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Indoor rainforest zoo, Plantasia, secures BIAZA membership


Plantasia, a rainforest zoo in Swansea, UK, has been awarded provisional membership of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA).

The visitor attraction, which is owned by Swansea Council and managed by leisure operator Parkwood, has more than 40 different species of animal, with more than 10 per cent of those having some conservation concern.

Parkwood took over the management of the attraction in 2019, as part of plans to diversify its facility portfolio.

Plantasia first opened in 1990 but was closed in 2015 due to council cutbacks. The council agreed to invest £1.1m in the zoo and appointed Parkwood to operate it in 2019.

The membership means that Plantasia can now expand its collaborations and its conservation efforts and environmental educational programmes.

BIAZA is the professional body representing zoos and aquariums in the UK and currently has more than 100 members.

Plantasia already participates in the EEP (European Endangered Species Programme) and collaborates with a variety of zoological institutions for the protection and conservation of species. It also breeds several vulnerable and endangered species which include reptiles, amphibians, and fish.

“Attaining BIAZA membership has been a goal for over half a decade, and when Parkwood partnered with Swansea Council as the new operator of Plantasia, there was a joint objective to make it the best visitor attraction and zoo it could be,” said Michael Colwill, Plantasia’s zoo and education manager.

“By being accepted on a provisional status, it will enable Plantasia to achieve much higher standards of animal welfare, education, conservation and scientific research. Hopefully this achievement is just the start of many great things to come.”

Robert Francis-Davies, the council’s cabinet member for investment, regeneration and tourism, said: “Our successful partnership with Parkwood – including a recent £1.1m investment – is delivering a great experience for customers.

"We look forward to the time when it can reopen its doors to visitors and the continued efforts to make Plantasia the best it can be shows that the venue and the council are here for Swansea.”

• To read an interview with Glen Hall, MD of Parkwood on the company’s plans for its UK operations, published in February 2020, click here for Issue 2/2020 of HCM.

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