12 April 2016

The Zoo

Location: Chester Zoo, Cheshire, England

I've just spent three months in West Africa, however, spending all my time in a small rural town up north over there, I didn't actually get to see a lot of wildlife other than pigs, chickens and goats. So as a little homecoming treat, my boyfriend Luke thought we should go to Chester Zoo - he had also been inspired by 'The Secret Life of the Zoo' over on Channel 4, a documentary giving viewers exclusive access to what goes on behind closed doors at Chester Zoo! OF COURSE I was ecstatic to go, and super excited to see all the animals, insects and wildlife, we headed over to see what Chester had to offer.

The best thing about going to the zoo in Spring is seeing all of the animals coming out to play and the fresh plants and wildlife springing up after a long winter. Chester Zoo makes the most of huge spaces for the animals to graze in whilst giving the place a feel of being in their natural habitat, as opposed to just paths with cages on the sidelines. The flowers and the trees are bursting with colour and the animals are happy and playful at the sight of visitors. If you've got a bit of time to spare or you're searching for something to fill up your weekend, a trip to the zoo is a must this season.

Going to the zoo also refreshes the inspiration to save our environment. Humans are the cause of extinction for animals, and at Chester, upon the signs along with the explanation and facts about each animal, a level of risk that they are at is given underneath. It was both fascinating and devastating to see that so many animals are at danger of becoming extinct in our lifetimes; how many forests are getting chopped down because of the huge global demand for palm oil and how ignorant the human population has become. Going to the zoo is more than just a day out looking at animals, it's an opportunity for awareness, and hopefully by visiting we can all sympathise with the creatures and learn ways to do our bit to protect them, and become more responsible citizens of this planet that we call home.

The problem with Palm Oil?
Palm oil, a type of edible vegetable oil, is on MAJOR demand globally as it is used in many products such as soap, cosmetics. and food to name just a few - you can check out the full list here. Say No To Palm Oil explains, 'According to the World Wildlife Fund, an area the equivalent size of 300 football fields of rainforest is cleared each hour to make way for palm oil production. This large-scale deforestation is pushing many species to extinction, and findings show that if nothing changes species like the orangutan could become extinct in the wild within the next 5-10 years, and Sumatran tigers less than 3 years'. As SNTPO discusses, to extract palm oil farmers need space - which means eradicating areas of land and consequently, animals and their habitats. It also means that to remove forests, methods such as burning them down are taken, negatively impacting on a massive global issue: climate change.

So what can we do?
We can educate ourselves, and others about the devastating effects of palm oil and seek out products without palm oil such as soap from Lush Cosmetics, or that use sustainable palm oil. Palm oil is in HUGE demand and that demand is only expected to rise, having a negative impact on workers as well as thousands of species. Ultimately, the way to solve this problem is to reduce demand and spread the word of how many products palm oil is in, and how damaging it is for our earth. For more information, you can visit Say No To Palm Oil here.

Our day seeing and learning about so many different animals was lovely, and oddly for the north, it didn't rain on us! We got to the zoo around 10am and filled up the whole day exploring until our coach came at around 5pm! It's so great to go somewhere that well and truly cares for wildlife and this is reflected in what you see at the zoo, the passion for animal conservation there is something that I feel igniting within myself. Tickets for adults are around £20 with child tickets a little cheaper - Chester Zoo guarantees that it will always cost less when buying them online from their official website. The ticket, in my opinion is value for money, however, you could end up paying a small fortune for food and drinks and so I'd recommend you relive your primary school days and take along a packed lunch. 

To get your tickets and for more information visit www.chesterzoo.org.

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