Thursday, 25 February 2010
Tuesday, 23 February 2010
Monday, 22 February 2010
Thursday, 18 February 2010
Image above shows our new female Crowned Crane. Shes' only a youngster and compared with our mature male has quite unremarkable plumage. We were concerned that our male, who has been on his own for some time now, may overwhelm her, or even attack her. However, on the contrary - he became immediately protective of his new mate, preening her and then opening his wings to warn the Keepers to keep at bay .....
Wednesday, 17 February 2010
White Rhino - once almost extinct in the wild, now thriving in reserves such as Hluhluwe and Umfolozi.
Two young Nyala males, vying for top position - only a mock fight - but preparing for more serious confrontations as they mature.
It's not only the 'Big Five' that are magnificent. I love the different species of antelope, their gentle, delicate limbs, their big soft brown eyes, their incredible alertness. These Impala gathered together in such a way that there's a cluster of ears in this image that I really like!
From the Cape we flew to Durban and then drove through to the heart of Zululand to the game reserves of Hluhluwe and Umfolozi. This is our bushcamp - unfenced - so many wild animals wander through the camp both during the day and at night. There's a notice on the wall requesting that visitors never leave their children unattended .....
I took this shot at Spier Wine Estate in the Cape - they have a Cheetah sanctuary where the main focus is on increasing awareness of the plight of the Cheetah in Sub-Saharan Africa. It is a critically endangered species mainly due to persecution by livestock farmers.
I've just returned from a wonderful two week trip to South Africa where I went to re-connect with some old friends and to enjoy both landscape and wildlife photographic opportunities! I lived in South Africa for many years (only returning to my roots in England in 2002). This was my first trip back in 6 years - with my partner who had never been to Africa before! We started in Somerset West (photo left taken from my friend's patio) - how's that for a view from your table.......
Tuesday, 16 February 2010
Friday, 12 February 2010
Head Keeper Tara was interviewed by Luisa and her very well behaved son who happily fed the Wallabies, whilst Basil who was not so well behaved persisted in head butting me! I also introduced Luisa to 'Dippy' our friendly Humboldt Penguin and also our beautiful Chilean Flamingos that were bred at the park last season.
Thursday, 11 February 2010
This week Shanklin C of E Primary school was visited for a second time and pupils had the chance to meet 'Priscilla' our female Bearded Dragon as well as 'Collin' the Cockroach and 'Fluffy' our female Giant New Zealand Rabbit.
Unfortunately as cute as 'Willaby' our albino Wallaby looks in the photo, he was unable to join his friends on our school trip, no doubt he would have enjoyed all the attention but I'm not sure whether I would have enjoyed trying to catch him up again to take him home!
Once again the children loved the hands on interaction with the animals and even the
Hissing Cockroaches have some new found fans!
The Park has had for quite a while now a lonely Male African Crowned Crane and two Female Demoiselle Cranes. It was decided that as these birds are becoming rarer in captivity and not many collections are breeding them that we should pair them up....and this is what the trip was all about!
It was no easy task as we couldn't find any surplus cranes of the right sex in this country, so that is why Craig ended up going all the way to the Netherlands to a specialised crane breeding farm, where he chose the two new birds.
The two Cranes Craig collected were only bred last year so they are juvenille birds. They will probably be too young to breed this season but we have high expectations and hope that they will breed in the near future.
Whilst on the continent, Craig also collected a Male Greater Kiskadee flycatcher. We have a female in our Tropical House so it is also a relief to find her a mate and hopefully we can breed from this pair. It is important that we do this as we are one of the only Zoos/Wildlife Parks in the U.K to house these birds, so breeding them would be an incredible achievement.
Monday, 8 February 2010
Easter event: 2nd April - 5th April, 2010
The Park hold their biggest event of the year over the Easter weekend. The Great Mystery Wildlife Quiz Trail is hugely popular with children and adults! Visitors collect their FREE entry form at the entrance reception and hunt for all the fun, educational wildlife clues hidden around the Park whilst following the popular 'hands-on' programme of wildlife events with informative keeper presentations.
Each child receives a delicious creamy easter egg if they have found all the answers and the star prize is a giant easter basket full of goodies! Come along and join in the fun at our beautiful multi-award winning Park this easter.
Friday, 5 February 2010
At the Park we currently have one lonely Male Crowned Crane in need of a mate and two 'spinster' female Demoiselles! Craig our head keeper has been lucky enough to source these rare birds for pairing and is currently on a road trip to the Netherlands and Belguim to collect them.
Hopefully with all travel arrangements going to plan they will arrive safely at the Park on Monday where the new introductions will begin... Will keep you updated!......
After head keeper Tara contacted many Island schools offering interactive presentations the response has been very positive. One of the first schools visited this week was Wootton Primary School where Tara and Fern took along some of our furry and slithery friends to meet the children!
It was a busy morning for our keepers!
Cornelius our Corn Snake and Horatio one of our cute ferrets behaved impeccably when they met over 100 pupils! The children really enjoyed the interaction with the animals and we look forward to many more school visits in weeks to come.
Thursday, 4 February 2010
Our three lucky Asian Short Clawed otters get their claws round some tasty Velvet Crabs very kindly donated by 'Captain Stan's' fishmonger in Bembridge.
As you can see the boys are eager to tuck into their crabby treats which makes a nice change from their normal breakfast of chicks and shell on prawns!
In the wild these otters would primarily eat crustaceans such as crabs found in rocky crevices and muddy river banks of South East Asia. So its great to see them working for their breakfast as they would in the wild as normally by now they would be back for seconds!