Thursday, 29 March 2012

Wallaby Joeys ready to greet visitors!

Our Bennett’s Wallabies are in great form! Right now we have three brown females carrying tiny brown Joeys in their pouches and one Albino female carrying an albino Joey in her pouch. The Joeys are loving the warm spring sunshine and spending a lot of time peeking out of their Mums’ pouches, learning about the world around them. They’re all really tame and can be stroked even by very young children because they’re so gentle.

It’s perfect timing for our visitors to come and share in the joys of spring at Seaview Wildlife by meeting these young Joeys. We’re looking forward to welcoming old and new friends back to the Park – we re-open this Sunday 1st April – so hope to see you soon!

Monday, 26 March 2012



Seaview Wildlife Encounter has been a recognised breeder of Humboldt Penguins since 1997. In the wild, Humboldt Penguins are vulnerable with only approximately 10 000 remaining along the South American coastlines of Chile and Peru. In captivity however Humboldts are doing exceptionally well and can be seen in a number of zoos, aquaria and wildlife parks across the UK and Europe. Seaview Wildlife, through its core collection of ten breeding pairs, has been at the forefront of supplying Penguin chicks to a wide cross-section of captive collections – playing an important role in ensuring strong bloodlines and essential genetic diversity.

This year, Seaview Wildlife Encounter is proud to have been selected to supply 20 fertile Humboldt Penguins eggs to Longleat Safari Park in Wiltshire for their brand new Penguin exhibit scheduled to open in a few month’s time! Each of Seaview Wildlife’s ten breeding females has recently laid two eggs – currently being incubated by the parent birds. Just prior to hatching, the eggs will be removed and placed in incubators ready for their transfer to Wiltshire. It is an unfortunate fact that Penguin chicks have a low survival rate if left to be parent- reared – mainly due to being squashed by their over-zealous parents! For this reason, Seaview Wildlife has many years of hand-rearing experience! The breeding programme is carefully managed and chicks are only reared when the capacity of the Seaview Wildlife Penguin collection allows for extra numbers or when an external request has been vetted and approved.

Hand-rearing Penguin chicks is a full-time job - even for the most experienced of Animal Keepers – so Longleat will no doubt be preparing themselves for the new arrivals! The hand-rearing process involves daily health-checking; sterilising the feeding equipment; liquidising the sprats with added vitamins & minerals; ensuring the environment is clean, dry and correctly heated; weighing and recording various data; and of course feeding the youngsters three to four times a day for 12 weeks! We look forward to reporting back on the future hatching and rearing success of these special little chicks!

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Animal Care Team Meeting & Photo Session!

It’s only just over a week till the Park re-opens for the 2012 season ….. a time for planning, preparation and putting things in place! Today we had an Animal Care Team meeting - a start-of-season refresher induction with the emphasis on health & safety and risk assessments. It was also an excuse for a cuppa and some delicious sweet treats including Charlotte’s beautifully decorated, home-made cupcakes! Getting the Keeper Team together in one place all at the same time is not a common occurrence because of our rota system so it was really good to cover some key points – and of course a rare chance for a group photo or two!

We have two new team members for the 2012 season – Grace Turner and Becky Apelgren. I’ve included photos of the two of them (below) – welcome to the Animal Care Team Grace and Becky – here’s to a happy, healthy, successful season ahead for all of us!

Becky Apelgren March 2012 DSC_0597 Grace Turner March 2012 DSC_0595

Becky Apelgren (above left) and Grace Turner (above right) our new Animal Care Team members!

Tara March 2012 DSC_0601

Our Head Keeper, Tara Hayter, is due to have a baby on 13th April. Today is Tara’s last day with us for the next 6 months or so! Tara sets high standards for the Team and has a lovely way of getting things done in a quick, thorough, efficient manner. We’re all going to miss her loads! We’re looking forward to meeting the new arrival and will keep you posted on further news!


Graham Head Chef Penguin

Our Catering Department has a vacancy for a Catering Assistant for the 2012 season from April 1st to the end of October.

To assist in the smooth running of the catering area, serving customers, use of tills, clearing tables and maintaining high levels of cleanliness.

Five days a week to include bank holidays and weekends. Around 25 hours per week (flexible) and hours to increase over busy bank and school holidays.

We are looking for a mature person with excellent customer care skills and a ‘can do’ attitude that will work well within a team environment.

Please Email your details and current CV to Jules Brittan at or by post to Jules Brittan, Seaview Wildlife Encounter, Oakhill Road, Seaview, Isle Of Wight. PO34 5AP.

Closing date: April 2012. Previous catering experience an advantage. Must have accommodation arrangements local to the Park.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Easter is coming and Seaview Wildlife is preparing to re-open!


