Bye bye to the butterflies in overhaul of Heath zoo

For £45, participants – adults only, at first – will get to meet their chosen animal for 20 minutes.

Monday, 20th June — By Richard Osley

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HEATH chiefs could be saying goodbye to some fluttery friends as part of a plan to close the Butterfly House and bring in new creatures.

The future of the building at Golders Hill Park zoo is under review and has not reopened since it was closed during the coronavirus pandemic.

The City of London is now looking at options which include changing the use of the space – and possibly using it for insects, reptiles and “smaller native” mammals.
Previously free, visitors may have to pay a “small charge”, according to a report by new Heath superinten­dent Stefania Horne.

It added: “The zoo is currently heavily subsidised and not sustainable in the long term.”

Ms Horne’s report added that a “do-nothing” approach will lead to “ongoing deterioration” of the facilities, while “doing less” would “likely lead to closure in the medium term”.

Instead, Ms Horne said the City wanted to “do more” and hopes to raise extra income by boosting an animal adoption scheme and providing “zookeeper experiences” for the first time at the zoo.

For £45, participants – adults only, at first – will get to meet their chosen animal for 20 minutes.

Contactless donation points will also be installed to encourage more help from visitors, if wifi signals work.

“There will be some need for capital investment to convert the Butterfly House in its current form into the small native’s centre,” Ms Horne’s report said, but it added heating costs would be reduced.

A 2017 plan aimed to introduce Scottish wildcats, polecats and red squirrels to the zoo.

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