Metro Mayor Dan Norris visited Bear Wood at Wild Place Project during English Tourism Week, ahead of the bank holiday and half-term to encourage residents to support our local attractions.
He met with the Chief Executive of Bristol Zoological Society, Dr Justin Morris, to see the European brown bears that used to live in Britain and hear about plans to move Bristol Zoo to the Wild Place Project site to create a new world-class zoo for the West of England.
Together Bristol Zoo Gardens and Wild Place Project welcomed 830,000 visitors in 2019 but only 424,500 in 2020 due to closures and limits on visitors during the pandemic. The cost of feeding the animals however has not changed – it costs over £22,000 per year just to feed the four bears at Wild Place Project.
West of England Metro Mayor, Dan Norris said: “Wild Place Project is a unique place to visit. It’s great to see wild animals such as bears, wolves and lynxes in an almost-authentic habitat – animals that were once native to the area 10,000 years ago. It is great to hear about the exciting plans to move Bristol Zoo in Clifton to this special site to create an environmentally-friendly, forward-thinking zoo, that will have conservation at its heart.
“Ahead of half term I want us all to get behind our brilliant local visitor attractions that have had a tough time over the pandemic. Let’s help them back on their feet by experiencing an enjoyable and educational day out for all the family.”
Dr Justin Morris, Chief Executive of Bristol Zoological Society, which operates both Bristol Zoo Gardens and Wild Place Project said: “It is great to welcome the newly-elected Metro Mayor Dan Norris to our award-winning Wild Place Project during English Tourism Week.
“Just before the half-term holidays, it gives us the opportunity to show the Mayor what families can expect to see when they visit next week – from bears, wolves, lynxes and wolverines in Bear Wood, to giraffes, cheetahs, lemurs and meerkats.
“I’m especially keen to discuss our conservation work, undertaken here in the UK and across the world, as well as our ambitious plans for the future. In 2024 we will be opening a new world-class Bristol Zoo at our Wild Place site. The new Bristol Zoo will have conservation at its heart and will define what zoos should look like for the 21st century.”
Wild Place Project has recently won South West Tourism Excellence Awards 2020/21 ‘Large Visitor Attraction of the Year’.