Friday, 4 May 2012

Rare Babirusa Birth 2012

South Lakes at the forefront of  Babirusa Conservation

South Lakes Wild Animal Park in Cumbria, North West England is certainly becoming renowned through Europe for our success in breeding Babirusa (Babyrousa babyrussa) , a very rare Sulawesi species.

September 2003 saw the first young born here at the park and then first time mum Kota went on to rear “Sausage” who under the International Breeding Programme for Endangered Species later moved to Chester to start a family of his own.

Following that initial success the park had many issues with Kota killing any subsequent young, common amongst Babirusa.  Every Babirusa is vital in the breeding programme as they are so rare.  Only South Lakes Wild Animal Park, Chester Zoo & Antwerp have been successful in breeding Babirusa throughout the whole of Europe.  So the decision was made by Animal Manager Jo Dennis to hand rear any future litters.  Nights camping out around due dates were rewarded on 29th August 2007 when Kota gave birth to twins Nakula and Malu.
Only one other zoo within the European Breeding Programme has ever successfully hand reared Babirusa and that was Port Lympne in 1996, and although Jo had very little to go off and weeks of disturbed nights followed with hourly feeds and growing piglets, after many setbacks and worrying moments, Jo reared the two piglets to maturity.

Male Malu was moved to Wuppertaal Zoo in Germany to be paired with a female.  Nakula stayed here at South Lakes and a young male was brought in to pair with her. 
On 11th March 2012 Nakula amazingly produced her own piglet and with all her “NATURAL” instinct began rearing it herself.  The baby, a female, has been named Cinta (pronounced chinta) which means “love “in Indonesian.  At 6 days old she weighed 900g and has gradually been putting on weight, at her most recent weigh in was a healthy 2.75kg showing mum Nakula is doing a great job.

From today visitors can see mum and piglet Mum outside in the spring sunshine.

A Fantastic success – for Jo, for South Lakes but most of all for Babirusa.   
Endemic to the Sulawesi rainforests of Indonesia, the unique tusks erupting from its head below its eyes, the Babirusa today is close to extinction numbering as few as 5,000 individuals in the wild.  The main threat being the speedy destruction of its rainforest home, and despite legal protection from Indonesian wildlife law, the illegal poaching for its meat.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012


From Saturday 31st March 2012 our full talk and feeding times will be in full swing and this year will see a new schedule arrive in time for Easter.

For everyone visiting the Park from Saturday onwards will be able to follow this new schedule around the park getting up close to Rhinos, Tigers, Bears, Primates, Vultures -  hand feeding penguins, Giraffes, Kangaroos and back for summer, the Lemurs... for the ultimate interactive animal experience.

For those that visit the park regularly will know that our Tiger & Jaguar feeding is a spectacle not to be missing as they climb up 6 metre poles to hunt for their food and will focus their day around that feeding, please make note below that this feeding has been moved to a later time.

TALK & FEEDING TIMES from 31st March
11:15   Hand feed Giraffes
11:45   Lion talk & feeding, watch the pride hunt for their lunch
12:15   Reptile talk & meet a Snake
12:45   The Birds of the Aviary - Vultures, Condors, Macaws talk & feeding
  1:15   Lemurs of Madagascar talk & hand feeding
  1:45   South American animals - Andean Bears, Giant Otters talk & feeding
  2:15   Rhino & Giraffe talk fallowed by hand feed Giraffes
  3:00   Primates of the park talk & feeding
  3:15   Penguin talk & hand feeding
  3:45   Big Cat feeding - not to be missed Tigers & Jaguars hunt for their lunch

Talks are free if you want to join in hand feeding there is a cost of £1 per person.

ADMISSIONS from 31st March
Adults -    £13.50
Children - £8.00
Seniors -   £9.00
Under 3's go FREE

10am - 5pm everyday.

Please note we do have group rates available, please contact us on 01229 466086 ext.0 if you are bringing a larger herd to see ours. Booking must be made in advance.

For more information on the park please visit where you will find all the information you need from up and coming events to local bed and breakfasts.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Penguins take an early lead

Penguins "swimming for victory"
Penguins have taken an early lead in this year's Park Mascot Elections.  

Voting started on Saturday 11th Feb with every child through the door given a voting slip - and in true democratic fashion it up to you to come along and listen to the candidate’s elections speeches before casting your vote as to who you think deserves to be “2012 Animal in Chief”.

