Dunstable woman to take on virtual Royal Parks Half Marathon to boost 'obliterated' zoo income

ZSL runs Whipsnade Zoo and London Zoo

By Holly Patel
Wednesday, 17th March 2021, 10:10 am
Updated Wednesday, 17th March 2021, 10:14 am

A woman from Dunstable is preparing to take on this year's Royal Parks Half Marathon to raise money for ZSL (Zoological Society of London).

Danielle Hearne, ZSL Discovery and Learning Officer at Whipsnade Zoo, decided to take on the challenge to raise much needed funds for ZSL, which has been forced to close it's doors to the public in the national lockdowns, to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

The 42-year-old is hoping to raise £500 when she takes on the Royal Park Half Marathon on Sunday, April 11, the event will be virtual but runners will be able to track their progress on the app.

Danielle at ZSL Whipsnde Zoo (C) ZSL

Danielle said: "The half marathon is a good opportunity for me to do something for ZSL and also for me to get back into running.

"ZSL has always been a massive part of my life. I used to come here as a child, my first job was here, I had my wedding reception here and now I work here in the education department.

"Working for the organisation, I witness first hand how important this conservation work is to help ensure the survival of the amazing variety of species on our planet.

"The current pandemic has obliterated the zoo income that drives this conservation work.

Danielle (C) ZSL

"For the last year I have been working with the animals as a zoo keeper, which is a bit different to what I'm used to where I work with children and on the education team, but I have really enjoyed it.

"Whipsnade Zoo is a place to work and has really helped during the pandemic, being able to come here and see the beautiful views and work with the animals and the education side of the conservation.

"You feel like you are making a difference with the charity, and on the education side."

Danielle is taking on the half marathon after long standing Corporate partner Royal Bank of Canada donated places to ZSL to encourage fundraising.

Danielle is raising money for ZSL (C) ZSL

ZSL is an international conservation charity working to protect endangered animals around the world - through its zoos and in-situ field conservation.

Danielle added: "I would like to raise £500, I have ran two half marathons in the past, but I have not been able to train for the last year because of an injury.

"I'll be running around the local countryside, or maybe even the zoo!

"ZSL is reliant on fundraising at the moment, the zoos income comes from visitors, which we have not had a for a few months.

"It has massively affected the zoo, and the costs to feed the animals and care for them has not stopped, we have also still been doing the conservation work for the charity

"Anything anyone can donate to the zoo is a massive help, whether its through fundraising, becoming a member, or even through the shop.

"Any donation - no matter how small - will make a big difference and I appreciate any support you can give."

To support Danielle with her fundraising for ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, click here.