“On behalf of all the Wildheart Trust team, I am excited to tell you that the Isle of Wight Zoo will be changing its name to ‘The Wildheart Animal Sanctuary’ from 1st April 2021.
“This new identity reflects our focus on rescued and threatened wildlife and puts the Isle of Wight at the frontline of the protection of endangered species. It is the latest phase of our journey over many decades to care for animals in desperate need and treat them with the compassion they deserve.
“My family acquired the Zoo in the late 70s, saving it from closure when it had fallen upon hard times and was destitute. My parents Jack and Judy’s remarkable determination and inexhaustible passion created a unique wildlife centre which specialised in big cats. Growing up here was incredibly special and as a teenager the opportunity to rear an orphaned tiger cub set the wheels of my involvement at the Zoo in perpetual motion.
“In 2003 my father passed away and I took the ‘family business’ under my wing. Given the history I’m sure it will strike you as surprising, but I’ve never been comfortable with keeping wild animals in captivity. To me even the best 5 star hotel in the world can’t rival real freedom, or in the case of animals, the essential requirement to thrive as part of a functional ecosystem – as nature properly intended.