London Zoo An Extraordinary Year
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London Zoo: An Extraordinary Year viewers weep as zookeeper bids farewell to her sea lions

The sea lions family were moving to another zoo

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London Zoo: An Extraordinary Year on ITV got off to an emotional start last night, when one of its zookeepers wept at the thought of saying goodbye to her beloved sea lions.

During the first episode of the documentary series, aired last night (Thursday, September 24), Alex revealed she was bidding farewell to the sea lions she had looked after for years.

Alex on London Zoo: An Extraordinary Year
Alex on London Zoo: An Extraordinary Year was upset because her sea lions were moving (Credit: ITV)

What happened with the sea lions on London Zoo: An Extraordinary Year?

They were moving from Whipsnade Zoo, a sister location of London Zoo, to another site.

Alex explained: “My furry family are leaving…”

Alex on London Zoo: An Extraordinary Year
The zookeeper had cared for the animals for years (Credit: ITV)

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Her voice then faltered and she said, fighting through tears: “Erm, yeah. They’re all going to somewhere else! I will definitely feel their loss massively. They’re my life and they’re going.

“I feel like my heart has been absolutely ripped out.

“I’ve got one more job left to do and that will be to make sure their journey is as relaxed and comfortable [as it can be].”

They’re my life and they’re going. I feel like my heart has been absolutely ripped out.

She continued: “I wish I could tell them that, when I close the door, it’s going to be fine and you’re going to be alright. But you can’t tell them, can you?”

It also showed one of the sea lions giving Alex a big hug – and their goodbyes had some viewers in tears.

Alex on London Zoo: An Extraordinary Year
At one point on London Zoo: An Extraordinary Year, she got a big hug off one of her beloved sea lions (Credit: ITV)

What did viewers say about London Zoo: An Extraordinary Year?

Reacting on Twitter, one ITV viewer said: “Aww that poor keeper is heartbroken #LondonZoo.”

Another wrote: “Hugging the sea lions goodbye. Disappointed but relieved face #londonzoo.”

A third tweeted: “#TheZoo #LondonZoo the sea lion story is breaking me #leakyeyes.”

Someone else put: “Omg when that seal hugged and kissed the carer #LondonZoo.”

A fifth said: “@OfficialZSL Wonderful staff. You had me in tears more than once. Thank you for caring #londonzoo.”

Another, tearful from the get-go, confessed: “Five seconds into #LondonZoo and I’m crying already.”

https://twitter.com/randomsunrises/status/1309227566558056452

Later in the episode, Alex wiped away tears as she admitted: “I don’t even know afterwards if I want to be a zookeeper.”

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But she was overjoyed when she revealed that, because of the coronavirus lockdown, they had decided not to move the sea lion family.

“How COVID-19 has changed [life] at the zoo – all animal moves are off!” she said. “Which means I get to spend more time with my babies. At the minute, I’m living in my bubble at Whipsnade.”

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