We caravanners are suckers for an animal encounter – from our pet dogs and cats to the wild foxes and deer we see while we’re out and about with our vans. If you’re missing our furry friends then log on on for some virtual encounters.

Britain’s zoos are high on the list of places to visit when on tour with the family and while we can’t visit in person at present, you can still watch some of the animals via zoos’ webcams. Edinburgh Zoo has trained its cameras (https://www.edinburghzoo.org.uk/webcams) on four species – giant pandas (watch early in the morning or late in the afternoon when they are at their most active), penguins (lots of nesting at the moment), a camera-shy tiger and the sleepy koalas.

Penguins, flamingos and aquariums feature at Marwell Zoo (https://www.marwell.org.uk/zoo/keep-in-touch/webcams) in Hampshire and flamingos, monkeys and meerkats feature in Paignton Zoo in Devon (https://www.paigntonzoo.org.uk/explore/webcams). Cotswolds Wildlife Park (https://www.cotswoldwildlifepark.co.uk/animals-gardens/web-cams/) has its live web cams focused on the penguins and meerkats, while Folly Farm (https://www.folly-farm.co.uk/webcams/) in Wales is keeping its eyes on giraffes, lions, penguins and farm animals. 

We took a peek on a day when it was wet and grey and have to say that most of the animals, aside from the penguins and the barn animals (hardy things) were keeping a low profile. For virtual tours where animals aren’t so shy visit London Zoo (https://www.zsl.org/zsl-london-zoo/) and Whipsnade Zoo (https://www.zsl.org/zsl-whipsnade-zoo/whipsnade-zoo-webcam).

Whichever zoo you tune into, they are all feeling the pinch during the lockdown, with no visitors allowed and therefore no income, zoos are struggling to feed their animals and you will see a request for donations on all their websites.