Monday, 30 August 2010

A letter of praise and commendation from a passionate visitor to the Park

Hello Ms. Brittan,

I introduced myself to you yesterday in front of the Tortoiseshell Cafe to make you aware as to how wonderful Seaview Wildlife Encounter is. You very kindly gave me a card with the above email addresss on it. Please read below;

The Seaview Wildlife Encounter is a superb wildlife attraction that will appeal to all the family. Admission fee is extremely good value and discounts are available in I.O.W. Attraction booklets. The site is immaculate with very well tendered gardens, water features which are a clever part of certain animal enclosures, a well stocked and clean gift shop, clean and tidy cafe which offers hot & cold lunches, desserts, drinks and ices, and clean toilets  (my visit began at the start of the day and it was clearly evident that the lavatories had just been cleaned and were still presentable over four hours later.). The animal enclosures are spacious and very well cared for. The animals are fed at various times throughout the day which form part of a list of enclosures to visit at those times. The animals all looked content with their surroundings and were fit and well. Signs made visitors aware of active breeding programmes and there was evidence of this in the Breeding Enclosures. There is an immaculate tropical house with free flying exotic birds, huge carp in pools and well tendered plants. There are many features to visit and explore and the highlights for me were: the many wildfowl which wander freely about the estate which visitors can feed with seed available upon entry, being able to have close contact with very friendly Wallabies, the breeding enclosures were super with many young birds being visible, the Willow Walk by the lake was a joy and was very popular with other visitors, and the Humboldt Penguins were great entertainment. Overall, the site is wonderful in very many respects and will appeal to people of all ages.

All staff were polite and I made my comments known to friendly, professional management (before I met two of the management, I witnessed a member of staff who I later discovered was one of the Directors going round litter picking) and they were very grateful as to my comments. It was a well spent six hours and a very good attraction on the island. Very highly recommended.

Above are my comments and they are based on a review that I've entered on which will appear during the next few days once the web site have evalued it. Unfortunately, my review will be the only one as when I entered Seaview's details onto the web site, it came back as 'No trace'!

Thank you for a lovely day and I hope that I didn't delay your well deserved lunch too much.

Very kind regards, Nigel Caldicott.

killer whale eats eskimo (courtesy of u-tube!)




Regular followers of our Blog will remember the amazing story we released a few weeks ago about a young Kookaburra and a rare Madagascar Teal duckling becoming friends here at the Park.   We released images to the media and subsequently received calls and emails from various publications and wildlife enthusiasts across both the UK and the US. 


Solent News


The image (left) is a reminder of what our ‘odd couple’ looked like 3 weeks ago!  This close bonding took place initially between one duckling and an abandoned Kookaburra chick – however soon after this photo was taken all 3 ducklings from the batch were given the opportunity to cuddle up to ‘Kookie’.  The relationship between these two species is particularly unusual because normally they would be prey and predator (Kookaburras are known to eat the young of other bird species as a normal part of their diet).




Kookie (2) 30 Aug 10 (resized



The image on the right shows Kookie as of this morning – considerably more glamorous than the half-bald, prehistoric-looking small bird in the initial photo shoot of a few week’s ago!  We’ve sent in a sample of Kookie’s feather’s to be DNA tested – in order to determine the sex of the bird (I have a sneaking suspicion Kookie’s a ‘she’!)





Kookie & 3 ducklings 30 Aug 10 (resized)


Just look at how they’ve all grown …..!

The image on the left shows Kookie and the three rare Madagascar Teal ducklings photographed in an outdoor aviary this morning.  The foursome are now spending their days enjoying the late summer sunshine outside and are brought indoors to a warm enclosure at night. 





Kookie & 2 ducklings 30 Aug 10



Kookie and the ducklings were pictured hiding in the grass on the floor of their aviary earlier this morning.  Kookie is now spending more time perching on branches and the ducks are starting to venture more adventurously away from her ….. so it’ll be interesting to see how long their relationship continues and whether a separation of the species will occur instinctively as they mature.

