A gift from the sky for Twycross Zoo

Great apes at Twycross Zoo have received a generous gift from a very unlikely donor. The largest station in the Royal Air Force and home to the RAF Transport Fleet, RAF Brize Norton spotted a novel way of recycling discarded cargo nets by donating twelve of these to Twycross Zoo to enrich the habitats for the chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans and bonobos.



The nets, previously used to safely restrain military equipment in RAF transport aircraft on military exercises and operations all around the world, have been installed in multiple enclosures in an effort to provide a more complex environment for great apes. The brilliant idea to re-use the nets came from RAF Squadron Leader Jayne Lindley’s Keeper for a Day experience at Twycross Zoo where she was able to learn about the intricacies of looking after various species of exotic animals.

Jayne has seen that apart from providing the basic care, keepers are kept busy creating enrichment to exercise the apes’ minds and bodies. Twycross Zoo is the only zoo in the UK to have every type of great ape (gorilla, orangutan, chimpanzee and bonobo), all of which require attention and stimulation to keep them physically and mentally active and socially interactive.

In compliance with international regulations, after being used for a certain number of years, the nets are deemed no longer suitable for securing cargo and the RAF needs to dispose of them. However, for the apes at Twycross Zoo these nets are perfectly safe. Thanks to Jayne Lindley the apes now enjoy climbing on a more diverse network of interconnected straps, which the zoo has been using before, as well as the new nets.

Simon Childs, Great Apes Team Leader at Twycross Zoo says, “We are grateful to Squadron Leader Jayne Lindley, who convinced the RAF to donate their used cargo nets to the zoo. These nets have been fantastic in enriching the habitats for our apes, giving them more usable and complicated environments off the ground. We can now scatter some of their snacks on the nets, making them climb up and encouraging them to move as they would in the wild.”

Squadron Leader Jayne Lindley, a Logistics Officer in the RAF and a keen wildlife enthusiast says, “The RAF is delighted to donate cargo nets to Twycross Zoo to help provide enrichment for their apes in support of the amazing conservation work they do. The nets were previously used for safely flying equipment around the world in RAF transport aircraft such as the Hercules C130, loaded by RAF ‘movers’ which is one of over 50 exciting roles in the RAF.”

Twycross Zoo is open to the public from 10.00 to 18.00. For more information and to book tickets visit www.twycrosszoo.org or call 0844 474 1777.