Free Ranging Cotton Top Tamarins at Newquay Zoo 2001

cotton tops treehouse 2001
Free  Ranging Cotton Top Tamarins 2001, Newquay Zoo, Maze Road area. Bottom – Mrs Buffy. Top left Barbara and (her left) Barry or Nancy. Top right Buffy. 

Free Ranging Cotton Top Tamarins 2001, Newquay Zoo, Maze Road area.

Bottom – Mrs Buffy. Top left Barbara and (her left) Barry or Nancy. Top right Buffy.

A picture from our archives, counting down towards our 50th anniversary in May 2019.

You can read more about why and how we released these amazing small monkeys into the trees along the Maze Road at Newquay Zoo in 1996  in an article in Paw Prints in January 1998.

We have many endangered tamarins and marmosets still on island enclosures at Newquay Zoo.

However you will not Cotton Top Tamarins at the Zoo here anymore.  These pictures were taken in 2001. Once the free range experiment came to an end, they moved onto an island enclosure and eventually moved to another collection.

Blog posted by Mark Norris, Newquay Zoo Archive / Education, January 2019



Newquay Zoo Paw Prints Newsletter No. 9 Winter 1998

PP 9 P1 WIN 1998
(Painful) Front page news Winter 1998 at Newquay Zoo 

Our ‘Christmas’ /’ New Year’ Edition of our Newquay Zoo Pawprints Newsletter No. 9 brings us to Winter 1998 and events for New Year 1999, twenty years ago.

Colour pictures added from our Newquay Zoo Archive and Press Cuttings.

PP 9 P2 WIN 1998
News of Christmas 1998 including the zoo school wriggly nativity.

I remember several years from 1994 onwards of these “wriggly nativities” with live Village Farm animals down on the straw baled Café Patio. Great fun.

WMN 1712 98 Zoo nativity
Zoo nativity Western Morning News 17 December 1998
CorGuar 3112 98 Zoo Nativity
Cornish Guardian 31 December 1998 – names removed to save embarrassment of some cool 20-somethings! – and Zoo Coordinator Jo Dixon with my favourite Zebu, Zebedeee. Village Farm.
PP 9 P3 WIN 1998
Somewhere unscanned in our archives we have pictures of Clive Pig in action …
The Beast Clive Pig 1998
More good zoo fun 1998 with an empty Puma Enclosure to put actors and storytellers in ! 
PP 9 P4 WIN 1998
Hello free-ranging Mara, goodbye exotic planting …
Mara 2 NZ Marketing
Watch out! From the Zoo Archives, a free-ranging Mara near yummy exotic planting.
PP 9 P5 WIN 1998
Big Yellow Elephants?!? Off to Bristol Zoo for a few days for me, November 1998
PP 9 P6 WIN 1998
Exotic Pet problems and the arrival of baby pig Hamlet …
PP 9 P7 WIN 1998
Zoo 2000? Counting down and planning towards the 1999 11th August Eclipse?
PP 9 P8 WIN 1998.jpg
Sadly we have found no picture of Rob in our archive so far but I remember him and his Guyanese wife Chandra. She said the Tropical House felt like home, it was the only place she felt warm in the UK.

Paw Prints No. 9 republished / blog posted by Mark Norris from the  Newquay Zoo Archive, Newquay Zoo, Christmas 2018 / January  2019.

Colour pictures  added from our Newquay Zoo Archive and Press Cuttings.

Join us as we count down towards our Newquay Zoo 50th birthday / anniversary on May 26th 1969 / 2019.

February 1968 Plans for the Newquay Zoo are Progressing

February 1968 and plans for the new Newquay Zoo are slowly progressing through various  Newquay Urban District Council and County Council meetings.

Peter Lowe has been employed until 1968 by Ken Smith, manager of the Children’s Zoo in Trenance Gardens amongst other zoo enterprises, to run this seasonal zoo started by Charles Trevisick in the late 1950s or early 1960s.

Peter Lowe has left the Children’s Zoo to work for the County Council on the zoo project, hoping eventually to become manager or curator of the new zoo after several years experience at Chester Zoo.

He writes to his old boss and  mentor George Mottershead, founder of Chester Zoo,  to keep him updated on the plans.