Friday, 27 August 2010

Fabulous Quotes from our Visitors Book

" What a great day out and such value. Not seen a grumpy member of staff all day. Thank you all so much!!" The Wallace's, Shropshire

" Still lovely - haven't missed a year since you opened!". J. Wickens, Havenstreet, IOW

" Fantastic place, everyone was pleasant and caring - thank you" Kate Aston, Sheffield

" I really enjoyed looking at all the animals and taking some great photographs - my favourite animals were definately the penguins and the meerkats as they were so full of life and amusing to watch. Feeding the penguins and stroking the wallabies and guinea pigs was brilliant and really hands-on" Becca, Ashford Kent.

" I would love to say what a fab day we all had, we enjoyed the choice of activities we could do and the amount of different animals you have, most of all we enjoyed the Tropical House with the different birds flying around you. Thank you" Smith & Piggin Family

" Absolutely fabulous park, will definately recommend to others. Clean, friendly and well kept and the animals are clearly loved and looked after. Well done to all" The Bushells, Manchester

" After visiting Blackgang Chine yesterday I was apprehensive about doing another day out anywhere as didn't want to be disappointed again. BUT here is a great place, friendly people and educational. Fantastic!" Sarah Goodchild, Birmingham

" A most friendly atmosphere! I will come again - thank you" Terry Carter, Portsmouth

Thursday, 26 August 2010

KEEPER FOR A DAY – Denise Gormer – 25 August 2010

Denise Gormer & Wallabies (re-sized)

Denise & Wallabies (3) resized

Denise Gormer was treated to being a Keeper for a Day at Seaview Wildlife by her husband as a birthday present.

Denise is a born and bred Islander who has worked for the Council for the past decade. Despite the rather inclement weather conditions, Denise absolutely loved being outdoors, close to nature, working with the animals, birds (and members of the public!)

Denise said she’d had a ‘fantastic day’ and didn’t want it to end. These images capture some of the fun and joy she experienced!

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

KEEPER FOR A DAY – Katrina Catling


Katrina with Dippy (2) lighter & resized Katrina with Dippy (5) resized

Katrina joined us as a Keeper for a Day today (24th August).  Katrina, aged 13, lives with her family in East Cowes; they’ve been visiting the Park ever since Katrina was little and today was a treat for Katrina who is hoping to work with animals as a career once she has completed school.

Katrina said she had had a brilliant day!  She particularly enjoyed the Penguins.  These images were taken of Katrina at the Penguin pool earlier this afternoon – having a cuddle with Dippy (who obviously took quite a shine to her!)

We look forward to seeing you again soon Katrina and hope you’ll stay in touch.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Quotes of the week from our Visitors Book

" This Park has high standards. All the animals clean and well cared for - lovely to see. Food and service great will come again - thank you" Ryde, IOW

" Beautiful Park, friendly staff - helpful & cheerful. Very clean Park. Congratulations. To be well recommended. Food very good value" Mrs. A. Milner, Kent

" Fantastic experience. Particularly enjoyed the snake as I own one! Will recommend again and again and again and again. Keep up the fabulous work!!!" Derek, Chessington

" Absolutely outstanding place and very well looked after. All staff friendly & helpful. Couldn't have visited a better place. Will highly recommend and prices very reasonable. Well done" Debbie, Kent

" Another great visit - we always recommend to our guests. Best place on the Island" Mrs. Hobbs, Shanklin, IOW

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Humphrey all grown up!

Humphrey was hand reared by our Animal Keepers last year and was born with a curvature of the spine. Despite all our concerns for Humphrey he has proven to be a fighting fit penguin and is looking especially proud and handsome since coming through his first moult!

It's a shame however that the same can't be said for Dippy!

Although he has finally come through his annual moult, it seems our Dippy, like many of our other penguins, is a little reluctant to go into the water and put his new waterproof feathers to the test. Hopefully he will have had a good wash off ready for his trip on the hover craft on Monday!

Thursday, 19 August 2010



Hover Travel and the Multi-Award Winning Seaview Wildlife Encounter are combining forces with the Isle Of Wight Walking Festival in offering a new, eco-friendly option to the discerning traveller/walker/adventurer!

Travelling by Hovercraft from Southsea to Ryde takes only 8 exhilaring minutes! By leaving your cars behind visitors to the Island can get closer to nature - heading off on foot or by bike from the Ryde Hover Terminal along the scenic seafront towards Seaview Wildlife ( a gentle, half-hour walk or ten minute cycle ride). Once at the Park visitors can stroll in amongst many rare birds and animals, take refreshments before either extending their walk to the beautiful Priory Bay area and beach or heading back on their return Solent crossing.

