I made my first visit to Howletts earlier this week and will only briefly comment on it here. This is because I also want to visit soon Port Lympne. Both Howletts and Port Lympne are run by the Aspinall Foundation and was established by John Aspinall in 1957. His son, Damian, continues his father’s work. The foundation’s objectives are:
- To halt the extinction of rare and endangered species in the wild
- To continue to provide the most natural environment possible for the animals in both parks
- To re-introduce these animals back to their wild habitat where this is possible
- To continue to be world leaders in animal husbandry and breeding
- To be a partner and catalyst to conservation efforts at home and abroad
- Increasing public understanding of animals and their welfare and the issues involved in their conservation
- To manage wilderness areas
- To develop sustainable conservation-minded activities which provide economic benefits on a local and national scale.
There are many positive things to say about Howletts and the way in which the animals are kept; however, the visit raised many issues of concern which I want to consider further and, after visiting Port Lympne, I want to write a more thoughtful post than this brief mention. These issues of concern are not directly to do with the animals’ welfare as they appear to be very well looked after but more about the challenge of an organisation like the Aspinall Foundation (and others) in achieving their objectives.