Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Chilean Flamingos sitting on eggs!

We’re proud to announce that our Chilean Flamingos have been going through the ritual of nest-building (reinforcing last years muddy mounds!) and laying eggs. It’s great to see the frenzied feathered flutters of the flock as they revive their dried nests of mud. Initially they jostle for position, squawking and squabbling over their favoured positions - and then they display to each other. Their courtship is a prolonged and elaborate annual ritual that takes place prior to egg-laying. Chilean Flamingos are monogamous; they share the incubation of the egg over a period of 26-31 days.

In the wild, Chilean Flamingos are listed as ‘near threatened’. They live in large groups on elevated coastal mudflats, estuaries and lagoons in central Peru, Bolivia, Argentina and Chile. Their flocks vary from a few individuals to several thousands. A flock size of at least 15 birds is required for successful breeding.

Nesting argy bargy June 11DSC_0298 Two females on nests (cropped) DSC_0291

Chilean Flamingos on and around their mud nests – taken at Seaview Wildlife Encounter earlier today. We’re looking forward to the arrival of the white/grey fluffy chicks in a few weeks time!

Update on “Henry Cooper”

Our regular Blog-followers will know of ‘Henry Cooper’ our orphaned Bennett’s Wallaby Joey – named after the late, great, boxing legend (because of his fighting spirit!).

Henry Cooper is now approximately five months old. He’s doing fine – still being hand-reared by the Animal Care Team and spending most of his time in his Keeper-made-backpack-pouch. He spends a lot of time asleep, in between hopping around on the grass and feeding. Henry’s not the largest of Joeys (that’s a polite way of saying he’s very tiny), but he is, as they say, beautifully proportioned!

We took Henry into Wallaby Walkabout this morning to let him re-meet some of his Wallaby friends and relatives. He acted quite nonchalantly, almost ignoring the bigger Wallabies completely – much more interested in getting back in his ‘pouch’ for a nap! I did however snap a couple of images to capture the moment!

HC 29 June (resized) DSC_0273HC 29 June 11 DSC_0263

HC meeting other Wallabies 29 June 11 DSC_0265HC meets others 29 June 11 DSC_0268

HC 29 June 11 (resized) DSC_0271 HC in backpack pouch upside down & asleep DSC_0276

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Keeper for a day – Marcus Cook- Northcott

Young animal enthusiast Marcus Cook- Northcott, was given a special surprise from his grandmother to spend the day as a keeper here at the Park.

Marcus and his family came all the way from Dorset to visit  the Isle of Wight for the first time and it most certainly will be a memorable one for Marcus!


From Stick Insects to Snakes, ducklings and Meerkats, Marcus just about had enough time to feed the Penguins and meet our adorable orphaned Joey, Henry Cooper…

Judging by the smile on Marcus’s face through out the day I think we can safely say he had a great day and look forward to welcoming him and his family back to the Park in the near future!

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Farewell to Hannah Savage - Work Experience Student


Hannah is 21 years old, lives in Fareham and recently completed a BSc Environmental Science at Bath Spa University.  Even though the degree did not require students to gain work placement experience, Hannah decided that this was what she wanted to do - and so applied to us some months back.  We were pleased to be able to offer Hannah a place in the Animal Care Team for a two week period - unfortunately that time is coming to an end tomorrow.

Here are a few images taken of Hannah around the Park:

Garnet being sheared (resized) DSC_0051

Hannah doing food prep DSC_0230

Above left – Helping with Alpaca shearing.  Above right – in the Prep room chopping fruit and veg.

Hannah & Fern medicating Crowned Crane DSC_0245 Hannah restraining female Crowned Crane DSC_0239

Above left – Assisting Fern in medicating the Crowned Crane.  Above right – Restraining female Crowned Crane.

Hannah feeding ducklings DSC_0238 Hannah with Penguin DSC_0250

Above left: feeding ducklings.  Above right: After helping Fern re-tagging two of the Penguins

Hannah with Penguins (hand on Dippy!) DSC_0252

Hannah (above) with the Penguins (Dippy in the middle having his tummy tickled!)

Hannah’s comments earlier today:

“I’ve really loved my time here; I’ll miss all the animals.  I’ve really got into a routine here which has been good, and I feel as though I actually work here.  I’ve enjoyed getting to know all the animals and I especially love the Wallabies.”

