5th January 1973

Guernsey Zoo is sold as a going concern

Guernsey Zoo, which was once one of Guernsey’s most popular tourist attractions, was sold on 5 January 1973. The owners, Mr and Mrs Ronald Smart, had organised with Knight Frank and Rutley to market it to potential buyers for sale as a going concern.

The unusual advert for an “attractive fully furnished period house with six bedrooms” also listed a baby elephant, chimpanzees, baboons, bears, llamas and exotic birds housed in cages and aviaries, many of them heated for the winter, on a two-and-a-quarter acre site.

The sale also included a children’s farmyard, tea bar, gift shop, “piped music”, garages, and parking for 250 cars. Although the advert didn’t state a price, news reports surrounding its eventual sale said that it went for around £70,000.

International programmes

The Zoo had been very successful in its time. It started work on a United Nations of wildlife in the 1960s, and in 1967 received a gift of deer and squirrels from Moscow Zoo on behalf of the government of the Soviet Union. The following year, it took in a four-month-old Himalayan bear that had been adopted by soldiers in Vietnam after its mother had been killed by flying shrapnel.

Perhaps its greatest success, though, had come with the 1967 birth of a parma wallaby which, according to the London Zoological Society, was possibly the first to have been successfully bred in captivity. This particular breed of wallaby was almost extinct, except on a 5000-acre island off New Zealand. It was later found to also be living on the eastern coast of Australia.

The zoo’s eventual closure (it became the Guernsey Bird Garden, which has also since closed down) left the Durrell Wildlife Park in Jersey as the only zoological establishment in the Channel Islands.


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Other events that occured in January

Alderney elects its first president 1st
Guille and Alles open their library 2nd
Guernsey bans smoking in public places 3rd
Guernsey Press registers its domain 4th
Guernsey Zoo is sold as a going concern 5th
Guernsey opens its wartime files
Guernsey Police moves to its new headquarters 6th
Guernsey Fisher makes its maiden voyage 7th
Work begins on the Val des Terres 8th
A hotel porter goes on trial for murder 9th
Guernsey Police Service appoints its first inspector 10th
Royal theft inquiry heads to Guernsey 11th
Channel Express Airways plane crashes in Guernsey 12th
Sibyl Hathaway, Dame of Sark, is born 13th
Channel Television disappears 14th
Benefactor Osmond de Beauvoir Priaulx dies 15th
MV Prosperity is wrecked at Perelle 16th
Guernsey’s Royal Court sits for the first time 17th
Doctor Who travels to Guernsey 18th
Channel 4 gameshow Treasure Hunt comes to Guernsey 19th
Hanois Lighthouse is cut off by the weather 20th
Guernsey-built prototype plane crashes 21st
Guernsey Steam Tramway stops running 22nd
Radiant Med sinks with loss of life 23rd
Guernsey wins gold at the Commonwealth Games 24th
Sark is awarded Dark-Sky status 25th
Guernsey passengers are battered by storms 26th
Sir Isaac Newton has his say on a mysterious Guernsey invention 27th
Guernsey’s last witch trial takes place 28th
Guernsey poet George Métivier is born 29th
The States of Guernsey proposes a new airport 30th
Guernsey lifeboat performs a chemical tanker rescue 31st