking at the new Monkey Walk house walls being built.


The Monkey Walk from the Car Park same scene 30+ years later, the blocks now covered with solar panels (2018).   


Crop 11 exterior Monkey Walk via Richard Pete Trebilcock 3


Crop 6 tree Monkey Walk via Richard Pete Trebilcock
Building the Monkey Walk c.1985



The completed Monkey Walk 30+ years later with the shade of the wooden trellis (2018)  

1989 Childrens Guide Monkey walk

The pages of the Children’s Guide to Newquay Zoo 1989 show which three families of large Monkeys – Diana, Green and Capuchin monkeys – were around in the early days of this rebuilt Monkey Walk enclosure. The black star shows which monkeys were considered rare in the mid 1980s.

In the 1990s this Monkey Walk housed a trio of rare African monkey families – Diana, Monkeys, Colobus Monkeys and Sooty Mangabeys.

Today 2018 these enclosures are occupied by two types of rare Capuchin Monkey (white Fronted and Yellow Breasted) and a group of Common Squirrel Monkeys.




Old Monkey walk and Tropical House children's zoo 69 EL
1969 – Looking down past the first Tropical House along the first Monkey Walk white trellis, opening day 1969 (pic Newquay Zoo Archive / Ernie Littlefield) 

I will add older 1969 pictures of the original Monkey Walk as they emerge from our Archive.


There you go, a little snippet of Newquay Zoo history – hopefully more of these small bundles of pictures  should turn up from visitor and staff albums over the countdown to the Newquay Zoo 50th anniversary on May 26 2019.

Talking Heads Up

On Saturday July 7th and Wednesday July 11th 2018 we will be video recording the first of our talking heads interviews / short chats with past and present staff and visitors as we count down toward NZ50 in May 2019. Still a few spaces available.

If you would like to share your memories in this or any other way,  contact Mark Norris or Rebecca Blake at Newquay Zoo. We would love to hear from you.

Phone number: 01637 873342   or in old money “Newquay 3342”


Blog post on 28th June 2018 by Mark Norris, using Newquay Zoo Archive material.















NZ100 Newquay Zoo 2069

Penguin Kids Club predictions of NZ100 20169

This is a brilliant and inventive set of ideas of how Newquay Zoo and its surrounding area may change by its 100th Birthday in May 2069.

It was written by members of our children’s club “Penguin Club” in 2004 for our 35th Birthday Time Capsule. A copy is included in this 2004 Newquay Zoo Time Capsule, buried on the woodland slope near our Dragon Maze.

This document has been released from our Newquay Zoo Archive as part of the countdown towards NZ50, our 50th Anniversary in May 2019. Watch this space and the Newquay Zoo website  for more details

Blogposted by Mark Norris, Newquay Zoo, 26 May 2019 (Newquay Zoo’s 49th Birthday).

Before Newquay Zoo (B.N.Z.)

It’s Newquay Zoo’s 49th Birthday on Sunday May 26 1969 / 2018 and the start of the twelve month countdown to our NZ50 50th anniversary celebrations in May 2019.

Talk to historians and there are dates in B.C., there are dates ending in  A.D. and other versions. Round here we ought to talk about B.N.Z. Before Newquay Zoo (which meant our zoo history started roughly around 1969). Add to this BITD Back in the Day and TW Time was and you are a proper historian!

Time was there was a small children’s zoo in Newquay before our 1969 Newquay Zoo site.

There is very little known about the ‘first’ Newquay ‘Zoo’, a children’s petting zoo over in the Rose Gardens section of Trenance Gardens, just over the road from the zoo today.

It operated as far as we know only in the summer, the animals returning in winter to Exmouth Zoo. It existed from probably the late 1950s through to 1968/9, when a separate permanent zoo (us!) was built by Newquay Urban District Council.


ken smith photo crop
Ken Smith 


This first zoo was built by Charles Trevisick who ran the long-vanished Ilfracombe Zoo, it was  taken over and run by West Country zoo man Ken Smith of Exmouth and Shaldon Zoo.


Charles Trevisick


Charles Trevisick featured Newquay Childrens’ Zoo on only one page of his autobiography My Home Is A Zoo.


Charles Trevisick’s fleeting mention of his Newquay Zoo and its animals.


This seasonal ‘zoo’ was staffed in its latter years by the late Peter Lowe (formerly of Chester Zoo) who went on to become the designer and curator of our existing zoo.