Hannah has applied to do an MSc in Biodiversity and Conservation next year.  We all wish her everything of the best with her future studies and would love to hear future progress reports – so please keep in touch Hannah!  Before she starts her Masters degree, Hannah is off to Tanzania with a group of friends to climb Mount Kilimanjaro – best of luck Hannah, enjoy every moment!

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Keeper for a Day – Serena Cacciato


We were pleased to welcome Serena – who unfortunately could only be with us for a short while for her surprise ‘Keeper for a Day” experience.  Despite the brevity, Serena said she really enjoyed it.  Our hope was that Serena could have a true taste of the ‘behind the scenes’ experience and we were very glad to hear that she really enjoyed her close-up time with our many wonderful characters. 

Here are a few selected images:

Serena feeding Penguins DSCF4198 Serena and Penguin DSCF4207

Serena feeding Meerkat DSCF4150 Serena feeding Meerkats DSCF4127

Serena feeding Pelican DSCF4214 Serena feeding Wallabies DSCF4166

Serena feeding Miniature Pigs DSCF4186 Serena and Green-crested Touraco DSCF4225

Letter and feedback of the week!


Thank you, once again, to our thoughtful guests for being so positive, warm and expressive!  We so appreciate that you have taken the time to write to us and to fill in our Visitors Book.  Here are just a few of your recent kind words:


“Dear Jules,Christina & Paul with Damien (Green Crested Touraco) resized DSC_1133
Thank-you so much for the photographs they are just perfect - a really great reminder of just how brilliant the day was.  We loved the blog and have told all our family and friends to read it!
We had the most wonderful day, it's difficult to put in to words how grateful we are to all the staff (and animals!) for making our honeymoon so memorable and perfect.
We were so pleased with our 'special date' - we knew it would be brilliant after visiting the park last year and having the best day then but the day could not have been better.
The staff were so wonderful and friendly, there is nothing that they would not have done for us - we really felt like VIP's. The only problem is now that we have been so spoiled by you all we may expect it every time we go out!
The animals were absolutely wonderful - it was great getting up so close to them all and getting plenty of cuddles. They were all so great that we didn't have a favourite (although I personally fell in love with the pigs & Dippy of course!)
It really was just the best day possible & we cant thank you or praise you enough for making the start of our marriage so wonderful and special.
I have no doubt that we will be back again in the future and look forward to seeing you all again when we do.
Our love to all of you & thanks for everything
Best wishes
Christina & Paul xxxx”


Penguin Pool 5 July 2010

13 June  -  “Our first day on the Island and we picked a great place to spend it.”  -  Carolyn, Weymouth.

15 June  - “Educational for youngsters.  Wonderful for children.  Entertaining for adults.  Amazing day for all.”  -  Miss G. Parkinson, Isle of Wight.

16 June - “Wonderful, very clean, a great day out for all ages, enjoyed every bit!”  -  Lyn Sprig, Dartford, Kent.

16 June  –  “Fantastic visit – children’s best attraction so far!  Particular thanks to your lovely, friendly staff – how refreshing.  Thank you.”  -  Bovingdon Primary School.



16 June  -  “28th year of visiting and still returning to feed the ducks!”  -  Catherine.Lilia feeding at lower lake DSC_7853

16 June  -  “Visited last year and had a fab time so had to visit again and have all really enjoyed.  One of the best attractions on the Island”.  -  The Furlongs, South Wales.

16 June  -  “Great for under 5’s.  Good quality food.  Staff very friendly.  Will recommend!”  -  Liz, Lee, Beatrice & Alex Kenny, West Yorkshire.

19 June  - “What a treat to find a retreat for birds and other animals being looked after in such a high standard and cleanliness.”  -    Tony Jones & Linzi Welsh, Bristol.

19 June  -  “We’ve been coming since the year dot and it gets better every time.”  -  Ann & Steve, Surrey.

Keeper for a Day – Pam White

We were pleased to have Pam White with us at the Park yesterday – as ‘Keeper for a Day’. At the end of her special day with us Pam said that it had been “absolutely brilliant; a very worthwhile day … I just can’t believe the time has gone so quickly!”

