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Ilford woman missing work at the zoo discovers borough’s wildlife during daily lockdown walk

PUBLISHED: 12:00 20 May 2020 | UPDATED: 12:07 20 May 2020

Lauren West has been documenting her daily lockdown walks as part of her 2.6 challenge to raise money for ZSL. Picture: Lauren West

Lauren West has been documenting her daily lockdown walks as part of her 2.6 challenge to raise money for ZSL. Picture: Lauren West

Archant

An Ilford woman is rediscovering the wildlife closer to home out on her daily lockdown walks while raising money for London Zoo.

Lauren West has been documenting her daily lockdown walks as part of her 2.6 challenge to raise money for ZSL. Picture: Lauren WestLauren West has been documenting her daily lockdown walks as part of her 2.6 challenge to raise money for ZSL. Picture: Lauren West

Lauren West, 33, works for the conservation charity Zoological Society of London (ZSL) which runs the zoo in Regents Park.

But she was furloughed at the start of the lockdown.

Lauren misses her job helping conserve the world’s wildlife so while she’s stuck at home she decided to take part in the 2.6 challenge, doing a 10k walk every day for 26 consecutive days raising money for ZSL.

And while out on her daily walks Lauren photographs the interesting wildlife she encounters in the parks and streets across Redbridge, from baby birds to donkeys.

Lauren said she is lucky to be in lockdown in the borough because “whether Fairlop Waters or Hainault Forest, we are so lucky to have so much beauty in our area”.

She has worked for ZSL for almost two years and it was her childhood dream to be able to work with animals.

She said the closure of the London zoo during the pandemic has been unprecedented.

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“Not only do ZSL help save our wildlife through the support of those visiting London Zoo and Whipsnade Zoo, but London Zoo is a big part of history.

“The last time we were closed was during the Blitz and that was only for two weeks. London Zoo opened after this time to raise morale.”

Lauren said she can’t wait until the pandemic is over and she can get back to work.

She said: “I love my job. I can hear the critically endangered Asiatic lions roar from my desk and visit the giraffes and the donkeys in my break - it’s basically living the dream!

A forest in Brentwood. Picture: Lauren WestA forest in Brentwood. Picture: Lauren West

“Everyone at ZSL is working towards one common goal - the protection of wildlife.

“It’s inspiring to be part of the solution, every day.”

ZSL’s director general, Dominic Jermey has said the charity faces an existential challenge in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.

To follow Lauren’s walks or contribute to her fundraiser visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/lauren-west24

Have you spotted any interesting wildlife on your daily lockdown walks around Redbridge?

She spotted a caterpillar on one walk. Picture: Lauren WestShe spotted a caterpillar on one walk. Picture: Lauren West

Send your pictures to roy.chacko@archant.co.uk


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