15th October 2019
The skills base of the new team running Chamber needs to be broad to help our diverse membership. While her day job is the legal sector, Chamber Executive member Hana Plsek is also a former zoo keeper and a fan of new local initiative The Accidental Zoo
As an example of unusual business models, Charlotte and Ryan Le Guilcher’s Accidental Zoo is up there with the best. The couple and their two daughters, Izzy and Tilly, are happily animal obsessed and as their number of family pets continued to grow, they decided that it would be good to share!
The impressive result of that line of thought is now a fantastic initiative which enables children to enjoy a constantly expanding ‘animal family’ at the Le Guilcher’s home, with numbers well over 80 animals. ‘We just wanted to share our love of animals with the public and it is going better than we could ever have hoped,’ said Charlotte.
The Accidental Zoo has had a community aspect from the start, with islanders invited to go along and help prepare the spaces. Volunteers turned up in their droves, which made fencing, building, fitting out and equipping all the easier for this innovative project. Children were welcome too as either helpers or simply there to play.
Once the premises were ready, an open day was held with scores of supporters and a regular programme of events has been held throughout the summer. Visitors have the chance to see everything from pygmy goats to tarantulas.
As a keen former reptile keeper, Hana has played her part by incubating corn snake eggs. ‘It was pretty nerve-racking and there was a moment when I wondered if anything at all was going to appear but, fortunately, some of the eggs did hatch and the snakes are doing really well, growing like mad’ she said.
Charlotte and Ryan identified that Guernsey doesn’t have many opportunities for families to get close to animals and to learn about them in that setting. Talks and awareness sessions have been part of the project and the couple hope to work with schools and youth groups also.
The organisation’s mission statement is ‘to create an engaging, fun and stimulating outdoor learning facility where children get to interact with animals and learn about their welfare, animal husbandry, the outdoor world and conservation.’
Judging by the thousands of people who are helping, visiting and following them on social media, the Accidental Zoo is set to thrive.