Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Thank You Email From Marian Wade - Wildlife Photographic Competition Winner


We received an email from Marian Wade earlier today, the winner of the Adult Category of our 2010 Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition.  Included below are three other images that Marian submitted into this year’s competition.

We have also included (bottom left) Marian's winning entries into the 2010 Wightlife photographic competition - well done Marian!!
We plan to decorate an area in our Discovery Zone with some of the many wonderful images that Marian has taken over the years of our birds and animals.

Wade, Marian - Zebra Finch nest building - 2010 Wade, Marian - Pelican open wide - 2010 Wade, Marian - Baby Penguins - 2010


Displayed 2010

Hi Jules,

I had a large parcel delivered yesterday - thank you so very very much!   I loved the book, the pictures are stunning. I see Andy Rouse had another winner with his Tiger picture.  I went on one of his lectures in January as he was at Chester, and it was brilliant.

I will look forward to visiting Jessops, I didn't expect the gift voucher to be so much, that is very kind of you. The surprise didn't end there though, as I read the letter from Miss Lorraine Adams  it had a family pass for another visit.  "I will just have to keep myself as fit and well as I can" said Tony, "So we can make another visit next year"

I will look through all my Seaview pictures and sort out my favourites.  I guess the ones I have entered into your competition will be high on my favourite list, but I will enjoy looking back through them all, and I'll be in touch soon. In the meantime I will be sending you a written thank you later today, this email is just to let you know the parcel arrived.

Wishing you and the team all the very best,

With love from Marian.

PS. Even though your park is closed I'm pleased to see your keeping up the blog  - I'm convinced I won't be the only avid reader!

PPS. Just thought you may like to see the images Wightlife displayed of mine this year.

Important BIAZA assessment visit to Seaview Wildlife Encounter

Regular Blog-followers may remember an article from earlier this year announcing our acceptance as provisional BIAZA members (British & Irish Association of Zoos & Aquaria). This took place after a visit from Dr Miranda Stevenson and Mr David Field, both from BIAZA (David is also Director of ZSL – London and Whipsnade Zoos). David kindly took on the role of being the Park’s mentor in working towards full BIAZA membership.

Yesterday, six months after the initial visit, David returned to the Park, this time accompanied by Lesley Dickie (Director of EAZA – European Association of Zoos & Aquaria) and Adrian Walls (Manager of Birds London Zoo). The intention of the visit was to assess the Park for full BIAZA status. It seems as though the day went really well and that the recommendation for full status will be made at the next membership meeting to be held in March 2011. It would certainly be a great accolade to coincide with our 40th anniversary year!

David Field, Leslie Dickie & Adrian Walls, Nov 10Image above from left: David Field, Lesley Dickie and Adrian Walls – taken yesterday, a particularly cold winter’s afternoon at Seaview Wildlife Encounter (29th November 2010).

Celebrations at the 2010 Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce Business Awards for Excellence!

Team photo

Jules Nov 10

Five team members from Seaview Wildlife Encounter attended this year’s Isle of Wight Chamber of Business Awards for Excellence held at the Yacht Haven in Cowes. Group photo above from left to right: Alison Kinnett, Tracy Manning, Fern Daly and Jake Cousins (Jules Brittan top right).

Alison Nov 10

Jake (2) Nov 10 Fern Nov 10 Tracy Nov 10

Looking glamorous (despite the freezing temperatures outside!) at this high-profile, black-tie event – photo above (left to right) : Alison, Jake, Fern and Tracy representing Seaview Wildlife Encounter in receiving the 2010 award of Highly Commended in the category Best Small Business.

Friday, 26 November 2010


Elvis in handsome pose

Elvis was given his name by one of our Park visitors – because of his ‘flaired trouser look’.

Having done some cursory research, it would seem that our Elvis is a Golden-Necked Booted Bantam (otherwise known as a Golden Neck d'Uccle Bantam). He’s not necessarily a pedigree, but certainly recognisable and undoubtedly handsome! We were donated two of these character-full cockerels but unfortunately had to separate them after some nasty feather-bashing took place (they’re extremely territorial).

Bantam chickens are known to be faster and "spunkier" than their larger counterparts. Full of ‘attitude’ and known for their aggressive ‘puffed up’ disposition these chickens can be quite comical in stature and behaviour. Our Elvis is a fine example of that! He ‘chats’ and struts about, making a song and dance out of everything he does!

