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Paignton Zoos gorillas are helping to celebrate Giving Tuesday by painting

Giving Tuesday is a day dedicated to charities, like Paignton Zoo. It is a day of generosity and giving back, to balance the heady mass consumerism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday to support good causes. The Giving Tuesday global campaign has been running in the UK since 2014, and now officially runs in over 70 countries worldwide.

This year has been extremely difficult for us all, but giving to charities in need can make us feel good! 

Paignton Zoo is planning various activities to celebrate Giving Tuesday and raise much-needed funds. As a conservation and education charity, funds raised as part of this campaign will go directly towards the care of their animals and vital wildlife conservation projects.

As the zoo will still be closed on 1st December as part of the national lockdown, all of their activities will be online. Activities will include live Q&As with keepers and live enrichment with the animals through their Facebook and Instagram pages throughout the day. There will be an online auction on eBay of a stunning tiger painting by Torbay artist, Rishi Ludgate, who kindly donated the piece during the first lockdown.

In addition, the zoo will be running a raffle to win an original painting done by the zoo’s Western Lowland gorillas!

Senior keeper, Katie: “At Paignton Zoo, our keepers do what they can to provide enrichment for the animals. Enrichment is anything you can present to animals that encourages them to be stimulated both mentally and physically and generally enhances animal care. It can be sensory such as different smells, textures to touch or even visual. One thing we find our apes like to do is painting!

“Our gorillas find painting fun and enjoyable and you can really see how much they concentrate on what they are doing. The paint used is non-toxic and safe for animals. The canvas used is clean from any zoonosis, as the gorillas do not touch the canvas except when using the tool. If a gorilla licks or touches the end of the tool used to paint, it is swapped for a ‘clean’ one!

“As always with enrichment or training with their keepers, it is always the animal’s choice to take part in activities and the gorillas are never rewarded with food – they simply find painting rewarding enough!”

Tickets cost £2 and can be purchased at www.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/zoo-gorilla-painting-draw until Tuesday 15th December.

Paignton Zoo has set a Giving Tuesday fundraising target of £20,000; this is the cost of running the zoo for a day. Anyone wishing to support the zoo by making a donation can do so in a number of ways:

•    Online via www.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/paigntonzoo-givingtuesday
•    By text by texting PZOOGIVING to 70085, to donate £10
•    By cheque made payable to South West Environmental Parks sent to Giving Tuesday Campaign, Paignton Zoo, Totnes Road, Paignton TQ4 7EU

Details of all of the Giving Tuesday activities are here: www.paigntonzoo.org.uk/support-us/

Paignton Zoo would like to thank everyone who has supported them so far during this very challenging year. 

Paignton Zoo is part of Wild Planet Trust. They are both registered charities striving to conserve species and habitats, and to inspire and empower people to help in the fight to protect wildlife. For more information visit www.paigntonzoo.org.uk and www.wildplanettrust.org.uk.

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