Christmas Pick-up for the animals of ZSL Whipsnade

Christmas has come early for the animals at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, which has taken delivery of two Ford Ranger Raptors.

The tiger-liveried 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.

Duties for the Raptors include helping keepers transport food, bedding and feeding or activity toys around across the 600-acre nature haven. The other vehicle is currently spreading Christmas joy as a stand-in for Santa’s sleigh, entertaining visitors who returned on 2nd December after a second enforced closure due to COVID-19. More than one million people visit Whipsnade and London Zoo combined each year.

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.

Owen Craft, ZSL Whipsnade Zoo Chief Operating Officer, said: ““As an international conservation charity this year has been challenging for us. 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 worlds most endangered animals.”

The Ranger Raptor’s Quickclear windscreen will prove useful for the early morning starts, while the heated seats will help to keep keepers warm during winter.

Mike Laird, Ranger Product Manager, Ford of Europe, said: “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!”

Raptor is built to withstand high-impact, off-road events, thanks to its unique, super-strong reinforced chassis frame, which uses high-strength, low-alloy steels to endure the high-performance off-road driving. FOX shock absorbers with Position Sensitive Damping provide higher damping forces for unparalleled off-road capability. Its 1,560 by 1,575mm load tray has been designed with the weekend explorer in mind, able to carry dirt bikes or jet-skis, but will happily accommodate hay bales, too.

ZSL’s keepers will also be able to choose from six Terrain Management System modes to tackle a wide range of terrain and driving scenarios, including:

  • Normal mode – emphasising comfort, fuel economy and driveability
  • Sport mode – more responsive for spirited on-road driving
  • Grass/Gravel/Snow mode – designed to inspire safe and confident driving on off-road slippery and uneven surfaces
  • Mud/Sand mode – tuning vehicle responses for optimum traction and momentum in deep, deformable surfaces like loose sand and mud
  • Rock mode – specifically for low-speed rocky terrain where smooth controllability is key
  • Baja mode – tuning responses for high-speed off-road performance

Find out more about the Ranger Raptor