Each year, as part of the ACCE DTP training package, an away day is arranged by the ACCE student committee. This year, after what seems like a thousand Doodle Polls, we finally settled upon Liverpool as the Host Institution and a trip to Chester Zoo as the focal point of the away day. Chester Zoo is the largest in the UK and according to a recent poll, the 6th most visited tourist attraction in the country (1,536,279 people in 2014).
The November weather was particularly kind to us and although showers were forecast, the weather held out for the entire day, with the only showers being the misty (and somewhat cold) Balinese rainforest. The Zoo itself is huge and it takes quite some time to traverse the various tropical islands, rivers and slippery boardwalks. We encountered a plethora of animals including, but not limited to, Warty Backed Pig, Andean Condor, Sumatran Tiger, Painted Dog, Tapir, Oryx, Black Rhino, Northern Bald Ibis and Orangutan.
As part of the trip we had arranged a workshop with the Zoo’s educational service to find out a bit more about what the zoo actually does. Far from being just a place to see exotic animals (some of which are now extinct in the wild) Chester Zoo is a charity with a real emphasis on conservation, science and education. Their mission statement is:
“Our vision is for a diverse, thriving and sustainable natural world. Our mission is to be a major force in conserving the living world.”
Chester work as part of an international network of zoos that exchange animals (via Stud Book Holders) and techniques, to improve both captive and wild populations, their welfare and husbandry. The workshop finished with some hands-on interaction with items confiscated at UK customs, including a Tortoise ash-tray, a whole Cheetah skin and tusks from both Rhino and Elephant, for which Chester requires a licence just to hold on site.
After a long day exploring the zoo we were all in need of sustenance. Lucha Libre, a Mexican restaurant in the centre of Liverpool, came to our aid and provided tray after tray of tortilla, enchilada and quesadilla, in a Mexican themed tapas extravaganza. We ended our night with drinks in a converted train carriage at Kazimier Gardens, an apparently authentic modern-Liverpool experience.
Thanks to Vinnie for organising the meal (and for calling around in my absence) and to ACCE for making the whole day possible.
For those of you that couldn’t make it, here’s a zoo themed song