On Monday 23rd August, 2010 Dippy the Penguin will be at the launch - Hover Travel are chartering a hover just for Dippy's crossing to Southsea on the mainland where he will be the mascot for the event. The Media are invited to travel on the hover leaving at 10.30am Monday 23rd August from the Ryde Terminal, arriving Southsea at just before 10.40am where a short, fun photo shoot will ensue!!

Wednesday, 18 August 2010


 Olivia Richards with Flopsy & Mopsy (re-sized) 17 Aug 10

Olivia’s 15th birthday present from her parents was the gift of being a ‘Keeper For A Day’ – this took place yesterday (17 August).

The Richard’s family has been visiting the Park every year for the past 16 years – so Olivia knows the Park well and was eager to be involved in various Animal Care duties.  Tara, our Head Keeper said that Olivia was a real help and was a pleasure to have as a member of the Team! 

Olivia who lives in South Croydon, Surrey,  is hoping to work with animals in the future.  She’s hoping to be able to gain ‘work experience’ in animal husbandry  next year as part of her practical training.

In terms of feedback at the end of her day with us, Olivia said she loved it – especially spending time our two adorable bunnies – Flopsy and Mopsy!


Olivia holding Flopsy & Mopsy 17 Aug 10

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

AY CARUMBA! – Chilean Flamingo chick caught practising some flamenco poses!

Caribbean chick on 1 leg age approx 6 weeks Caribbean chick strange posture Aug 10 (re-sized)

Our Chilean Flamingo chicks are now around 5-7 weeks old and starting to be much more bold – standing out in the open with the adult birds, stretching their legs and generally getting the hang of being Flamingos.

These images, captured earlier today show the youngsters copying many of the adults’ stretches and stances – resulting in a juvenile Flamingo Ballet of poses!

Caribbean mother & chick on one leg (re-sized) Aug 10Caribbean chick in balet pose (re-sized) Aug 10

Monday, 16 August 2010


Gemma Baldwin and Alisha Webster-Sharman (both aged 16) experienced being a Keeper-For-A-Day at the Park on Friday 13th August – a lucky date for some!  Both young ladies have been working hard for their GCSE’S and were treated to this special day whilst on holiday on the Isle of Wight from their home in Feltham, Middlesex.  Gemma and Alisha said that they loved the experience of being behind the scenes at the Park and particularly enjoyed spending time with the Meerkats and Wallabies.  

   Gemma Baldwin (3)Gemma and Alisha

Alisha  Webster- Sharman (2)

KEEPER FOR A DAY – Joshua Simmonds


Joshua & Cornelius DSC_0175

Joshua & Priscilla DSC_0189

Joshua Simmonds was Keeper-For-A-Day with us on Thursday 12th August.  Aged 15 and from Ryde, Joshua is a keen animal-lover who is particularly passionate about reptiles.

These 3 images show Joshua during the ‘Bugs & Reptiles’ session in the Tropical House where he spent a lot of time up-close with Cornelius the Corn Snake, Priscilla the Bearded Dragon as well as with one of the Hissing Cockroaches! 

When I asked Joshua what he thought about his day as a Keeper he said it was “awesome”!


Joshua & Cornelius DSC_0177

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Fabulous Quotes from our Visitors Book at Seaview Wildlife

" Fantastic day. 2 year old daughter loved it. A lot of thought has been put into all areas here. Thank you" Mrs. H Stark, Aylesbury

" Just loved my visit. This was my favourite place when I was younger and 8 years later I still love it just as much!" Jessica Woodward

" The best Wildlife Park I have ever visited. Will be coming back in the future" Mr. Allen, Lincoln

" ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC" Mr. & Mrs. Radford, Coventry

" Fantastic! Children had a great time - engaged in all that they saw. Brilliant family attraction. Educational and well maintained. Best on the Island!". The Beattie Family

" Had a fantastic day and thought what a wonderful set up you have. Look forward to coming back" Tim, R J De Valle & Family, Mallorca

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

DIPPY – in the midst of his catastrophic annual moult!