Elvis is certainly very popular at the Park. Now that our visitors aren’t here to admire him he’s taken to spending time with the Keepers as well as being pursued on a daily basis by three un-Bantam but friendly females – namely a Silver Pheasant, a Mallard duck and one of our battery-rescued brown hens.

‘I just can’t help believing’ that, despite the ‘suspicious minds’ of his current female admirers who ‘can’t help falling in love’ with him, we might be able to find a couple of Booted Bantam Birds for Elvis to get ‘All shook up with’ next year!

Wednesday, 24 November 2010



A few weeks ago we moved our Harvest Mice Micromys Minutus into beautiful new display tanks – a safer, better option than the wooden, glass-fronted cabinets  that housed them  previously – unfortunately these proved to be not entirely escape proof…….  We now have four glass tanks – two new ones for the two adult groups- males in one, females in the other.  Then there are two smaller tanks underneath – one we’ve made home for a breeding pair and one that is ready for the juveniles to spend a few weeks once they’re weaned from their Mum but not yet ready to join the adult groups.    

The two Harvest Mice that I selected as our new breeding pair hadn’t produced a litter before, and I was beginning to wonder if perhaps the chemistry wasn’t quite right between them!  However, I decided to leave them together in case they were slow starters and hoped they’d snuggle their way through a winter courtship ready to produce babies in the Spring.


Baby Harvest Mouse on stalk (resized & cropped)

Baby Harvest Mouse 24 Nov 2010












Imagine our surprise when peeking into the breeding tank yesterday morning – to see two tiny new faces peeking out of the nest!  We don’t heat the Discovery Zone (where we house our Harvest Mice) during winter, so although the mice are completely draft-free they’re more likely to produce litters in the Spring and Summer.  So these two babies are a real gift!  Hidden from view in their nest of hay, the baby mice are born pink after a gestation of between 18 to 21 days. Once the youngsters are approximately 8 weeks old they’ll be weaned and ready to move to the nursery tank. 

Until recently, I had been lead to believe that Harvest Mice are Britain’s smallest mammal – however, it was recently pointed out that, although a close call between the Harvest Mouse, Pygmy Shrew and Pipistrelle Bat – the Pygmy Shrew is fractionally the smallest!

Behind the Scenes in Winter – Ad Hoc Projects


It’s quite different here at the Park during the winter months.  From the end of October till a week before Easter each year the Park is closed to visitors.  This is a time for maintenance, repairs and development of the grounds, buildings and enclosures – everything from building new exhibits to  draining lakes and ponds!

Once the gates have been closed to the public, the retail and catering divisions start to pack away – deep cleaning scrubs and stock taking are the focus for the first week or two, then the treasure troves of gifts are packed away safely until Spring returns.  Most of the staff in these two divisions are employed on a seasonal basis but one or two kindly assist with ad hoc projects in the Park during the colder months.  An example of one such project is the decorating of the toilet blocks this winter.  Sound boring? No way!!  Sally (our retail manager) came up with the idea of drawing and painting fun versions of some of our animals inside the ‘loo cubicles’!  Sally and Julie (our receptionist) have been busy over the past few days – and their plan is already coming together – it’s undoubtedly going to put a smile on the faces of those visiting our loos in the future!


Sally & Julie Nov 2010

Sally & Julie painting










Image above left – Sally (L) and Julie (R) on their way to buy painting supplies!  Image above right – the artistic two-some working wonders with their imaginations and paint brushes!

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Cool winds blow in Frisky ALPACA behaviour!



Out in Wallaby Walkabout this morning the Alpacas had a few mad moments …… the images above show how it started – with a cheeky nudge and a nibble ……….

Then the play fighting and rough and tumble really began ………….

Play fighting Alpacas DSC_1261

Alpacas romping DSC_1264

Sometimes looking like two young stags, sometimes like two boisterous rams and the rest of the time more like a heap of woolly camels! Our two boys seemed to have a great time romping around together – albeit looking rather ungainly – Olly the Pygmy goat was intrigued and tried to join in the fun, but this was strictly a game for Alpacas only!

Alpacas romping on ground DSC_1263

Friday, 19 November 2010

HOLLY HINDS – Our last Keeper-for-a-Day for 2010!


