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With the approach of the festive season, the traditional annual search for Christmas gifts gathers pace. With gifts in mind, the Isle of Wight Zoo has launched its ‘Santa Claws Appeal 2016’ giving the zoo’s animals the chance to also enjoy the spread of Christmas cheer.

Each of the zoo’s animal teams has helped their animals complete a Christmas wish list for Santa. Items include hessian sacks, bottles of perfume for big cat enrichment, hayracks, fruit trees, rabbit treats and broom heads (perfect back scratchers for pigs!). The animals’ Santa Claws wish list is available to download from the zoo’s website at www.isleofwightzoo.com.

As with all Christmas wish lists the zoo animals have also included a few luxury items on their dream lists, in the hope that a special someone will help make their Christmas wishes come true.

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Isle of Wight Zoo director, Charlotte Corney said:

“We really hope that our appeal is successful and that it brings our animals the presents they want and deserve for Christmas. From stocking fillers to luxury gifts there is something on their lists for everyone to choose from”.

A hot rock for Zia and Zena

The zoo’s oldest tigers have brought much joy to Islanders over the years but they sadly lost their favourite resting rock in the winter of 2014 after an exceptionally stormy winter which caused severe damage and finally led to collapse of the structure. The cost of a re-build with an integrated heating system would be £2000.

One year’s supply of chicken breast for Zena  

White tiger Zena sadly suffers from Inflammatory Bowel Disease and is on a special chicken-only diet, with supplements. Prior to diagnosis she lost 20% of her body weight but now does very well on this expensive but beneficial diet which helps to keep her tummy from growling. £600 per month 

Weighing scales for Nahla

One of the zoo’s older cats, lioness Nahla, needs to watch her weight after being spayed (as part of a preventative care programme to guard against gynaecological cancers). Nahla lost her life partner, Charlie Brown, to lymphoma in 2014. Her New Year’s resolution is to maintain her weight under 125kg. Can lions register with Weight Watchers we wonder? £707

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A pool for Simi

The zoo’s newest rescue tiger was confiscated from a circus. Simi made the news in 2015, when her story became the focus of media attention after her plight was mentioned during PM’s Question Time in the House of Commons. Simi has some mobility problems, quite possibly the result of her treatment at the circus. She would benefit from a small pool to relax in and soothe her muscles. She might even be willing to share it with her new friend and next door neighbour Lola. £2000

Enclosure extension for Tequila 

The Zoo’s only jaguar was rescued from a performing animals company. Tequila would very much appreciate a modest extension onto her existing home. This would bring her a little closer to her next door neighbour Nahla, the lion, with whom she loves to interact. £1800

Trapeze apparatus for our spider monkey families

Jackson, Tino, Ella and Millie have recently moved into their new enclosures at the zoo. In the forests of South America spider monkeys swing through the treetops using a hand over hand technique called ‘brachiation’. They would love to hone this skill in their new homes via a purpose built system which would be anchored to the roof structure. £400 (smaller enclosure) £800 (larger enclosure)

Zoo supporters and visitors are able to view the list of smaller gifts on the animal’s wish lists at http://www.isleofwightzoo.com. Gifts can be either sent or placed in the special Santa Claws sack in the Zoo’s reception area. Santa will ensure he loads the sack onto his sleigh on Christmas Eve, ready to deliver the special gifts.

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