I remember Marc and his family well, he was a delightful and sometimes exhausting bundle of energy and curiosity! The day we heard that he had died in December 1999 was one of the saddest days I remember at the Zoo. Mike Thomas also talked about Marc on his Wild Planet Trust YouTube interview and at his 50th Anniversary talk on 26th May 2019
When Mike Thomas retired in 2003 he continued work on the Marc’s Arc charity and eventually the remainder of these funds went to Little Harbour Children’s Hospice Southwest. Little Harbour families keep in touch with us at the Dreamnight evening event each year, bringing many of their children with serious health conditions and their families to the zoo for one special night.
I’m sure Marc and his family would approve!
More news on the zoo in 2000 in our next Paw Prints newsletter reprinted with added colour photographs!
Blog posted by Mark Norris, Newquay Zoo Education using Newquay Zoo Archive images as part of our ongoing 50th Anniversary celebrations.
You can still enjoy our popular free “Then and Now Trail” remains up of vintage Newquay Zoo images and a brief colourful history of Newquay Zoo on the Timeline by the Dragon Maze.
As well as College plans, business awards, there was also news of one of our first sensory interactive statues of three lemurs or monkeys outside the Tropical House carved by Cornish sculptor Reece Ingram. www.reeceingram.co.uk Sadly this in no longer in one piece.
I went over to Belgium and Holland to visit EAZA zoos in 1999, after having previously spoken about our MFL Languages project at the European Zoo Education Conference.
One of the other big tourism (non)events of Summer 1999 was the Solar Eclipse on 11 August 1999. We kept notes on how our animals behaved and also put up notices to safely shape how our human animals behaved in the darkness.
Look out for our 20th eclipse Anniversary Blogpost which will be posted on or around 11 August 2019, revealing some of the oddities of our Eclipse archive.
Tyson the appropriately named clever bruisergroup leader of our Squirrel Monkeys had form, a long naughty behaviour list on his animal records from other zoos before he arrived here.
Some new photos have turned up whilst scanning slowly the many photos in our Archive.
Twenty years on from this April Fools Day stunt, Jo and Mark are still happily working at Newquay Zoo and remember the event well; both have been interviewed for our 50th Anniversary videos. Bill Eade ‘the ferryman’ has now retired.
Twenty years on, the far empty playing field is now the Savanna, home since 2009 to our Wildebeest, Zebra and Nyala antelope herds.
All change! Rare Black and White Ruff Lemurs from Madagascar now live on the island with an updated house. The Capybaras have moved in with the Tapirs across the zoo, both enjoying the same plunge pool, whilst the Squirrel monkeys now live on the Monkey Walk, in sight of their old island home.
Photos released from our Archives as we count down the last few weeks to our Newquay Zoo 50th Birthday Anniversary on Sunday 26 May 2019.
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!
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?)
The Rescued Pumas need a House fundraising story reaches a happy conclusion.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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). http://biosciences.exeter.ac.uk/staff/index.php?web_id=jon_blount
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.
Conservation, Education, Research and Recreation – still pretty much the role of a good ‘Modern Zoo’ in 2018.
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 Aquariumshttps://biaza.org.uk/
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 https://www.eaza.net/
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.
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 designcompetition 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.
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 http://www.wwct.org.uk/research supervised by a full-time Research Officer, Dr. Kathy Baker. http://www.wwct.org.uk/about/people/the-team/kathy-baker