We last visited the Isle of Wight Zoo (now known as Wildheart Animal Sanctuary) in 2015 and were keen to revisit during our trip to the island this year, to learn more about the rebranding and of course, to see the beautiful animals. The IOW Zoo became The Wildheart Animal Sanctuary in April 2021, to better reflect the purpose of this rescue centre. Not a typical zoo, Wildheart have not bred animals for a number of years, to focus their resources on protecting and giving a ‘forever home’ to animals who need it. It’s easy to see how much compassion the keepers have, one whilst feeding the racoons sat down on the floor to offer some affection and it was clear one of the racoons did not want her to leave! Some of these animals were rescued from the pet trade, others from the circus, including the two brothers Vigo and Kumba, pictured above in the final row. Yes, despite having no manes, these lions are both male. Rescued from a travelling circus, the poor babies had been castrated before the age of one, meaning they did not develop manes. The Wildheart Trust’s founder, Charlotte, would much rather see these animals thriving in the wild and hopes centres such as this will not need to exist in the future, but for now, while the problems caused by humans continue, wildlife parks and sanctuaries will remain an essential part of the fight to save the natural world.