The animals at Whipsnade Zoo are celebrating Christmas early thanks to the delivery of a pair of Ford Ranger Raptor pickup trucks.
Wrapped in tiger print, the Raptors are being put to good use across the UK’s largest zoo, tasked with feeding some of its 3,500 animals, many of which are endangered or extinct in the wild.
The keepers at Whipsnade Zoo will be using the Ranger Raptor pickups to transport food, bedding and feeding or activity toys across the 600-acre zoo. The Ranger Raptor should have no issue coping with the zoo’s off-road demands, thanks to its reinforced chassis frame and FOX shock absorbers, amongst many other upgrades over the regular Ford Ranger. Its 1,560 by 1,575mm load tray is as capable of carrying dirt bikes or jet-skis as it is hay bales and animal feed, making it suitable for weekend lifestyle use, too.
One truck was spreading Christmas joy as a stand-in for Santa’s sleigh after the park had reopened to visitors on 2nd December following a second COVID-19 enforced closure. Unfortunately, the zoo has once again closed thanks to being in a Tier 4 area.
While families won’t be visiting and seeing the animals over the Christmas period, the work at the zoo continues. Whipsnade is part of ZSL (Zoological Society of London), an international conservation charity working to create a world where wildlife thrives.
Ford is also loaning ZSL London Zoo a congestion charge and low emission zone-exempt Transit Custom plug-in Hybrid in the new year to assist with inner-city logistics and transporting goods to and from each site.
“As an international conservation charity this year has been challenging for us,” commented Owen Craft, ZSL Whipsnade Zoo chief operating officer. “We have keenly felt the pressures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we and our sister site ZSL London Zoo, were forced to close for a total of 16 weeks each, putting us under huge financial strain and impacting our global conservation efforts. We are grateful to Ford for this loan, which is helping our keepers to care for some of the world’s most endangered animals.”
Mike Laird, Ranger product manager at Ford of Europe, added: “The Ranger Raptor is a workhorse, but on this occasion, it’s working alongside the horses. These visually striking pick-up trucks will become as much of a visitor attraction as the animals themselves, not least because Ranger Raptors stay still for photos!”