I’ve included a selection of images taken of Pam yesterday and her lovely email that we received this morning:

Pam White with Dippy (resized) DSC_0145 Pam White feeding Flamingos (resized) DSC_0155

Pam White with Wallaby (resized) DSC_0173 Pam White feeding Meerkat (resized) DSC_0177

Pam White feeding Meerkat (resized) DSC_0183 Meerkat with paws in Pam White's hand (resized) DSC_0205

“Hi Jules

Thank you so much for the photos and sent so quickly.

I had such a wonderful day. Still on cloud nine. I didn’t think to add to my comments, a big thank you to all the staff.

They are so very helpful, friendly, considerate. Even down to getting my toasted sandwich which arrived right as I walked into the café and the lady at the gate when I left.

I showed her the photos you gave me.

It has been a very special day for me and I will recommend it to everyone I know.

I hope I’ll get back for a visit in September to see how Henry is doing.

My very best wishes for the future.


Tuesday, 21 June 2011


June is the month for Alpaca shearing – an important annual event! Our Alpacas are sheared once a year, usually in June. We have an experienced Camelid shearer by the name of Bob, who comes down from Cumbria to shear our two boys (along with other Alpacas and Llamas on the Isle of Wight!) As would be the case for sheep, Alpaca shearing requires sharp hand clippers and specialist electric shears. The preferred method is to lay the animals on their side and restrain their legs with a tether at each end. This protects both the shearer and the Alpaca from being accidentally cut. Immediately after shearing, the fleece is separated into “the blanket” (the best quality part of the fleece that can be used for weaving), and other parts of the fleece (no good for weaving but excellent nesting material for various birds and animals here at the Park!)

The images above show shearer Bob and Keeper Jake having just caught (and then gently brought down), Garnet, ready for shearing.

Above left - Garnet tethered and ready to be sheared
Above right - The shearing process in full swing! Bob using electric shears, Jake holding Garnet's head steady and Hannah (work experience student) gathering up the fleece.

In addition to shearing Bob also trims hooves (left), checks teeth (above), and vaccinates and worms by injection (below left).

Image (right) shows Augustus in the midst of being sheared!

Alpaca fleece is highly sought after by hand-crafters and commercial markets alike because it is one of the finest natural fibres. The fleece can be made into any product that we would normally associate with wool – yet the end-product will be warmer, lighter, and softer. Many people who cannot wear wool because it is too ‘prickly’ can wear Alpaca fleece. Another interesting fact is that apparently Alpaca fleece doesn’t contain lanolin, so people it can be work by those who are allergic to the lanolin in wool. For people who are allergic to commercial dyes or have a preference for completely natural fibres Alpaca fleece is almost undoubtedly the answer – because it comes in over 20 natural colour variations!

Images above: the finished product - perhaps temporarily not quite as beautiful as with their full fleece – but shearing is an important way of allowing Alpacas to absorb sunlight (through their skin) – thereby boosting their vitamin D levels. If their ‘for-locks’ are left untrimmed for too long (resulting in insufficient natural sunlight into their eyes) and their fleece is left un-sheared (blocking sunlight from their bodies) this can cause vitamin deficiencies and often results in diseases such as rickets.

The last images (above) show Garnet pulling faces at Augustus – almost as though he’s saying something quite insulting about his new hairdo!!

Thursday, 16 June 2011


We were delighted to welcome Paul and Christina Gilbert to the Park yesterday – and we felt extremely privileged to hear that the newly weds had chosen Seaview Wildlife’s “Wildest Place for a Special Date” as one of their honeymoon treats! Christina and Paul come from Lincoln and, after visiting the Isle of Wight last year decided that this was the place for their honeymoon.

At the end of their day with us Paul and Christina said they’d had a really wonderful time. Of the many great images we captured of the couple, here’s just a few:

Christina & Paul with Penguins (resized) DSC_1129 Paul & Christina with Penguins (resized) DSC_1022

Christina feeding Wallaby (resized) DSC_1085 Paul feeding Wallabies (resized) DSC_1065

Christina feeding Alpaca (resized) DSC_1150 Paul with Alfie (resized) DSC_1039

Paul & Christina feeding Meerkats DSC_1105 Meerkats next to Paul's hand (resized) DSC_1124

Christina & Paul with Damien (Green Crested Touraco) resized DSC_1136 Paul & Christina in Tropical House (resized) DSC_1142

All the Team at Seaview Wildlife Encounter join together to wish Christina and Paul a magical honeymoon and a long, happy marriage.

Why not book your own “Wildest Place for a Special Date”? Go to for more info!