The candidates (with the help from keepers) have been working hard on their campaigns looking for your vote, budgets are slightly less than council elections but never the less a serious issue - and lying is not an option!   

The candidates & their election slogans are:
Rhinos:                         “Charging to the top!”
Giraffes:                       “Head and Shoulders above the rest!”
Jaguars:                       “Grace & pace to win the race!”
Capuchins:                    “Stealing your votes!”
Penguins:                     “Swimming for victory!”

Jaguars the 2011 champions are hoping to retain the title but it’s all up to you - come along listen to why you should vote for the candidates then place your vote at Election HQ for your park mascot for the year!

Indiana the baby rhino born 17th November will be out and about (weather permitting outside) and there is lots to do including Hand feeding Giraffes, Hand feeding penguins, jaguar and tiger feeding not to mention the skating rink and mini train open every day.    Entrance for children is free through until 30th March adults are £13.50 and OAP's £9.00.

Daily Conservation Talks & Feeding:  
11.45am                        Why Vote Giraffe & Giraffe Hand feeding
12.30pm                       Why vote Capuchins
1.45pm                         Why vote Rhinos 
2.30pm                         Why vote Jaguars talk & feeding (also Tiger talk &feeding)
3.00pm                         Why vote Penguins talk & hand feeding
3.20pm                         Lion feeding
3.45pm                         Hand feed giraffes
4.00pm                         Join us in Election HQ and help count the day’s votes and crown the leader.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

New Rhino Birth, 'Indiana" born 17.11.11

17th November 2011 10.20am will go down as another important date in the history of the park when White Rhinoceros  Ntombi gave birth to a very rare, very special (and very cute) calf . 

Staff arrived at the park this morning and found her waters broke so have been waiting and watching on CCTV with baited breath.  The calf arrived at 10.20, named Indiana after Park owners young son and for everyone at the park it was one of the most amazing experiences to see this little calf born then watch mum give a loving lick then it was not long with a little encouragement from mum the calf made its first tentative, if not wobbly, steps.

Mum Ntombi arrived in the park from a private breeding reserve in South Africa in September 2003 and since then has been inseparable from 10 year old Male Mazungu.   It has been a long waiting game since pregnancy was confirmed in 2010 (after pregnancy testing) as the gestation period is between 15-16 months – but now the wait is over.

Park Director David S Gill beams – “This is another important birth in the whole history of the park, White Rhinos are such an Endangered species and this park prides itself in being at the forefront of conservation all over the world.    

“Very few establishments breed White Rhinos, we are being told there were only 6 births within Europe last year  and only 1 zoo in the UK.   Which makes it even more amazing to think we had 2 calves born in 2008 and now this latest arrival Indiana in Cumbria.

Visitors to the park this weekend will be able to view mum and baby --- Entrance from 1st November through until 10th February is free of charge.

Videos of the birth and photos are available of Indiana and we will permit camera crews to video mum and baby providing you contact us first - Karen 01229 466086

Pregnancy Test a Rhino:

In 2008 female white rhinos Ntombi and Tala gave birth to their first calves (Nyala & Zimba), in 2010 animal keepers had witnessed further successful rhino mating but then how do you get a 2 tonne rhino to “pee on a stick”?
Cue one very special biomedical science department with some very special testing equipment at an Austrian University.  Faecal samples (rhino pooh), and of course it had to be fresh, were collected from each of the females from mid April to the beginning of May. Clearly labelled in small plastic containers like that very famous pea advert the samples were “packed & frozen within 2 hours”.
In May a courier was sought who could deliver the samples to Vienna within 2 days, allowing the samples time to thaw but not be wasted, shipped off, fingers were kept crossed and in June we received the very happy news that Ntombi is pregnant expecting her second calf.
Based on mating records and a 15 month gestation period the pitter patter of tiny hooves was expected September/October 2011.
So now you know!