Holly Hinds was the last person to experience being a KEEPER-FOR-A-DAY at Seaview Wildlife Encounter in 2010!  It was a really hectic day during the last week in October – our last week open to the public and half term for schools.  With all that’s been going on since then I’ve been a bit delayed in entering Holly’s details onto our Blog – so here goes with a couple of photos and a reminder of Holly’s special day with us!






Holly is nearly 14 years old and from Rainham in Kent.  Holly loves animals and particularly enjoyed the time she spent in close contact with the Humboldt Penguins, the Wallabies and the Meerkats.

We look forward to welcoming Holly and her family back again soon.






FUNDRAISING FEEDBACK – Thank you to all who contributed!

As you may remember we were involved in fundraising for the Breast Cancer Campaign (Isle of Pink) during the month of September and the RSPCA Isle of Wight for a week in October this year. We’ve spoken to both charities and are pleased to be able to report back to you as follows:


BREAST CANCER CAMPAIGN (Isle of Pink) – this is the campaign’s third year on the Isle of Wight. Our visitors to the Park seem to be increasingly aware of this campaign and its importance - as can be seen from our collection figures that are increasing really well year-on-year:

2008: £89.34 2009: 192.07 2010: 311.17 Thank you for your support!

In terms of the Isle of Wight as a whole, final collection figures for the Isle of Pink aren’t yet in, but the target figure for this year is £30 000 (up from £23 000 in 2009 and a similar figure in 2008)). The final amount is due to be announced in the next few days. Watch out for a Breast Cancer Campaign press release!

RSPCA logo

RSPCA Isle of Wight is an independent charity – separate from the mainland RSPCA and completely reliant on local support. As you know, the RSPCA is responsible for both domestic and wild animal welfare and rescue on the Island. On hearing that this vital charity has been struggling to keep afloat in the current economic climate we rallied round right at the end of our season to help raise some funds (and awareness). Thank you to all those who donated – either by tossing coins into our Wishing Well or by popping a coin into the many collection boxes around the Park during the last week of October. Between £100-£120 was raised in that one week! Thank you for your generosity! We’ve committed to a more planned approach to RSPCA fundraising next year and hope the result will be revealed in increased funds!


It’s not always good or happy news at the Park. When one of our beloved animals is ill it’s always a big wrench for the Animal Care Team and everyone who knows the individual characters at Seaview Wildlife Encounter who is facing a malady.


Last Saturday night Basil and Olly, our two Pygmy Goats, escaped from their enclosure – they are Houdini escape artists at the best of times! Although they were safely contained within the Park, Basil unfortunately ate part of a shrub that was apparently from the Rhododendron family. It proved to be toxic – in fact, depending on the quantity he consumed we had to face the possibility that we might lose him. We’ve had the vet out twice and Bas has had various injections. We’ve all been on tenderhooks ….

We had to separate Basil and Olly for three nights to allow Basil complete rest and individual treatment. Poor young Olly cried for his friend and companion.

Basil & Olly 6 Oct (resized)

Thankfully Basil has improved markedly over the past few days! He has started a few cheeky antics again with the Keepers and is even managing to deal with young Olly’s energetic attempts to make him start romping around again!

New padlocks have since been fitted in order to avoid any future recurrence!

Wednesday, 17 November 2010


Thank you to everyone who participated and entered into this year’s wildlife photographic competition - we received a record number of entries – and the quality of images has been the best ever!  It was a difficult decision for the judge – but the results are now in ……

ADULT CATEGORY WINNER (16+) (Image below)

MARIAN WADE from Shropshire with this photograph of one of our Pelicans  having “A Splashing Time”.  The judge felt that this image captures incredible movement – in the bird, in its feathers and in the water surrounding it.  Congratulations to Marian who is a keen competitor – in fact this is the third time she has won first prize in our Wildlife Photographic Competition!

Wade, Marian - Pelican, a splashing time - 2010



Cantelo, Samantha - Flamingo 2010





ADULT CATEGORY (16+) SECOND PLACE (image left): SAMANTHA CANTELO from the Isle of Wight with this photograph of one of our Caribbean Flamingos.  The judge remarked on the vivid colours and textures, the unusual composition and the exceptional clarity.  Congratulations Samantha!








Dance, K. - Penguin - 2010




ADULT CATEGORY (16+) THIRD PLACE (image right): Karen Dance from Huntingdon with this photograph of one of our juvenile Humboldt Penguins braying at feeding time.  The judge remarked on how Karen has captured this vocal moment with bold simplicity. 