Only eleven days … and counting … till Seaview Wildlife Encounter re-opens for the 2012 season!  There’s lots of activity going on at the Park with inevitable last minute preparations!  It’s looking lovely; the trees and shrubs are bursting with buds, the grass is a verdant shade of green and all the birds and animals seem to have a an extra spring in their stride!


Dippy Easter Blog


Seaview Wildlife Encounter - Leading the way with Interactive Wildlife Experiences!

Nature’s Spring Equinox brings promise of new life!

Today is Nature’s Spring Equinox – the last official day of winter in the northern hemisphere – and the turning point into Spring. As we all know, this is a time of new life, of new beginnings. During the last couple of weeks the wildfowl here at the Park have been pairing off, quacking more than usual, and making a serious job of seeking out safe places to nest and lay their eggs!

Yesterday we noticed one of the more innovative and adventurous nesting sites so far …. one of the wild Mallards has laid her clutch of eggs inside the trunk of a Willow tree down at the lower lake! A safe, cosy and weatherproof alternative to a scrape on the ground, under a bush, that is the Mallard’s usual choice.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Keeper Charlotte returns to the UK

After nine amazing weeks in the South African sunshine it was time to say goodbye to Cape Town, the penguins and all the new friends I had made. Returning back to the UK has been a bit of a shock- especially with the weather! It has been nice however to see everyone on the island again, and the animals at the park of course!

This trip has to be one of the best things I have ever done. It really is incredible just how much you can gain from visiting a new country, meeting new people and having new exciting experiences!

My time at SANCCOB was a great opportunity which provided me with the chance to not only learn and obtain new skills, but also to put into practice my animal husbandry experience. It was very rewarding being part of such an important organisation, knowing that all your hard work is going towards saving an endangered species.

It is difficult to pick one favourite moment from SANCCOB, but I probably enjoyed working in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) the most. The birds in that section are very unwell and weak, and it was amazing being able to provide them with the care they needed. Having the chance to release some of the birds back into the wild at Boulders Beach was also a personal highlight!

After my six weeks working at SANCCOB I was able to go on a week long tour of the Garden Route of South Africa. This area of the country is absolutely stunning, with beautiful scenery, landscapes and wildlife. During this week I had the chance to get up close to cheetahs, tiger cubs, elephants and even cage dived with crocodiles! I also went on a safari at Addo Elephant National Park, where we saw many different species of animals including buffalos, zebras, kudu, jackals, hyenas, meerkats, warthogs, ostrich and lots of elephants!

South Africa is such an incredible country from which I have brought home so many amazing memories, and would thoroughly recommend a visit for anyone!

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Annual Owl Catch-Up

Every March we ‘catch-up’ our Owls for a thorough health-check. This involves checking each bird’s plumage, beak, talons and body condition. We treat for ‘ecto’ (external) and ‘endo’ (internal) parasites (mites and worms), trim talons, and ‘cope’ (file) long beaks if necessary. The Owls obviously don’t relish the idea of being caught and treated, but they seem to remember the annual occurrence and, other than some mild protestations they let us get on with it!

At the end of last year we re-homed our Magellan Owl to another Collection. That has left us with three remaining Owls – the pair of Eurasian Eagle Owls (Amber and Marzipan) and Snowy the male Snowy Owl (we’ve tried pairing him with a female but he’s a confirmed bachelor who apparently sees any newcomer as an unwelcome intruder!) All three remaining birds are, by all accounts, fit and healthy! I was relieved that this morning Amber was her usual friendly self – swooping to the front of the aviary and ‘hooting’ her greeting - she seems to have forgiven me for being part of yesterday’s events!

Saturday, 10 March 2012


Graham Head Chef Penguin

Our Catering Department has a vacancy for a Catering Assistant for the 2012 season from April 1st to the end of October.

To assist in the smooth running of the catering area, serving customers, use of tills, clearing tables and maintaining high levels of cleanliness.

Five days a week to include bank holidays and weekends.  Around 20/25 hours per week (flexible) and hours to increase over busy bank and school holidays.

We are looking for a mature person with excellent customer care skills  and a ‘can do’ attitude that will work well within a team environment.

Please Email your details and current CV to Jules Brittan at or by post to Jules Brittan, Seaview Wildlife Encounter, Oakhill Road, Seaview, Isle Of Wight.  PO34 5AP. 

Closing date: 18th March, 2012 .  Previous catering experience an advantage.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Vet tends to Ollie the Goat’s torn ear

As you may already know, we have two male Pygmy Goats here at Seaview Wildlife, Basil and Ollie. Basil is the oldest and has lived at the Park for a number of years. Ollie is about two years old; he came to live at Seaview Wildlife when he was a youngster – to be a friend and companion for Basil. He’s probably the bossiest companion Basil could ever have imagined! Even though he’s younger and smaller, Ollie has established himself as the ‘alpha goat’ and he bosses and head-butts everyone around him! This includes all the species of livestock he comes into contact with including the Alpacas, Wallabies, Chickens, Geese and Guinea Fowl. However, it seems Ollie may have met his match …. one of the animals has finally taken a stand against our bossy Ollie!

