Gold for Green Tourism at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm
8th January 2014
At Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm we’re starting the year as we mean to go on by scooping a glittering gold award for green tourism!
The team at Noah’s Ark, Wraxall, near Bristol, got the great news over the festive period – making for a surprise Christmas present for all! The zoo has achieved the highest level Gold award with the Green Tourism Business Scheme (GTBS), the world’s leading sustainable grading scheme.
We’re the first and only zoo in the south west of England to achieve the highly prized accreditation. The GTBS recognises the hard work by staff at sites like Noah’s Ark to make their practices as environmentally sustainable as possible. Assessments took place at the end of last year and have now boosted our credentials from the silver grade we were awarded in 2009 when we joined the scheme. This was a strong start recognising the local conservation and recycling work being championed at Noah’s Ark. Since then we’ve invested significantly in renewable energy and waste management systems to further advance the zoo’s sustainable operation. Our new 20-acre Elephant Eden habitat boasts bright environmental credentials. Run by solar power, biomass heating and recycled water, Eden is one of the greenest zoo exhibits in Europe.
It’s also set to revolutionise life for captive elephants, offering them more space than anywhere else in Western Europe in a stimulating and enriching environment reminiscent of their natural habitats. Eden is awaiting the arrival of its first elephants, who are completing their Protected Contact training at their current home before heading to the Ark. GTBS assessors were impressed with the considerable funds invested in innovative green projects at Noah’s Ark – our elephant project has cost over £2 million, assisted by grant funding from DEFRA. The report also praised the quantities of waste recycled at the zoo and the integration of renewable energy sources onsite, from wind through to solar and heat power.
We join just three other zoos in the UK who have acquired the top Green Tourism accolade. Anthony Bush, owner of Noah’s Ark, said he was thrilled with the recognition: “As a team we’ve been working hard to develop Noah’s Ark in an environmentally and socially sustainable way, considering local wildlife and the communities in our area. “I have a commitment to create a park which can be responsibly enjoyed by future generations, not just this one, so we value our membership to the excellent Green Tourism Business Scheme and are thrilled to achieve Gold.”
Since the last audit we’ve also improved our communication of green issues and projects to visitors, with useful displays and posters explaining the importance of green tourism and sustainability found around the South West attraction. As well as offering daily events like our popular interactive Animal Show and Big Cat Talk, staff are always on hand to explain our green practices. Visitors can also join one of the two daily tours of our eco elephant house, making for an interesting part of a day out in Bristol. Further green improvements are planned for the year ahead, focusing on more recycling, including food waste from our increasingly busy café. Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm is open on Saturdays only in January, from 10:30am – 4pm. Normal weekday opening from Monday – Saturday, 10:30am – 5pm, will resume on February 1st like previous years.
For more information or to book tickets, please visit the Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm website or call 01275 852606.