Saturday, 25 June 2016

Polecat Babies

Do you remember that one of our polecats gave birth to her kittens in her run system, right in front of everyone in the middle of the day?.. A lot of you have asked me if they have been doing ok, and you can see from the above they are fine!

Shortly after giving birth, Cassie moved her kits to her nest box, but then kept moving them around the enclosure and did not settle at all. We took the decision to move her off display with her little ones, while they were less than a week old, hoping she wold settle more... and indeed she did. 

They are now causing mum a lot of trouble. In and out of the box, being dragged back in again by mum while another makes a dash for it. Cassie had 8 kits, and all have survived and are doing well. You can see all 8 and mum in the photo at the top!

When the youngsters are old enough, we will move them on to display for you all to see. Of course I will let you know when this happens. In the mean time though, Oriel, our other female polecat, has kitts too. They are also at the age of coming out and beginning to explore, and have been seen by many visitors and school groups already.

Keep an eye open for them when you next visit, or head over to our flickr page to see a few pictures of them from visiting photographers.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Members Evening: Saturday 9th of July

Don't forget. It is our annual Members Evening on Saturday the 9th of July!

On this evening, from 5pm - 8pm, Members of the Centre can stay behind after our usual opening hours to see the animals in the evening. During this time we will have another couple of 'Keeper Talks' that you can go and see, as well as the keepers being around to talk to and some of the animals out and about to meet.

If you are not a members yet, then you can always sign up on the day and stay behind with everyone else.

Hope to see many of you there.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

May 2016: Photo of the Month

"Wildcat Kittens" by Bob Matthews

May has been an exciting month for us here at the Centre. Lots of new baby arrivals, and some nicer weather beginning to break through. No surprises that the wildcat kittens and long-eared owl chick dominated the photos being shared.

Of course I had to pick a wildcat kitten photo, they have been such a draw with visitors coming from quite far away just to see them. Not only that, but they have been very good in coming out everyday and playing in front of their den, pleasing many people getting a glimpse of these adorable kittens. Difficult to choose just one photo from the many I've seen, but I chose this one above taken by Bob Matthews.

This photograph taken by Bob not only shows all three kittens, but also their mum, Kendra. It has been very difficult to get all three kittens, plus mum, in one shot, but Bob has managed it well. All beautifully in focus, one kitten attempting to play with mums tail, one hiding under the security of mum, and one about to pounce in a playful manner. Not forgetting Kendra of course, who is keeping a very close and watchful eye on the photographers. Well done Bob, a fantastic family portrait. 

Bob's photo will appear in our coffee shop gallery next year, and he will be in with a chance to win a photo day here at the Centre if chosen by our professional wildlife photographer judge at the end of the year. 

"Flo enjoys the spring sunshine" by Mike Crowle

We had some great foxy photos too this past month. This one above, taken by Mike Crowle, shows Flo enjoying the patch of sun on evening. 

"Hiding" by Sophiaspurgin

And this one of Biscuit, taken by Sophiaspurgin on flickr, shows that she is still beautiful in her old age, and how natural photographs can be taken in our enclosures.

"Otter" by Lesley Taylor

You know I like a good portrait, and this one of Elwood taken by Lesley Taylor, is just that. Stunning, and well composed being off centre and allowing a bit of space around him.

"That's the spot" by Natasha Jefferies

But back to the wildcats. If you want to see some really good interaction photos, check out Natasha Jefferies set of Kendra cleaning and washing the kittens. I loved the expression on the kittens face in this one above.

Thanks for looking everyone, and I look forward to seeing more of your photos over this month. There have already been some great ones sent in!

Saturday, 4 June 2016

More Babies

The baby season continues, and we currently have some young deer at the Centre. Muntjac, above, can give birth anytime of year... but there are currently a couple of youngsters in their enclosure along with the adults, and red squirrels.

And a week a go we had our first red deer calf of this season born. A little early maybe, and still the only one, but it won't be long till the other hinds begin to have theirs too.

The youngsters really stealing the show at the moment though are our wildcat kittens, and Leo our long eared owl. I will bring you updates on them after sharing some of the May photographs early next week.

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Polecat Kits

Just over a week a go now both our female polecats gave birth to a litter of kits. It is very early days, as you can see from the photograph above (taken at 5 days old), and so they will not be seen out and about for a good few weeks yet. 

We have moved Cassie off display while she rears her young. She has not been settled since the arrival of her little ones, and being a first time mum we decided to move her away from the public and give her some space. We will move the youngsters back on view once old enough. 

Oriel however is an experience mum, and so will be a star in her enclosure as usual. We have moved Whitstable out however, as Oriel was making it very difficult for him to get any food! He is now housed alongside our other male, Billy, opposite his usual home. 

Once old enough they will be collected by the breeding groups for release out in to the wild. I will keep you informed with how they are doing and growing, as with all our youngsters.