These images were taken of a rather scruffy, tubby-looking Dippy earlier this morning.  However, we’ll follow up with another series of photos in a couple of week’s time when he’ll be looking good as new again once his new plumage has grown through! 

Dippy cute moult (re-sized) DSC_0154

Dippy moulting with flapping flippers (res-sized) DSC_0153

Dippy and his pals at the Penguin pool are in the midst of their catastrophic annual moult.  For those of you who follow our Blog regularly you’ll know that  Humboldt Penguins lose all their feathers over a period of approximately 4 weeks at this time of year (immediately after the breeding season).  Prior to moulting they gorge themselves with fish because in the wild they would be going without food for most of the moulting period (with feathers missing the Penguin’s are not fully waterproof and therefore stay out of the water during this time).  The birds are big, bloated and tatty-looking – it makes them feel grouchy and off-colour.  However, in the next two weeks they’ll have grown their new plumage and will be looking bright, fresh and plucky again!

Dippy's back moulting (re-sized) DSC_0157

INTERNATIONAL RECOGNITION for our Kookaburra chick & tiny duckling!


Since we released the story late last week about Kookie the Kookaburra chick and her unusual relationship with a newly hatched, endangered duckling, we’ve been contacted by various media representatives from across the UK and the USA!

Some of the articles have been really great – I’m including this one from the Daily Mail on-line (9th August) with images by Solent News:

I’ll take you under my wing: Kookaburra chick strikes up unlikely friendship with tiny duckling

Solent News

They should be predator and prey but this Kookaburra and tiny duckling have confounded experts by striking up an extraordinary friendship.

In the wild, the six-week-old Kookaburra, called Kookie, would not have thought twice about eating his companion for lunch.

But the pair seem to have developed an exceptionally unusual bond after both being orphaned at birth.

Kookie had to be saved by staff at the Seaview Wildlife Encounter, near Ryde in the Isle of Wight, after his parents killed their other two offspring.

And the rare Madagascar Teal duckling, who is two-days-old, was rescued from one of the park’s aviaries because he was too small to defend himself against larger birds.

Initially the pair were kept separate but staff had concerns for the tiny duckling, who was obviously lonely and missing his mother.Solent News 

So their keepers  cautiously introduced the pair.  To their amazement the duckling instantly cuddled up under the Kookaburra’s protective wing and Kookie didn’t seem to mind playing the caring parent.

Lorraine Adams, director of the Seaview Wildlife Encounter, said she’d never seen anything like it before.

She said: ‘one evening I had them both in my office, I was giving Kookie his last feed of the day when the tiny duckling started crying for his Mum.  I just thought: “what if I put them together, could they be friends?”

‘I wanted to see what would happen and if Kookie showed any signs of malice I was ready to pull the little duckling straight out.Solent News

‘I popped him in next to Kookie and he instantly just nestled underneath him like he would’ve done to his Mum.  I’ve never seen anything like it.  The little duckling was trying to make himself warm by burying himself underneath Kookie.

‘And Kookie didn’t blink an eye – he just sat there and let is happen.  He had obviously been feeling lonely too.

‘It had a real “aww” factor.  Since then the pair have really gelled.  They just don’t realise that they’re natural enemies.

‘Kookie makes a great Mum, he’s just taken it in his stride.  The little duckling climbs all over him but he doesn’t mind, he just sits there.’

While they are hopeful the pair will remain friends for life, staff at the wildlife park admit they may have to separate them in future.

Miss Adams explained: ‘At the moment we’re not sure what will happen.

‘It would be fantastic if they could just grow up together and be friends for life but we’re not sure what KoSolent Newsokie will do when he gets older.

‘Just to be on the safe side, we’re going to separate them in a couple of weeks.

The Kookaburra, which can grow up to 17 inches in length, is native to Australia, New Guinea and the Aru Islands, north of the Australian coast.

The birds are carnivorous and will eat anything from lizards to snakes and mice.l  They have also been known to eat the young of other birds.

At the Seaview Wildlife Encounter Kookie is fed a diet of baby chicks and minced meat.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Keeper-for-a-Day – Esther Murphy – 9 August 2010

Esther Murphy (3) 9 Aug 10



Esther Murphy, aged 15 and from Gillingham in Kent, joined the Animal Care Team at Seaview Wildlife Encounter today – to experience being ‘A Keeper for a Day’.