Peter Lowe assisting on site with Barry Hyde (gardener) building the zoo 1968/69 (Barry Hyde collection)


Newquay, 8th February 1968
Dear Mr. Mottershead,
I would like to keep you up to date with developments on the new Zoological Park which we are hoping to go ahead with.
From the preliminary plan which I showed you last November which you considered possible a nucleus of a Zoo, we drew up a fully detailed plan measuring 10ft x 4ft with a scaled model of the type of cage which we suggest is used for this covered walk which the Urban District Surveyor is keen to have.

There is a range of 16 of these cages which measure 17’ x 8’ x 9’ including an indoor quarter measuring 4ft x 8ft x 6ft heated if necessary.

The public walk under an awning, there is a safety rail and 2ft between each cage.

We have suggested that various monkeys, coatimundis, martens possibly, caracal lynxes, hornbills, toucans and parrots could be accommodated in these 16 cages which terminate in a house which could contain the reptile section, nocturnal house and three large cages measuring 10ft x 6ft x 6ft for something very colourful in the bird world.
Basically what we have tried to bear in mind is variation, colour and activity. Do you think these ideas are possible?

What finally emerged – the early Tropical House and white covered walkway along the Monkey Walk / first row of enclosures, May 1969. Image: Ernie Littlefield / Newquay Zoo Archive

On the 8th January {1968] I was interviewed by the Committee and had to give a detailed address on the plan and models and answer numerous questions concerning my previous experience, why I came down here, what ties I had  here etc…

I also gave an account of the season at the Children’s Zoo in respect of the potential of the big Zoo. I explained that I had seen you [Mr. Mottershead] and repeated your comments as to the running of the new Zoo. I suggested that members of the Committee should visit Chester Zoo – with your permission – and consult you as to the practicability of the plans.
The result of this meeting was basically most satisfactory as they decided, in principal, to run the Zoo themselves and put in a manager as you suggested, but would defer any real decision until they had seen Mr. Smith again, which they did the following Friday [January 1968].

[This is a  little bit of a one-sided and negative picture of Ken Smith. It is clear that Ken Smith and Peter Lowe had fallen out by now or parted company, possibly over the building and running of the new Zoo. A more detailed account of Ken Smith, (“Gerald Durrell’s right hand man” for a time) can be found in Animals in The Blood by Russell Tofts]

I understand that the [Friday] meeting was no less than riotous and Mr. Smith lost the sympathy of the Committee.

Later I read in the minutes of the monthly public meeting that the Committee had told the full Council that they had decided not to proceed further with any of Mr. Smith’s proposals or lack of them after 18 months, but would take our plans to Mr. Greed [Director at Bristol Zoo] to ascertain his views mainly on the economic aspect of the venture.

This suggests that plans for a permanent zoo in Newquay were being discussed sometime in late 1966.

The plans were sent off to Mr. Greed, who, as I understand it, liked the layout and phoned up to say so. Members of the Committee go to Bristol Zoo tomorrow 9th February [1968].
I am told that if a satisfactory report is forthcoming in every aspect, the Council will go ahead with this project.
As to my position; I have known of the delays the Council have been subjected to since last September [1967] when I was first asked to submit plans.

Some of these difficulties I outlined to you last November and, during the past couple of months, it has come painfully obvious that, in my view, Mr. Smith is not going to get this Zoo.

To cut a long story short and I’ll make no pretence about it, I got myself the sack rather than throw away the opportunity of being involved in this new Zoo.

I had to show the Council that I meant business since they were rather embarrassed at asking for my proposals while I was in Smith’s employ. I couldn’t resign in the normal way because I couldn’t rely on the Council taking me on and I needed dole to support my family. So I took a gamble.
I am now employed by the Council in the offices at present, the idea being that if and when construction does get underway, they want me down on the site assisting. The Chairman said: “What we want is someone to grow up with the project”! which seems reasonable.
I shall still try and push for the Members to visit Chester Zoo, if I may, but I think they consider it too far at this time of year – after all, some of them are 65 at least!
Would you be good enough to let me know the cost and send me a varied selection of your colour picture postcards of the [Chester Zoo] gardens and enclosures and some of the Tropical House if possible? I would be most grateful.
I apologise for the length of this letter. My best regards to your wife, Fred and June {George Mottershead’s son in law and daughter], Miss Howard [his secretary] and Mr. Gallop.
I do hope you have an excellent season and that you keep fit and active as ever.
Yours Sincerely, Peter Lowe.


