Saturday, 29 January 2011

Letter of the Week – A double booking for a Keeper for a Day

P1060095 Holly Hinds P1060099 Holly HindsHolly Hinds had such a fantastic keeper for a day experience with us last October that her grand mother has bought not one but two Keeper for a Day presents for her grand daughter – lucky Holly!  We look forward to welcoming Holly back to the Park for some more fun with our wonderful array of animals!  Here is a letter sent to the Park today from Holly’s grand mother…..

Dear Lorraine, Tara, Fern, Craig & Jake,                                                             20th January, 2011

Thank you all for the wonderful time my grand daughter, Holly, had when she ‘ keepered’ at the end of the October half-term last year.

Holly talked non-stop from the time we left you until we were well on the way back to London.  The only time she stopped on our short walk to Ryde was when various dogs appeared during their walk – a brief ‘ hello’ to them and then she was off again.  Congratulations to all of you!

I am enclosing 2 application forms and a cheque for £200.00.  Please would you send two vouchers for her to use at my address?  Thank you for the pleasure you give to the young – I’ve not found anywhere else that takes that age.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

The next of our Animal Keeper videos is ready to roll!

Holly Cluitt is a member of the hard-working Animal Care Team at Seaview Wildlife Encounter. Holly's video clip is ready, so here goes, let the cameras roll ....

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Faces to make you smile!

There’s a lot in our media at this time of year about doing things that make us happy.  January/February are notoriously rather depressing months – the excitement of Christmas is over (often leaving us with a few debts in its wake), the daylight hours are still short, the weather tends to be grey and cold, and we may have gained a few pounds  as a result of extra winter snacking! 

Therefore with happiness-boosting activities in mind I’d like to share a couple of images of our Alpacas with you that I took yesterday.  There’s something about them that just brings on a smile ….


Augustus (3) Jan 11  Garnet (1) Jan 11

Above: Augustus        Below: Garnet

  Garnet Jan 11

BIAZA Press Release



25th January 2011


ZOOS and aquariums are making a dynamic contribution to the UK’s economy, according to a ground-breaking new report.

The British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) have just published An Economic Impact Assessment (EIA) for the Zoo and Aquarium Sector, which shows that its member zoos and aquariums contribute about £645m a year to the economy.

Figures from the report show that as well as being a significant tourism attraction with spending by tourists in zoos of some £246m and spending off-site in the region of £198m, BIAZA zoos and aquariums generate some 11,007 jobs.

The report prepared for BIAZA by John Regan Associates, a company that specialises in finding external funding for zoos and aquariums, was commissioned by BIAZA in order to provide an indication of the value of its membership to the economy.

Its results are intended to be used to engage current and potential partners, particularly in the public sector as a means of stimulating economic activity.

Dr Miranda Stevenson, Director of BIAZA, said: “Zoos and aquariums have a great deal of potential which is not being exploited by the government. They are not only a significant tourist attraction, but are of great conservational, educational and economic value in terms of local economic development and wealth generation. We hope this report will increase the recognition of the contribution they can make to the economy.”

The EIA follows similar studies that have been undertaken in Australasia and the United States, as well as a study currently being carried out in Europe.

It is ground-breaking work which provides a first official articulation of the economic value of the zoo community in the UK.

According to figures from 2010, 25 million people (more than a third of the UK population) visit BIAZA zoos and aquariums every year and more than 1,200,000 of these people do so during an educational visit. Over 600 research projects are carried out and BIAZA members support over 700 field conservation projects contributing over £11 million per year.

There are also a wide range of social benefits arising from the activities of zoos which make an even stronger case for greater investment in this important area of activity. These include links with higher education in terms of training and research, the inculcation of knowledge of the animal world, the promotion of sustainable forms of living and outreach to all sectors of society.

Dr Stevenson added: “This report is the first step towards establishing the value of zoos to the wider economic and social good.”

- ENDS –

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

The next winter Animal Keeper video is ready!

Tara Hayter has a dual role at Seaview Wildlife Encounter - Head Keeper and Education Officer - so there's never a dull moment for her! Here Tara shares with us some of what's involved behind the scenes when looking after Dippy and all his Humboldt Penguin pals.

Ferrets taken out for a winter walk

Nelson and Horatio, our two resident Ferrets, both enjoy exploring the area outside their enclosure whenever they’re given the chance! This morning, as part of their enrichment activities, Tara fitted the two boys into their walking harnesses, attached their leads and let them have a ‘ferret-around’ in Pets Corner. Images below:

Ferret going for a walk Jan 11

Ferret on lead Jan 11

Ferrets going for a walk Jan 11

Keepers enjoy being mobbed in Wallaby Walkabout!

Fern being mobbed Jan 11

Every morning the Keepers feed and health-check all the livestock in the Park. Walking through ‘Wallaby Walkabout’ it’s easy to feel like the Pied Piper of Hamlyn – being followed by the Wallabies and Alpacas (we have to ensure the Pygmy goats - Basil and Olly - eat separately otherwise they’d scoff everyone else’s rations!)

