Zoos, Aquariums and Wildlife Sanctuaries: Reopening

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:32 pm on 11th June 2020.

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Photo of Katherine Fletcher Katherine Fletcher Conservative, South Ribble 4:32 pm, 11th June 2020

I agree with my hon. Friend on the role that staff play in these institutions. I am another Member of the House who must speak up warmly for Chester zoo—a great inspiration to me as a child—and the staff who took the extra time to support me and many of the people who have written in from South Ribble to advocate for the cause, saying how delighted we all are to see that they can start to welcome visitors again.

Other Members have made the point about the importance of inspiring the next generation and the role that the staff play in that. I am not sure how many Members are aware of this, but I am a qualified field guide—a safari ranger—out in Africa. [Interruption.] Yes, I have been charged by a rhino, and yes, politics can be more scary. The staff at Dudley zoo, and certainly at Chester zoo, in the ’80s helped to kindle that spirit and allowed me to understand the importance of the environment, the importance of viewing this as a whole, and the importance of zoos as part of the conservation effort. I very much look forward to them continuing in that work from Monday.