The Earl and Countess of Wessex took their children, Lady Louise Windsor and James, Viscount Severn to the Bristol Zoo on Thursday where Prince Edward was seen to mix official work with family time, as he and his family enjoyed their two-hour hands-on visit.
Edward served as the guest of honour at the Wild Place Project, an extension of the zoo that opened in 2013. His family were treated to a tour of the park, which they appeared to enjoy very much. The Earl used this day to help educate his children about wildlife and preserving endangered animals.
The official part of his day involved opening a new attraction at the park. The Mahali Pori Exhibit is home to zebras and cheetahs. Lady Louise and James hand-fed lemurs and got up-close to a playful group of meerkats.
A royal source said: “The whole family thoroughly enjoyed the visit. The Earl has been patron of the Bristol Zoological Society for three years and has been very impressed by their education and conservation programmes. Both he and the Countess were keen to show their children the effort places like Wild Place Project put into conserving endangered animals.”
They continued: “They were all fascinated by the cheetahs and the children really enjoyed feeding the lemurs and the meerkats.”
The message of the Wild Place Project is one which emphasizes conservationism and protecting some of the most fascinating and endangered animals on earth. From the grey wolves found in Europe to Africa’s okapis. It was opened by Bristol’s Zoological Society, the project is one that is longterm as pointed out by Dr Bryan Carroll, its chief executive.
The next mission for the project is to build a giraffe house. It has launched a £750,000 fund raising initiative to make the house a reality for these beautiful yet endangered animals.
Dr Carroll said: “Giraffes are disappearing quickly and quietly towards extinction, with the population falling from 140,000 to less than 80,000 in just 15 years. If nothing is done to protect giraffes from poaching, bushmeat trade and habitat loss, there is a real chance they will become extinct.”
He concluded by saying what he hoped visitors would take away from Wild Place Project: “At Wild Place Project we want to give people an unforgettable experience with giraffes here in Bristol, whilst being at the forefront of conserving giraffes in Africa.”