Renowned birds of prey centre closes to visitors

By Forester Reporter   |   Reporter   |
Saturday 26th February 2022 7:00 am
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International Birds of Prey Centre director, Jemima Parry-Jones

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The International Birds of Prey Centre at Newent closed its doors to the public last week – but it will continue with its conservation work.

The centre is to move from Newent after nearly 55 years and continue as a private charity in another location.

It welcomed its final visitors last Wednesday (February 16) – although its owl evenings and experience will continue until March 16.

The centre’s director, Jemima Parry-Jones, said: “Despite cost saving measures and widely supported fundraising efforts from the charity, the impacts of Covid have been too great.

“Thanks to the furlough scheme and the dedication of the staff and volunteers, the charity zoo survived the worst of the pandemic and therefore, were ineligible to receive support funds from the Government’s extensively debated Zoo Support Fund and Zoo Animal Fund.

“This, coupled with the ever-increasing costs of running a zoo, our location and aging infrastructure have forced the difficult decision to close to the public in order to allow the charity to continue its work.

“However, ICBP is viewing this step as a new phase in its long history and is excited by the prospect of contributing to conservation in different ways.

“Its new facility will be focussed on conservation breeding, building on the knowledge and expertise already fostered from involvement with projects such as Saving Asia’s Vultures from Extinction.

“It will also be using the opportunity to develop its ability to deliver new and innovative,specialist courses and lectures to support the wider conservation community.

“This is a bittersweet time for ICBP, an end of an era and this part of its life, but also a great opportunity.

“The charity would like to thank all staff, volunteers, members and visitors – both past and present – for their support and dedication.

“It is hoped that supporters are as excited as the charity is for these next steps, and updates will be available via the website and newsletters.”

The centre was founded in May 1967 as the Falconry Centre by Phillip Glasier and family.

It is the oldest dedicated bird of prey centre in the world and has worked, under the direction of Glasier’s daughter Jemima Parry-Jones, to conserve birds of prey both at home and internationally.

She said: “ICBP has been the whole of my life for its 55 years, a lifetime of commitment to birds of prey.

“Over the years many other people have also been involved with and assisted ICBP, so this change has been a very difficult decision.

“However it is vitally important for us not to lose that work,and the ethics behind it all, that has been given so freely.

“We are taking this step in order to consolidate our knowledge and expertise, reduce our workload and costs and look forwards to slightly different and exciting conservation tasks ahead.”

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