Once upon a time at a zoo in East Sussex, Zookeepers read popular children’s books to their animals in preparation for World Book Day.

The annual event is being celebrated across the world on Thursday 4th March 2021 and is designed to inspire a love of reading and books in children.

As children all over the globe are getting ready to dress up at home as their favourite fictional characters, Zookeepers at Drusillas Park got into the spirit of things, reading their animals books all kinds of exciting stories!

Drusillas’ Zoo Animal Manager, Mark Kenward, said: “Delivering our animals’ meals in imaginative and unusual ways is part of the zoo’s daily enrichment programme. This ensures they receive a varied and diverse diet, as well as encouraging them to think and work for their food rather than it just being lazily handed to them. This time we hid bits of food around the books to see if it sparked their interest in time for World Book Day!”

“The wallabies were read ‘The Koala who could’, the penguins got stuck into ‘Blown Away’, and the donkeys enjoyed ‘The Wonky Donkey’. Our camels Lofty and Roxy went for something a little different and they read ‘Gigantosaurus’ – a book all about dinosaur roars!”

“The Keepers really enjoyed taking time out to read to them and the animals were certainly more interested in the books than the food!”

Kid the Coati also made herself very comfortable on Head Keeper Gemma’s shoulders to read the ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ by Eric Carle.

As well as reading to their animals, Keepers at Drusillas are encouraging their visitors to make the most of the remaining time in lockdown and pick up a book.

Drusillas Head of Education, James Woodward, said: “Reading is a great way to stimulate a child’s imagination! There are so many wonderful books out there, and hundreds of books about animals. They are a really useful learning tool because they teach children about the animals of the world in an exciting and engaging way. Not all learning has to be sitting in a classroom, some of the best learning come from getting lost in the magic of a good book.”

Located just off the A27 in Alfriston, Drusillas Park will be open daily from 12th April 2021. For more information, please telephone 01323 874100 or visit the website at www.drusillas.co.uk