The Wildheart Trust

The Wildheart Trust is a registered charity which is dedicated to realising its global ambitions to make a meaningful impact on the health of the natural world while actively improving the well-being of animals in human care. The Trust runs the Isle of Wight Zoo and provides governance for its conservation aims.

The Trust has a unique and intimate style of engaging, involving and empowering people from the heart and the head. It sees one of its most important challenges being to convert ‘care’ into ‘action’.

With the ‘Sixth Extinction’ crisis looming time is of the essence to encourage an inclusive and participatory approach to conservation/restoration of the natural world so that everyone can play a vital role in preserving as much biodiversity as possible.

The Trust currently provides funding and technical support to in-situ conservation programmes for tigers in India, lemurs in Madagascar and native species here in the UK. The Trust has ambitions to grow its in-situ conservation.

Animal welfare is top of the agenda at the Zoo with the emphasis on treating each animal as an individual. The compassionate and skilled animal care teams are supported by a talented and dedicated body of veterinary advisors. The Trust is also committed to raising awareness and influencing improvements to animal welfare externally across a range of areas from pet ownership to the consumption of animal products.

Leading on from this, another central function of the Trust lies in providing forever homes for big cats and other exotic animals which have been rescued from circuses or the pet trade. Big cat care has been at the heart of the Zoo for several decades and it is now internationally renowned for its work in this specialist area. While the animal residents are not exclusively from a rescue background, priority is given to rescue individuals when seeking animal ambassadors for educational causes.

The Wildheart Trust is a young, dynamic and determined charity which is flourishing under the care of its Trustees and the commitment of its team. It was founded by Charlotte Corney, former CEO of the Isle of Wight Zoo. She inherited the zoo from her parents, Jack and Judith Corney and has dedicated her life to conservation and animal welfare. Her partner, Chris Packham, is a Trustee of The Wildheart Trust and champions its cause.

This is a critical time for the Trust as it evolves as a gateway to possible solutions which aim to correct the imbalance humans have brought about in our world. It believes that everyone is a custodian of the planet and has the capacity to be a part of this movement.


Our mission is: To inspire and empower people to take positive action to protect our planet and the animals we share it with

In turn we hope that this would lead us to make a large impact on our vision which is one WHERE PEOPLE CARE AND CONSERVE OUR PLANET AND THE ANIMALS WE SHARE IT WITH.

We have five aims in support of our mission and these are that:

  1. We CONNECT people to animals and the environment
  2. We PARTNER with and support organisations worldwide at the frontlines of conservation, sustainability and animal welfare.
  3. We provide REFUGE for rescued big cats who are in need of a lifelong home.
  4. We provide the highest standards of WELFARE for all the animals in our care.

Our Trustees

Charlotte Corney


Charlottes parents bought the IOW Zoo when she was a baby. She grew up helping to evolve it from the ‘Slum Zoo of Britain’ into a well-respected centre for the care and conservatio...

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Christopher Packham


Chris is a naturalist, broadcaster and author. When he was knee-high to a grasshopper he fell head over heels for ladybirds and other native animals living in his back garden. He s...

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David Tipple


David acts as a non-executive director supporting businesses to develop and deliver commercially focussed strategies using his proven ability to manage projects that deliver cost e...

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Kit Sturgess


Kit has been a veterinary surgeon for over 30 years working in a variety of roles in private practice and the universities including setting up and running a large referral practic...

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Alexia Fishwick


"I've actively loved wildlife all my life, from running my local nature club at the age of seven to being a Trustee at the Wild Heart Trust forty years later!” says Alexia Fishwick...

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Ashley Smith


Ashley is a founder and Life President of the Hawk Conservancy near Andover, Hampshire, and was instrumental in establishing it as a conservation charitable Trust in 2004. He has w...

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The Wildheart Trust is expanding its board of Trustees and is therefore seeking to appoint up to four new candidates who will share the drive and passion of the existing Board while having relevant skills and experience to help lead the Trusts five year development strategy.

This is a critical time, demanding energy and dedication for all involved so if you have a strong empathy for the aims and objectives of the Trust (see above) alongside a professional background with demonstrable leadership skills the please read our advert.

The skill areas we are particularly interested in recruiting are:

  • Human Resources
  • Fundraising/Income generation
  • Marketing/Commercial
  • Legacy/Trust Fund Management

Applications are open until 27th October 2018. If you are interested please apply to Heather Love for the application pack.

Support Us

Modern science is constantly re-framing our perception of how animals think and feel and this only motivates us to try even harder to improve their well-being. Our animals benefit from bespoke care from people who become their friends and family.

One of our most treasured aims as a charity is to give safe and loving forever homes to big cats and other animals which have been abused in circuses and the pet trade and we do this through the Isle of Wight Zoo. The Zoo relies on admissions and donations to run and any financial help whether big or small is really appreciated. Here are a few ways that you can help The Wildheart Trust in its fundraising efforts:

  • Come and visit the Isle of Wight Zoo – see for yourself the difference we are making to the lives of our rescued animals and find out how their wild relatives are adapting to life with an even increasing human population.
  • Support The Wildheart Trust with a cash donation which can either be made on The Wildheart Trust ‘Just Giving’ page or by posting a cheque (made out the The Wildheart Trust) to the Isle of Wight Zoo, Sandown, IOW, PO36 8QB
  • Adopt one of our animals. This can be done in our shop at the Isle of Wight Zoo – or by contacting our retail team.
  • Become a volunteer at the Isle of Wight Zoo. For more information please email our volunteer coordinator.
  • Book an animal experience with us – this is a guaranteed way of meeting our animals up close and personal alongside one of our animal carers.
  • Fundraise for the zoo – please contact us for a fundraising pack.