I am taking the opportunity to pen an introduction. There is so much to say, and I think as valued Marwell supporters and annual pass holders, I want to start updating you personally as to what we are up to.
Firstly, a thank you. Our annual pass scheme now extends to over 25,000 people, which is an impressive figure, and it is growing. We greatly value your support and are very aware that you have stood by us during some pretty difficult times, especially during COVID. Thank you. In truth, that did knock us backwards. While receiving no special support, unlike some organisations deemed to be part of the ‘cultural’ sector, we also found furlough difficult – you cannot furlough keepers, vets or support staff, so our costs continued with animals to feed and look after, with little income coming in.
Well that is some of the background. This year, the first real year of ‘normality’, we look forward to opening Thriving Through Nature, our old tropical house, now upcycled as a new sub-tropical exhibit. Its theme is to remind us of the power of nature, that healthy environments can create positive welfare for animals and people – something many of us rediscovered during lockdown as we craved green spaces.
We are also going to start refurbishing many of our old exhibits and upgrading them. The plan is to get more species back into the zoo. However, disruptions caused by COVID, problems with animal movements to and from the EU since Brexit, and a current ban on animal movements until at least Easter due to recent bird flu, has made life very difficult. But this situation is slowly improving, so please bear with us.
If you have one, your annual pass is not just access to Marwell, it supports our charitable work, the conservation of species, the restoration of landscapes and in turn, helps towards reconciling the double headed crisis of biodiversity loss and climate change – something we are all experiencing. Our work is important and so is your support.
That’s it for now, next time I will start to layout some of the more exciting plans that we have. Until then, wishing you all an enjoyable spring, with best wishes from us all at Marwell.
– James Cretney, Chief Executive at Marwell Wildlife