JUNIOR CATEGORY WINNER (Under 16) - MATTHEW WOODS from Portsmouth with his photograph (below left) of one of our Meerkats in a classic Meerkat pose.  Congratulations Matt!


Woods Matthew (aged 14) Meerkat (resized) - 2010



Cook Joseph (aged 14) Silver Pheasant (resized) 2010










JUNIOR CATEGORY SECOND PLACE – awarded to JOSEPH COOK for the fun image of the Silver Pheasant’s head (above right).  Well done Joseph!


Williams Victoria (under 16) - Goose feeding (resized) from hand 2010





JUNIOR CATEGORY THIRD PLACE – awarded to VICTORIA WILLIAMS for the photograph seen here on the right of one of “Goose feeding from hand”.  Excellent work Victoria!






Each of the selected photographers whose images are shown above will receive a prize – these are to be posted in the next few days! (Not yet being revealed!)

Thank you once again to all those who entered.  Please keep an eye open for our new themed competition that will be launched for our 40th Anniversary year in Spring 2011!

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Winners of the Wildlife Mystery Quiz Trail 2010 at Seaview Wildlife

Phew..... what an amazing amount of entries to this seasons' Mystery Quiz Trail. Thousands upon thousands of visitors collected the forms at our entrance reception and enjoyed hunting for all the hidden answers around the Park keeping our visitors busy and productive and learning some fun educational facts along the way!

Below are listed our winning entries with the best tie-breakers! Family passes and goodies have been sent out for answering all the questions correctly and for coming up with interesting tie-breakers. Thank you to everyone that took part.

Vanessa Rothwell (aged 38) from Cheshire
Tie-breaker - The best thing about my visit today was... The quiz left us in a tizz, but now we're feeling jammy as the last answer we nearly didn't find was opera singing Sammy!

Amanda Bassett (aged 13) from Bristol
Tie-breaker - The best thing about my visit today was... The hands-on experience feeding the different animals as I want to be a vet nurse when I leave school. I talked lots to the animal care team to which was very helpful.

Lizzy Francis (aged 13) from Solihull
Tie-breaker - The best thing about my visit today was... Meeting all the fantastic animals and talking to all the friendly staff who are willing to answer any questions. It was a pleasure coming here thank you
P.S. My parents have been bringing me here since I was three and every year it keeps getting better and I hope in the future it will still be here for many more generations to enjoy it as I have!

Emma Shaw (aged 16) from Derby Tie-breaker - The best thing about my visit today was..
The fact that I got the chance to see many wonderful species of animals which I never get the chance to see in day to day life all kept in this pristine Park by talented and extremely caring staff.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010



Boar at Fakenhams Nov 2010 Sow at Fakenhams Nov 2010

THE ADULT VERSIONS - ABOVE LEFT: Mini-Pig Boar and ABOVE RIGHT: Mini-pig Sow (at Fakenham Farm) taken this afternoon.

Acquiring some mini-piglets has been a plan that’s been on our minds for some time now …. so although a mini-micro pig seems to be the ‘in thing’ and quite a trendy pet to own these days, we’ve been plotting a piggy pen for a lot longer than any of the fad-driven ‘celebs’!

Mini or micro pigs are intelligent and very easy to become fond of …. they apparently out-smart both dogs and cats and are incredibly responsive. We’ve read that mini pigs can be kept in a house , or even in an apartment, but for us that would really be pushing things too far – these little guys need to display natural behaviour – rooting around outside and enjoying the fresh air, as well as having somewhere warm and dry to sleep at night. With this in mind we’re looking at converting an area in the Park for our new-comers …. so watch this space as things progress!!

Currently our little ones are only 3 weeks old and we hope to bring them to their new home at Seaview Wildlife just after Christmas. What a wonderful Christmas present for all of us at the Park – and for our visitors in 2011!

Mini Pigs - litter at 3 weeks old Piglets at 3 weeks

These Images were taken earlier today and show the Mother Mini-Pig with her seven piglets – aged 3 weeks. In the right hand image the three piglets with their backs to us somehow resemble miniature elephants …. we can only hope that they won’t end up quite that big!!

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Heavy rain causes flooding at Seaview Wildlife and other places on Isle of Wight

Many of us in the South of England and the Isle of Wight woke this morning to rain battering against our windows….. and driving became an water sport with gushing roads and overflowing storm drains forming part of the aquatic assault course on our way to work!  Of course the Park hasn’t escaped the wet – but fortunately, although we’ve sprung a few leaks, none of the livestock have been negatively affected. 