Goats are renowned as being escape artists, but did you know that they also break into as well as out of enclosures?!! Our 'Miniature Pigs’ are neighbours to the Goats. It seems that Ollie was determined to make his way into the Piggy Paddock – perhaps he thought the grass was greener on their side? There were no Keepers to witness the occurrence but we can only imagine what happened next … Ollie, after pushing his way in, would no doubt have tried to butt the Pigs around – in his normal assertive manner. However, these two Pigs weren’t having any of it! It seems most likely that one of the Porkers bit back – resulting in a nasty injury to one of Ollie’s ears. We had to call our vet out to deal with the problem yesterday. Dr Ian Green, over the years, has dealt with a myriad of challenges here at the Park – so this didn’t cause any unnecessary angst and was dealt with as calmly as always! The ear was too far torn to stitch back together; so, after sedating Ollie and administering a local anaesthetic, Dr Ian removed the torn half of the ear and stitched the remaining edge.

The images below show a few snap shots of the procedure. Starting with Ollie looking sorry for himself, sporting a torn ear, and looking quite dozy after being injected with a sedative. The rest of the process is quite self explanatory – with the ear being anaesthetised, trimmed and stitched; then the patient asleep, covered in a blanket, recovering from his operation.

We’ve since had the Pig Paddock fence reinforced to keep Ollie from attempting a repeated break-in. Mind you, after this experience, one would hope even Ollie might be put off even thinking about a repeat performance …. Pig power reigns!!

The two images immediately above show Basil (left) looking quizzically on – and showing off his one-horned wonder look! Top right shows Ollie, wrapped in a blanket , head propped gently on a log, sleeping off the sedative – and showing off his new look half-an-ear-look! What a mottley pair they are!

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Giant Trout arrives for Otters!

Following our story of a few days ago where we reported on the non-arrival of our regular Trout delivery for the Otters, the good news is that a new batch has been delivered – and in amongst the normal-sized Rainbow Trout there was an absolute giant! Earlier this afternoon we decided to throw the huge fish in to the Otter enclosure in once piece to see how they’d react – and I captured a few images as the eager Otters ‘seized the moment’!

However, as with all animals, Otters aren’t always good at sharing! One of the three brothers - evidently the Otter equivalent of ‘The Lion King’ - took control of their monstrous catch and pulled it towards the water’s edge where he started to devour it on his own. After I snapped a few shots we decided to remove the tremendous Trout, chop it up, and share it amongst the boys so that all were able to enjoy the delicacy!

Tremendous Trout! DSC_0429 Trout being thrown to Otters DSC_0432 Looking for the Trout DSC_0436

Above left – huge Trout! Above centre – being tossed into enclosure Above right – Watching eagerly!

All tucking in!DSC_0445 The escape plan DSC_0438 A solo steal! DSC_0449

Above left – all 3 Otters tucking in Above centre – making a getaway Above right – dragging his prize to the water

It's heavier than you think! DSC_0450 I'll just get a grip on this! DSC_0463You're all mine! DSC_0454

Above left – a man-sized mouthful! Above centre – pinning down his prey in the water Above right – It’s all mine!

Smaller Trout but equal enjoyment!DSC_0472Being watched! DSC_0473Tucking into Trout DSC_0476

Above (all three images) – a smaller piece of Rainbow Trout being eagerly enjoyed by one of the other Otter brothers!

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Transfer of Chileans to new home!

Our Chilean Flamingos (Phoenicopterus chilensis) have been breeding successfully here at Seaview Wildlife Encounter for many years. Every few years we ‘move on’ some of our stock to other Collections in the UK. This enables our numbers to be controlled and offers other zoos and wildlife parks the opportunity to start their own Chilean flock or diversify their existing gene pool.

This weekend, Wingham Wildlife Park are collecting nine of our Chileans for their Collection. We’re really proud to have bred such strong, healthy birds that have been chosen to form the foundation of this new wildlife exhibit. We wish Wingham every success with the future of these beautiful birds and hope that they continue to breed and thrive as well as they have done here with us.

Photos below taken this week of some of our Chileans. The bird on the left with grey plumage is a juvenile hatched last spring. The bird with a mixture of grey and pink is probably two or three years old. It takes up to five years for the grey feathers to disappear completely – this is when the Flamingo is in full, adult, pink and white breeding plumage.

Juvenile Chilean close-up DSC_0406 Just turning pink DSC_0407 Chilean close-up DSC_0409