Working with property consultants Ridge & Partners LLP, construction will begin immediately on the Northern Business Park. This piece of airport-owned land is adjacent to the airfield and will soon have new stables, security fencing and hard standing suitable for the herd of zebras.
The animals will be housed on the site for several months whilst major development takes place at the zoo. Wild Explorers will be Marwell Zoo’s biggest exhibit to date and will house rhino, zebra and scimitar-horned oryx, so the extra space at the airport will greatly assist Marwell. The zebras will return to Marwell in July in time for the opening of their new exhibit and the school holidays.
Southampton Airport already works closely with Marwell and bringing inbound visitors to the local region is a key priority.Partnering with Marwell is perfect for both parties; it cuts the charity’s feeding costs and gives them an additional platform from which to promote the zoo, it allows them more space to move animals around and passengers arriving or taking off from Southampton Airport will have a fantastic view of the Grevy’s zebra right below them.
Neil Garwood, Head of Customer Services at Southampton Airport, said: “We’re currently the number one airport in the UK for service and were already looking on ways to build on this. Having an Airport Zoo gives our passengers a unique experience which they won’t find anywhere else. We’re expecting to see an increase in requests for window seats!”
Ian Goodwin, Collection Manager of Hoofstock at Marwell, added: “Being able to temporarily move our Grevy’s zebra is a great help while building works take place. It’s also a great opportunity for us to promote Marwell to any visitors coming in to the airport. The Grevy’s zebra is a key species for us and there are currently under 3,000 individuals left in the wild. They are a spectacular animal and the biggest of all the zebra species so passengers are really in for a treat.”
To find out more about Wild Explorers visit www.marwell.org.uk