At the same time this was happening the inaugural meeting of the Zoo Federation (which became BIAZA c. 2005) was happening at London Zoo in June 1967.

George Mottershead at Chester Zoo  (centre, white hair and moustache) was heavily involved and can be seen in the centre of the picture next to  Reginald Greed,  Director at Bristol Zoo.  More on this in a future blogpost.

Zoo Fed photo 1967
George Mottershead (centre second row ), Miss Howard (third from front left) 

Blogposted as part of our Newquay Zoo Archive countdown to our 5oth Anniversary 26 May 1969




Plans for the new Newquay Zoo December Christmas 1967

On 15th December 1967 Peter Lowe, formerly of Chester Zoo, wrote to his old boss George Mottershead, the founder of Chester Zoo. He thanked  him for comments  about the plans for a permanent zoo in Newquay.

At this stage things are looking promising for the start of our present zoo.

A seasonal children’s zoo had been running in the Rose Gardens (part of Trenance Gardens / Trenance Boating Lake) in Newquay for a number of years.

BarryHyde2 Peter Lowe
Peter Lowe (left) and Barry Hyde, Newquay Council Parks Gardener preparing hard ground and roadways – Newquay Zoo 1968/69 (Barry Hyde Collection/ Newquay Zoo Archive) 

15 December 1967

Dear Mr. Mottershead,
The plans of the new Zoo that I showed you on the 7th November last [1967] have been passed by the Newquay Urban District Council and County Council.

After Christmas, I am to be called to a Committee meeting dealing with the new Zoo to present more detailed plans and ideas as to how the Zoo should be run.

I would like, if possible, your permission to pass on to them the advice you were so good enough to give me and your reasons why the Council should run this new Zoo themselves.

The Council are also keen to have assurance that, when the time comes, it will be possible to buy and, in the future, to exchange any surplus stock that may be available.
The Chairman of the Council told me that he and his councillors were very pleased at the way the Children’s Zoo was run this year and also are grateful for the help I have given them over the plans for the new Zoo …

This has been rewarding for me as it has been hard work but would have been impossible had I not spent three and a half years under your direction. A very happy Christmas to you and your family.

Yours Sincerely

Peter Lowe

Peter Lowe went on to become our first curator and helped design and stock the Zoo in first few years 1969 – 1971?

(Letter scanned by Chester Zoo Archive)

We have a set of photocopied site plans by T.D. Hurley of a possible arrangement Scheme II for the Zoo, most of which was adopted.

crop site plans 1969 3

crop site plans 1969 4
Close up of Scheme II plans (1968)
crop site plans 1
The large animals field (now the crazy golf) was presumably where the Bison once roamed? 

Compare these Scheme II plans to the 1969 Guide Map

1969 70 NZ map1969 70 NZ crop 5

Newquay Zoo Paw Prints Newsletter No. 8 July 1998

This month’s December blog post, we reprint the black and white Newquay Zoo Newsletter Pawprints – our 8th edition or  Vol 2, No 3 – for the period July /August 1998, with added colour photos that we couldn’t afford to print at the time!

PP8 P1 JULY 1998
Front page News August 1998

Tippy’s Café opening is mentioned – and here it is as it was. c. 1998, still recognisably an old mongoose enclosure from the mid 1990s (and walled small animal space for otters in  1969?)

tippys 1999
Recently new for 1998? Tippy’s Snack bar was once a mongoose enclosure …

The Rescued Pumas need a House  fundraising story reaches a happy conclusion.