Peter  Lowe had technical support from T.D. (Tom) Hurley, the Borough Engineer for Newquay Urban District Council and advice from Chester Zoo founder George Mottershead (whose life story was recently told in BBC series ‘Our Zoo’). We wrote about Peter and George’s working relationship here:
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Information on this first Newquay Children’s Zoo is pretty scarce.

Russell Tofts’ excellent book on Ken Smith, Animals in the Blood: The Ken Smith Story, subtitled “A Biography of Gerald Durrell’s Right-Hand Man” was published in April 2012. It has a precious couple of paragraphs about this first Newquay Children’s Zoo.

You can buy the book through the Bartlett Society  at

Charles Trevisick set up the Newquay Children’s Zoo over in the Rose Gardens area of Trenance Gardens in Newquay, a few minutes walk from our current site,  probably in the late 1950s.

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So Ken Smith took over the running and ownership of Newquay Children’s Zoo in its final years , 1966 / 1967. We gain a few clues as to what this first zoo looked like:

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Extracts From Russell Toft’s book Animals in The Blood (2012)

This mention of a Hyacinthine Macaw by Mike Curzon, a well known zoo curator bird keeper,  is interesting, as one is pictured in our zoo section of a Newquay tourism guide of the time. They were pretty rare birds in zoos then and no record exists in the patchy Newquay Zoo index cards for macaws, parrots and other birds covering 1969-1976. This lack of a zoo record card suggest this valuable  bird probably never transferred to Newquay Zoo and may have returned to Ken Smith when Newquay Children’s Zoo closed down c. 1969.


1972 guide to Newquay – macaws, bikinis and golden sands.



This bird is still listed as Endangered and part of an organised breeding programme in many zoos. Hyacinth macaw numbers are in decline as a result of habitat loss and over-collection for the illegal pet trade.  It is estimated that at least 10,000 birds were taken from the wild in the 1980s:


1969 Nz parrot
The same photo from the 1972-3 guide but cropped or white out of the trellis background – to look more like Newquay Zoo?


Anyone recognise any of the people in these photos? Please let us know via the comments.

Current Newquay Zoo bird keeper Gary Ward and Curator John Meek  checked the photo, used in several publications into The Newquay Zoo period (stock Newquay tourism colour photo?) and conformed that it is a Hyacinthine Macaw.
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The leafy tree and white trellis background is also interesting. Roger Williams, our longest serving Newquay Zoo Keeper on and off since about 1970 didn’t recognise any of the people but thought that this may have been taken at the original Children’s Zoo in the Trenance Gardens as a publicity shot of some of the animals (monkey, macaw, rabbit).

1969 tropical house

Alternatively, the white trellis might be part of the original monkey walk, still preserved in the structure of our Nocturnal House.

Who knows? This colour picture with the Hyacinth Macaw may be currently our only picture of the original Newquay Children’s Zoo in the 1960s. 

More on the first Newquay Children’s Zoo from Russell Tofts:

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This passage by Russell Tofts suggests that the Newquay Children’s Zoo project was coming to a close. Russell Tofts mentions ‘council apathy’ towards its offspring and changing councillors.

Since the book was written in 2012, we now have some of Peter Lowe’s letters to George Mottershead at Chester Zoo (from the Chester Zoo archive) from about this time period as Peter prepared to take over the setting up of the new Council built Zoo. (we’ll publish these in a future blogpost) It seems that supportive councillors like Councillor ‘Jimmy’ J. Rogers  had seen the possibilities for a permanent zoo and so had switched their interest and attention to this.


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A seasonal collection: Trudy Smith mentioned (here) was Ken Smith’s wife.


Trenance Gardens Today

Nothing remains of the first Newquay Children’s Zoo at the Rose Gardens site. Strolling up to Cheski’s wedding last month in May 2018,  I photographed the lovely gardens on a Spring evening.



Newquay Zoo is now the other side of the Railway Viaduct, always a good locator point on old photos. Trenance Gardens, Tolcarne Brick Seat 2018






1906 – the Birth of the leisure gardens at Trenance Gardens that would one day lead to a zoo …


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1910s / 1920s Trenance Gardens , Trenance Valley scene (Homeland Guidebook)





Rose Garden Plan – what it will look like in Summer!