Fern at feeding time in Wallaby Walkabout Jan 11

I captured a few images of Fern earlier this morning – she loves this time of day! Looking at some of these photos It doesn’t take much to work out where the name ‘mob’ originated from describing a group of Wallabies!

Fern being mobbed at the gate Jan 11 Fern feeding Wallabys Jan 11

Friday, 21 January 2011

WWT Arundel host BIAZA meeting for Educational Officers

As potential BIAZA (British and Irish Association for Zoos and Aquariums) members for 2011, Education Officer Tara was invited to join a BIAZA meeting for Educational Officers from all over the UK. To start the year off WWT Arundel Wetland Centre (West Sussex) hosted the meeting where collections including London Zoo (ZSL), Drusillas Park, The Hawk Conservancy Trust, Wildwood and Birdworld were very warmly welcomed with tea and biscuits! 

Such meetings take place every six months and are a chance for Education Officers to meet, discuss and obtain ideas and information from each collection in order to improve already existing  educational programmes that we provide to the general public and schools.

P1060334Arundel Wetland Centre is one of nine UK centres run by the WWT (Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust) dedicated to the conservation of wetlands for people and wildlife. The 26 hectares of spectacular wetlands is home to endangered wildlife from all over the world including local species such as Kingfishers and the endangered Water Vole.





Although unfortunately I only snatched a glimpse of a beautiful Kingfisher amongst the tall reeds of one of many large ponds, I did however manage to snap some shots of some other very interesting waterfowl….


P1060347     P1060368 P1060421

Long Tailed duck                                              Bewick’s swan                                               Magpie Geese



Some you may recognise from here at the park…





Mandarin (American Carolina or Wood duck)                                                                                   Male Eider duck   

There are many activities to take part in when visiting the centre including boat safaris, pond dipping, bat walks, free crafts and duck feeding! P1060436

Perhaps my favourite was capturing the warm winter lighting as the sun went down on the beautiful surroundings of the wetlands.

For more information of  the WWT Arundel Wetlands Trust please visit their website

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Moonlight over the Solent

What a beautiful evening! Looking out from the Park into the crisp and clear evening with a magnificent waxing moon rising over the Solent. The soft evening light is fading with each mournful call of our Eagle Owl, echoing and rolling downwards across the wetland towards the shore.

I just had to capture this moment to share with you!

Moonlight across the Solent Jan 11

Moonlight over the Solent (orig) Jan 11

The next winter Animal Keeper video is ready!

Regular followers of our Blog will know that we decided to shoot some videos of the Animal Keepers in action during the winter months at the Park! This is an opportunity to share some inside-track information about Animal Keeping during winter compared with the summer months. A big thank you to Roger from Videojuice for his creative work!

The next clip is ready for viewing - this time it's Fern Daley - so, let the cameras roll!

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Old wooden boat needed for Pelican nesting site …. Can you help?

You may remember that we had two old wooden ‘clinker’ fishing boats in the area that we call ‘Pelican Bay’? These were favoured by the Pink-Backed Pelicans’ as the best place for nest-building. Unfortunately the boats had deteriorated to the point of complete disintegration this winter and so needed to be removed.

I’ve taken photos of the two remaining wooden fishing boats (below) to give an idea of what we’re looking for. They don’t have to be waterproof or able to float (or even whole!)– their purpose would be to bring Pelican Bay back to life by giving our Pelicans another chance at nest-building (and hopefully to encourage them to start laying eggs – something that we’re all hoping for!)

In addition to old wooden fishing boats if anyone has any old fishing gear that they could donate - such as crab/lobster pots, floats, buoys, etc – these would undoubtedly enhance Pelican Bay and would be very much appreciated. Any help greatly appreciated and rewarded with complimentary family passes!!! Please email

Clinker boat Penguin Pool Boat at lower lake

Beautiful images taken by David Nordell

2 Penguins swimming - D Nordell 2010

Thank you to David for sending through these two photos taken during 2010. David is a regular visitor to the Park and we’re grateful to have been able to use some of his images in different ways to promote the Park - including displays, adverts and leaflets. The quality of David’s work is a real benchmark for all budding wildlife photographers and we look forward to welcoming him back to the Park during the year ahead.

We’re hoping that David’s work may help to inspire our other Blog readers and visitors to enter the 2011 Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition at Seaview Wildlife Encounter! So get your cameras out and dusted off so you’re ready to roll starting 2nd April!

2 Meerkats - D Nordell 2010

Thursday, 13 January 2011


One of the Keepers saw an idea for enriching a feed. Fern and Tracy decided to give the recipe a try:

- Hollow out a melon

- Make incisions all round the melon

– Poke Sprats into the incisions so that their tails are protruding

- Fill the rest of the melon with prawns

Place into Otter enclosure, get ready with your camera …….. ready, steady, go!