NZ Pumas 19946
Most probably Shane and Tina the Pumas in the old Lion House 1994-98, Newquay Zoo. Demolished 2018.
Lion and puma talk 1996 Mike Thomas SP132
Lion and Puma feeding talk (Mike Thomas in green) sometime in 1996 – 1998
NZ Pumas 19946 old lion house
Old Lion House c. 1996 as Puma Rescue enclosure (donated photos)

PP8 P2 JULY 1998

NZ Puma House 1996 SP142
The old 1969/70 Lion House, rescue home for Pumas 1994-98 whilst we fundraised for a new one. Now demolished 2018.
jenny agutter july 1998 opening wmn
Jenny Agutter opens the new Puma Enclosure 17 July 1998 (Western Morning News)
PP8 P3 JULY 1998
Michelle’s otter-ly brilliant enrichment research


Cinnamon grey Otter PC
Cinnamon our unusually pale otter cub. (postcard c. 1997/8)
PP8 P4 JULY 1998
1998 Further rumours of Exotic Big Cats –  “Don’t go up on the Moors!”
PP8 P5 JULY 1998
Still being offered 20 years later and now available in Spanish, very rarely requested in German (my German is now very very rusty)
PP8 P6 JULY 1998
That Exotic Pet Problem 1998


PP8 P7 JULY 1998
Not so sleepy or slow? Within a year or two these Sloths would surprise us with a baby
PP8 P8 JULY 1998
Two new staff … ‘PB’ and Jo Dixon, long since moved on …


Philippa Brakes dec 2000 turtle stranding
Philippa Brakes in the Cornish Guardian December 14th 2000.  We still have the preserved shell and flipper of this in the Education Department.
jo Dixon
Jo Dixon, pictured in the Cornish Guardian October 1st 1998


Jo Dixon 1999
Jo Dixon in action, Helston Packet 1 April 1999

Scheduled blog post by Mark Norris, using our Newquay Zoo Archive collection, as our monthly blogpost, counting down towards our 50th Anniversary on 26 May 1969.




Penguins and 70s hair – Newquay Zoo History blog hits 50 posts towards our 50th Anniversary in 2019

50 blogposts

We’ve hit 50 newquayzoohistory blogposts towards our 50th Anniversary and dozens more posts are scheduled over the next few weeks and months as we scan our photo and archive collection.

We look forward to sharing ‘Photo Gems’ like this early 1970s picture of our Penguins swimming (where the Meerkats now dig), used in our mid 1970s guidebook.

Penguins 1970s Rhea Camel NZ011
Six slightly moulting Humboldt penguins – a sign of summer – and a clue to date  summer of 1974 / 75.

An archive record card can be found for this group. Six slightly moulting Humboldt penguins are shown – feather moulting is a sign of summer – and a clue to date summer of 1974 / 75 when we had 5 to 6 penguins.

1969 Penguin Record card
Humboldt Penguin Record Card 1969-75 Newquay Zoo Archive

2 penguins arrived in May 1969 from Councillor Jimmy Rogers, owner of the Bay Hotel and supporter of the early Zoo. I’m told some of these came from the Penguin group at Tower Road Mini Golf (shown below).

1962 NZ Penguins Tower Road Golf
1962 Blue Book Guide to Cornwall – Tower Road Mini Golf – home to our original penguins?

A better quality colour print exists in our Archive but it is  ‘crop topped’, missing the interesting background.

Penguins 1970s NZ010.jpg

In the cropped off top section, you can see our camel(s) where the 1998 Puma / 2018 Lynx Enclosure is now sited.  A full car park beyond the fence!

Penguins 1970s Rhea Camel NZ011 crop top
A great 1970s hair day! Obviously a hot day – too hot for T shirts? The chap on the extreme right has his top off!

In what is now the play area, a couple of flightless Rhea can be seen and a simple amenity horticulture rockery with Cornish palm?

Penguins 1970s Rhea Camel NZ011 crop on visitors 2

The biggest joy of the picture are the 70s hair, sideburns  and clothes, pure Bay City Rollers and Osmonds hair that I remember as a 70s child! Big lapels, all wearing the same two tone T-shirts …

Penguins 1970s Rhea Camel NZ011 crop on visitors
Bit of chat going on, boys! Anyone recognise these 1970s likely lads? Locals or tourists? Summer of 1974 / 1975. Summers were long, hot and sunny  then … in my memory.  

Anyone recognise these 1970s likely lads? Locals or tourists?

Another little gem of Newquay Zoo History bought to you from our Archives as we countdown towards our 50th Anniversary on 26 May 1969