Where the First Newquay Children’s Zoo may have been, the trellis of the current Rose Gardens Trenance Gardens April 2018.
The Rose Gardens over winter April 2018

The Tolcarne Brick Seat has an interesting link to the current Newquay Zoo – it is the site of our African Savanna field, opened in 2009, was formerly a school playing field known as Little Wembley. It was built across a former brickworks, Tolcarne Brickwortks, whose distinctively marked bricks make up not only many local houses but also the Tolcarne brick seat in Trenance Gardens (lovely local touch this!)

tolcarne brick (brick website)

Tolcarne brick from the Brick research website

The Tolcarne seat is mentioned in Newquay Discovery Trail panel outside the zoo



You can see more of this fabulous map online:




The leisure activity in this area of Newquay seems to have grown from the founding of the Trenance Gardens in 1906 and the Trenance Bowling Club  (founded in 1916).


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Once Tolcarne Brickworks: The zoo’s Savanna fields lie beyond the Bowling Green,  Newquay Town Guide 1952


We have a few glimpses of the Newquay Zoo site in its days as a farm and brickworks.

The Savanna field like much of the zoo appears to be brick clay, puddling easily and good for animal hoofmarks, not so good for hoof-care without drainage and hard standings.


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Fields as far as you could see: 1936 Newquay Guide – beyond Trenance Bowling Club, the far fields surrounding the 1969 built zoo can be seen, where our Bison roamed briefly (1969-1973) and crazy golf is still played.


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1936 Newquay Guide. The farm fields beyond the tennis courts and Bowling green, farmland that would one day be the various attractions of Trenance Leisure Gardens (mini Railway, crazy golf and zoo) .

Probably the best glimpse that we get is the photograph taken from the Viaduct by former Council head gardener Ernie Littlefield  about 1968:


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Ernie Littlefield’s view of the zoo in 1968 whilst it was almost open fields with the mini Little Western Railway already in place. The Bowling Green is off to the left. The bear pit is taking shape. (Newquay Zoo Archive)

Compare this photo to Ernie Littlefield’s May 26, 1969 Opening Day photograph:


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Opening Day, May 26, 1969. Photo by Ernie Littlefield / Newquay Zoo Archive.

So there you go, the long and the short of it, the Back in the Day,  B.N.Z Before Newquay Zoo.

Completing the Before Newquay Zoo trip back in time … glimpsed on my walk past the Rose Gardens, once home to the first Newquay Children’s Zoo, I walked aong the Gannel River, past Trethellan Farm field, prehistoric housing.






A few minutes walk from Newquay Zoo and Trenance Gardens – Trethellan Farm prehistopric site, Gannel Estuary (and Newquay Rocks painted pebble c. 2018)



A possible prehistoric worked flint tuned up in the zoo flowerbeds back in 2003, spotted by zoo visitor Mike Solomon.


Worked flint from our schools display case of fossils – found 31 March 2003 by Mike Solomon, Newquay Zoo.


Strange to think that people have been visiting Newquay and living here for thousands of years, sometimes to watch animals … and occasionally hunt them for meat and fur. The threat to many of our rare animals today – an oddly full circle place to end our 49th Birthday blogpost.

Happy Birthday Newquay Zoo, 49 years old on Whitsun / Sunday the 26 May 2018.

Watch this blog post and the Newquay Zoo website for details of our 50th birthday in May 2019 .

Posted by Mark Norris, Newquay Zoo Archive, 24-26 May 2018












Newquay Zoo Wedding 2018

Congratulations to long serving Newquay Zoo Keeper Mark Tomaszewski  (‘Cheski’) on his marriage to Claire Organ.

Cheski joined us as a Keeper in our Council Zoo days c. 1982/3.

Claire is a former Newquay Zoo staff member and volunteer, early member of   Penguin Club c. 1990s and one of the first cohort of Cornwall College Newquay students when it opened in 2000.

I dug out a couple of younger pictures of Cheski and Claire from our Zoo Archive:

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Claire Organ at a Newquay Zoo Bugs event c. 1998-2000


photos MN Claire Organ Mike Kent 2001
Cornish Guardian photos January 2001



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Cheski pictured in Mike Thomas’ zoo memoir, Strange Things Happened On My Way to The Zoo.


Cheski (centre stage) in the “keepers choir” (Christmas 2001?) Newquay Zoo.

Our very best wishes from all the Newquay Zoo staff past and present on your wedding and your future happiness!

Posted by Mark Norris, Newquay Zoo Archive, 26 April 2018