Flooding lower lake 8 Nov 10

Flooding at lower lake Nov 2010









Above: The Park’s lower lake has overflowed – consuming the pathway that normally allows easy pedestrian access.


View over stormy seas Nov 2010

Flooding nature reserve Nov 2010










Above left: The nature reserve just below the Park usually consists of scrub and some damp marshland but today it turned into a huge mass of water - this image above shows the extension of our lower lake (in the foreground) with the flooded nature reserve behind.   Above right: Stormy seas - looking out over the flooded nature reserve to the rough grey green waves of the Solent beyond.


 Augustus wet & bedraggled Nov 2010 Wet Alpacas (resized) Nov 2010










This is the wet and bedraggled Alpaca look for November 2010!  Despite having the option of a dry shed  our two lads don’t seem to mind how wet it gets!

Monday, 8 November 2010

Our trip to Paignton Zoo for the ACE BIAZA Conference

Lorraine and I had an exciting few days away in Devon last week!  Some aspects were really positive, some more of an adventure!  As promised here’s a slice of some of the ‘goings on’!


We thought it was a great success; particularly the full-day of guest speakers on Thursday 4th November.  The presentations and lectures came from different perspectives – all on the topic of Technology and how it affects business today.  Each speaker was extremely engaging and interesting in their own way.  I took copious notes (although I’m not sure when I’ll have time to go through them!)  The conference was punchy, professional and pertinent to our business.  We were really pleased to have been able to attend!



Autumn leaves at Paignton

Paignton Zoo hosted the conference and did us all proud!  It was very well organised and the venue was excellent.  In addition to the very full programme of guest speakers and events we had a couple of hours for a self-guided tour of the zoo.  During this time I managed to capture a few images to share with you!  These two show some of the amazing autumn colours!

Autumn vibrance at Paignton







Giraffe (2) at Paignton

Black Rhino - Paignton

It was great to see the  Black Rhino (left) so close – having spent many years in Africa I’ve been fortunate enough to see them in the wild in game reserves, but being able to observe the animal and some of its behaviour at such close range was a real privilege.


I couldn’t resist the graceful giraffe (above) with its long dark purple tongue – browsing and stripping branches of their leaves.




Crocodile at Paignton

Hartmanns Zebra at Paignton

The warmth of the crocodile house (left) was a good place to spend some time on a cool, windy Autumn afternoon!

The Hartman's Mountain Zebra (right) is an endangered equid. There are still a few to be found in the wild in Namibia living in a harsh yet fragile environment. This subspecies is much larger than it's close relative, the Cape mountain zebra, and is the only species of Zebra that has a ‘dewlap’ - a pendulous fold of skin under the throat.




Charlotte with cat at Paignton

It wasn’t only exotic fauna that caught our attention!Squirrel (resized) at Paignton

First was the simple joy of watching a Grey Squirrel harvesting sustenance from the Autumn floor ready for the winter months ahead.

Then we met up with Charlotte  from the Isle of Wight Zoo.  Whilst walking amongst the enclosures we came across a very affectionate domestic tabby cat!  She befriended us and then followed us around – even venturing into the warmth of the Ape House! 




Lorraine and I initially had a reservation in a ‘top flight mobile home’ – a two-bedroomed caravan that we were told was the height of luxury and had everything we needed.  Other delegates had booked into this holiday park in order to be close to Paignton (but perhaps stayed in a different style of accommodation?)  To cut a long story short we were quite shocked and disappointed …. in fact the whole experience would have been a disaster – had we not met two young ladies on-site who helped us find alternative accommodation and recommended the Osborne Hotel in Torquay.  So we checked out, and moved on! If by any chance anyone knows Anna or Sarah Jane from the Holiday Park – we are so very grateful to them for their referral – what a special place – as can be seen from the images below:


Osborne Hotel, Torquay

Osborne Hotel (4) Torquay








Thank you to BIAZA, Paignton Zoo and the Osborne Hotel for a tapestry of positive memories!



The hands-on interaction with the little tabby at Paignton stirred something within in Lorraine and me -  perhaps a longing to be back, nose-to-nose with our own interactive animals at Seaview Wildlife Encounter -  and a deep appreciation of how special and important that closeness is to us.