Esther has a great love for animals and hopes to become a Zoo Keeper when she leaves school.  She seemed to really enjoy her day at the Park – particularly enjoying the gentleness of the Wallaby mob.  We wish Esther all the best with her future studies! 

Week old Flamingo Chicks now on view!

Image taken earlier today: Chilean Flamingo female with her new chick here at Seaview Wildlife.

Latin Name Phoenicopterus chilensis
Conservation Status Near Threatened
Originate from
South America
Colour Pink
Height 1.1 - 1.3 m (3.6 - 4.3 ft)
Wingspan 1.2 - 1.5 m (3.9 - 4.9 ft)
Weight 2.5 - 3.5 Kgs (5.5 - 7.7 lb)
Life Expectancy Up to 50 Yrs (wild)
Up to 40 Yrs (in captivity)

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Quotes of the Week

" A brill and fantastic day out - keep it going because you are ace!" Isabelle & Family, West Midlands.

" A fantastic hands on experience for the children and us and lovely, smiling, friendly staff who are fabulous". Mel Bracey, Tadworth, Surrey

" Animals are gorgeous. Great food, staff and pets. We will tell everyone to come. Well done to all" Edith Bain, Herts.

" An excellent place for all the family. Much better than Amazon World and worth the money! Excellent. Tropical House 10/10" C. White, Leicestershire

" Had our daughters birthday party here, recommend it to anyone else. Better than space Island etc.." Graham Egerton, Newport, IOW

Thursday, 5 August 2010

The Odd Couple!

Kookie & duckling (re-sized) Kookie with tiny duckling (re-sized)

This is an exceptionally unusual friendship – these images were captured earlier this morning. The larger chick is a young Kookaburra Dacelo navaguinae, recently abandoned by its parents and being hand-reared by the Animal Care Team at Seaview Wildlife Encounter. The smaller of the two is a rare, endangered Madagascar Teal (Anas bernieri) duckling that hatched in the Park yesterday. The duckling has adopted ‘Kookie Kookaburra’ – whether as a sibling, or as its mother we’re not entirely sure. Whatever the reasoning, this is an extremely unusual relationship between two very different species -especially because an adult Kookaburra would be likely to prey on a small duckling. Perhaps the driving force between these two young creatures is their mutual need for warmth and closeness. Madagascar Teals are very difficult to raise successfully – so we’re really hoping that Kookie the Kookaburra may just make the difference between life and death for this tiny, rare duckling.

Kookie & Mad Teal Duckling (cropped & re-sized)

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

KEEPER FOR A DAY – James Edwards

James Edwards with Corn Snake (re-sized) James Edwards with Cornelius (re-sized)

James Edwards joined the Animal Care Team as a Keeper For A Day today. James, aged 20, from Warwickshire, has just completed a degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Warwick University; he plans to go on to study for a Masters degree in Management next year. James is really passionate about animals (reptiles in particular) and said to me that after today he’s tempted to skip any further studies and go straight out to get involved in the world of animals – however, after a moment’s reflection James said that perhaps the Masters degree would stand him in good stead, and I heartily agreed! It was a pleasure to meet you James. Good luck with your further studies and we hope you’ll keep in touch with us in the future.

Visit from Hover Travel Southsea Team!

We were pleased to welcome most of the members of the Hover Travel Team from Southsea who came to the Park for a familiarisation visit this morning. As mentioned in a previous Blog, we have some exciting plans afoot! We're looking forward to welcoming the other Team members soon and to working more closely with Hover Travel in the months ahead. Image above from left: Kelly, Richard, Lorissa, Sharon, Joe and Bob.

Monday, 2 August 2010

Quotes of the week

" Fantastic day feeding all the animals - 5 stars" Edward, Tracy, Ryan & Jake, Ipswich, Suffolk.

" One of the best animal parks I have been to - 5 stars. Keep it up, loved the penguins and the ducks, great for all the family" Wilkinson Family, London

" Staying here in the IOW for 2 weeks and the day trips here are brilliant. It is brilliant that most animals can walk free and be touched by everyone in the Park" Laura, Jillian, Stuart

" I love it here a great place to visit while on holiday, the best Zoo I have been to - thank you" Harley