Otter peering inside melon Otter with paw inside enrichment feeding melon

Above left: Intrigued and getting a closer look inside the melon. Above right: One paw inside melon, the other holding a sprat!

Otter feeding from melonOtter eating fish from melon

Above left: Having his first taste. Above right: Really tucking in!

Ensuring our animals are stimulated is an important part of our animal care. Enrichment ideas like this one are fun for the Keepers to create and even more fun for the Otters to enjoy!


A hot-off-the-press glimpse at a new Seaview Wildlife promotion being launched in April for the 2011 season …… what a fabulous idea!


Bespoke packages exclusively designed around your own special occasion (singles or couples). Whether a first date, honeymoon treat, anniversary celebration, birthday present, or any other special occasion - the Park is now able to offer you "The wildest place for a special date"!

Packages include entrance to the Park with complimentary specialist animal feed; your own personalised tour of the Park focussing on close-up time with your favourite animals, including Dippy our celebrity Penguin; lunch with champagne and flowers, and a photograph to commemorate your special day. Prices are £75.00 for a single person, £55.00 per person for couples, fully inclusive. For more information and to check availability please contact Jules Brittan on

The inside track on Animal Keepers – the next Video Clip!

Animal Keeper, Alison Kinnett, is featured in this short clip giving some ‘behind the scenes’ insights into being an Animal Keeper – drawing some comparisons between her job during the winter months compared with the summer:

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Two unexpected photographs sent in by Rachel White


Thank you Rachel for sending in these two beautiful images entitled “Peacock Displaying” and “Fish Face”!

Peacock dispaying by Rachel White 2010

fish face by Rachel White 2010

Accepting loss of life is a part of being an Animal Keeper

Meerkat (D Nordell 2010)

Unfortunately our male Meerkat that took ill two days ago has had to be put to sleep. It’s always hard to lose one of our animals. Some characters wiggle their way into the hearts of the Keepers (and visitors) more than others.

For the moment we’re waiting to see how the rest of our Meerkat gang settles down and adjusts to the change in their group dynamics before we consider what our next step will be. We’ll be researching and seeking advice from other Collections regarding future plans - whether it’s advisable to leave the group as it is for a while – or if not, how best to introduce a new male/s.

In the meantime the remaining three Meerkats are carrying on as normal (as far as obvious external appearance and behaviours are concerned). We hope that whatever bereavement or missing is felt from a Meerkat’s perspective that it is neither too painful nor too drawn out.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011



Fern & Meerkats DSC_0415Not all days are bursting with happiness – even here at Seaview Wildlife where Dippy’s flapping flippers uplift us all even when the world is full of woe!

Unfortunately one of our male Meerkats was taken ill this morning – we found him listless and very out of sorts in his heated house.  We rushed him off to the vets straight away -he’s in the best hands now.  Various tests are being run and we won’t know the outcome for a while but we’ll keep you posted.

Regular visitors to the Park will know that our gang of Meerkats has gradually dwindled due to old age.  Last Spring we introduced two young females from Cotswolds Wildlife Park in the hope that we might hear the pattering of little pups’ feet this summer ….. what is the expression – the best layed plans ….oh well, nature has a way of sorting things out, so let’s wait and see……..


Friday, 7 January 2011

David Nordell’s 2010 Seaview Wildlife images

David Nordell has been a regular visitor to the Park over recent years.  He takes absolutely beautiful photographs!  We received an email from David yesterday sharing a few images with us that he took during his visits during 2010.   We’re looking forward to welcoming David back in 2011 …………….

2 Otters (D Nordell 2010) Chilean Chick (D Nordell 2010) Crowned Crane (D Nordell 2010)

Lessers Entwined (D Nordell 2010) Mandarin (D Nordell 2010) Mandarin Duck (D Nordell 2010)

Meerkat (D Nordell 2010) Peacock (D Nordell) 2010 Penguin head in pool (D Nordell 2010)

Penguin splashed in water (D Nordell 2010) Penguin with mouthful (D Nordell 2010) Sparrow in the Park (D Nordell) 2010

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Snow-covered Park images during Christmas 2010


Before we forget the winter wonderland that was – here are a few images that Animal Keeper, Fern, captured on her iphone just before Christmas (whilst I was snowed-in in the New Forest!).  Great contributions Fern, we may just ask for your support more often!


  Magical winter light Winter scene at lower lake



Two wonderful winter shots taken down at the lower lake.  The light in the image on the left is really magical!







Pelican catching fish in snow Dec 2010

Dippy in the snow Dec 2010



Horace the Pelican (left) showing his fish-catching expertise whilst perched on a snow-covered pier.


Dippy (right) in a contemplative mood, making his way forward for one of his daily tummy-tickles!




Geese at Lower Lake in snow

View across meadow to Solent in snow


Geese at the lower lake (left)


The view across the meadow – with stormy skies over the Solent (right)