·         South Lakes Wild Animal Park is home to one of the most amazing herds of white rhino found in the UK.  With 2 calves born in 2008 the herd of 6 share their summer savannah with a herd of giraffes and troop of baboons - a truly wonderful sight.
·         On 1st June 2008 then  7 year old White Rhinoceros  Ntombi gave birth to her first,  very rare,  calf - Nyala .  BBC webcam viewers witnessed the birth firsthand and for Park Owner David Gill it was one of, if not the, most amazing experiences “Rhinos are my favourite animals here at the park – and to see this little calf born then watch first time mum give her a loving lick then it was not long with a little encouragement from mum the calf made her first tentative, if not wobbly, steps.”
·         The Park is home to 6 white rhinos,  Males Huubke and Mazungu; Tala and son Zimba born in 2008; Ntmobi daughter Nayala born 2008 and the latest addition Indiana. 
·         The Southern White Rhinos was one of the first kind of rhino to be at the brink of extinction in our life time.  At the start of the 20th Century there were perhaps only 30 surviving in the wild – thanks to careful conservation and International Breeding Programmes – like Ntombi and Mazungo are involved in, there are today around 11,500 in the wild  - but almost all of them live in one single country.

For more details contact the park on 01229 466086  

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Magic of Christmas

Magic of Christmas 2011
A truly magical and unforgettable experience

Christmas is going to be even more Magical this year as Santa and his reindeers land December 3rd at South Lakes Wild Animal Park. The whole park is transformed into a magical winter wonderland as more than 80,000 fairy lights twinkle their welcome.

It's the most wonderful time of the year here as South Lakes Wild Animal Park when trees, lights, skating rink, donkeys, full size nativity join Santa, elves and of course Santa's reindeer for a magical festive period. All seasonal activities are undercover and for 2011 newly extended Christmas areas will be open.

Every Saturday and Sunday in December then from the 17th-24th December enjoy: The MAGIC of Christmas: Santa and Nativity

New activities for 2011NIGHT SAFARI

Sat 3rd Dec; Sat 10th Dec; Sat 17th December enjoy:BREAKFAST WITH SANTA
For more information on each of our Christmas activities and prices please click HERE!


Monday, 22 August 2011

Amur Tiger Nina turns 16!

It's a big day Saturday - Nina is 16!

We have a very special day at the Park this week, on Saturday 27th August South Lakes Wild Animal Park will be celebrating Nina's, our Amur Tiger, sixteenth birthday! Nina was born at Marwell Zoological Park on 27th August 1995 and was brought to the Park in December of 1996 which really was the "Year of the Tiger" for the Park because in April we saw our first Tiger Toba, a Sumatran Tiger take up residence.

Nina spent her years at the park sharing an enclosure with her brother Egor, their genes were well represented through the breeding programme so they were here not for breeding but as Ambassadors for their species to raise awareness of the problems facing wild tigers.

Nina alone has done a great job raising more than 1 million pounds for Tiger Conservation - every penny of which has been used to protect her wild cousins.

The Amur Tiger in Russia faces a number of threats including disappearing forests, loss of prey (food) and poaching.

While she has been here Nina has well and truly become the Cat of the Park and has had visitor after visitor become enchanted with her. She has many ways to wow the crowds at South Lakes however one of the highlights of the day when she takes delight at making visitors realise just how big she is -  when she goes on her hind legs and places her paws up on the viewing windows. This puts her at face to face height with visitors and allows them, if they are brave enough, to really appreciate the Tiger - taking a good look at all details of her facial features and even just being in eye contact with her is a must!  And just how big those teeth, paws and mouth really are.

On Saturday 27th August Nina will be able to be viewed at her enclosure and at 2:30pm its tiger feeding and talk time with the keepers.

For more information and facts on the Amur Tiger please click HERE.


Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Daniel Donates Unwanted Specs

Today we had one boy, Daniel Knight donate a total of 185 pairs of unwanted specs to South Lakes Wild animal Park so that we can get them sent off to help the children of Niger.

Daniel visited the Park last summer and took one of our brochures home, when reading through the brochure he noticed ways in which everyone can help towards conservation out in Niger. He composed a note for his headmaster and when the headmaster agreed to let Daniel go ahead with his collection, he painted a box to look like giraffe skin fitted hole so that people could add their spare glasses at their convenience. He gave a talk in assembly to the whole school which as you can imagine was quite daunting for an 8 year old!

He took in the fact that there are many people who have unwanted specs lying around thier home and we here at the Park send the specs out to a clinic in Niger.The clinic looks after three tribes which consists of 20,000 people in total. It is very important to help the villagers out, for many of the people out there, there is a lack of vitamin E, a lack of nutrition and vitamin A and they have a lot of problems with their eyes. These glasses will go to those villagers.

Although the Wildlife Protection Foundation are focused on conservation, it is very much a community project. If the community can see that the giraffes can bring them benefits, it helps them be enthusiastic about looking after the giraffes as well.

So a big thank you to Daniel for all his hard work!