‘I won’t give up on dream of a new future for zoo in Clifton’

A RENEWED campaign to keep Bristol Zoo in Clifton has been launched by activist Tom Jones of Clifton Wood.

      He wants to raise £30,000 to pay the fees and expenses of “appropriate professionals to produce a detailed plan outlining an alternative vision and future for the zoo at its original site”. 

     His scheme would involve fewer animals in larger enclosures, a video link to gorillas in the wild, and a virtual reality great white shark experience. 

    Mr Jones, a professional musician and father of two young children, also envisages improved animal welfare with mixed species enclosures and a more “immersive and interactive overall experience” for visitors. 

      He would like to see special events to increase both revenue and the zoo’s profile. This would include a Christmas lights festival, film nights in the summer and overnight safari lodge stays.

Mr Jones wants to promote what he describes as the “mental health benefits of the zoo gardens and interacting with animals. He says doctors could prescribe a “trip to the zoo once a week for a year” to their patients. 

The world’s fifth oldest zoo was closed last September after 186 years on its 13-acre site in Clifton citing spiralling costs and dwindling visitor numbers. 

     Mr  Jones has dedicated more than a year of his life voluntarily working to keep the zoo at Clifton. He was a founder member of Save Bristol Zoo Gardens campaign and wrote a lengthy and detailed report opposing the closure.

To help get his latest idea across he is delivering a four-gage pamphlet explaining his views to13,000 people in the BS8 postal code area. 

“Bristol Zoo Gardens is too special a place to give up on” he says. His pamphlet describes it as a “unique slice of paradise woven into the heart of a city”.

As the Voice went to print, Mr Jones’s online fundraiser, which can be found at https://tinyurl.com/mrxz8kpts, stood at £9,140. 

 In April, Bristol City Council gave permission for 196 homes to be built on the site. The plan envisages keeping the gardens open to the public.