Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Goodbye to Little Tom

Last week we said goodbye to one of our keepers, Little Tom, who after nearly four years of being with us has decided to move on for a new challenge. If you don't recognise him above, then try picturing him with a beard... and seeing him through tears of laughter as you try to control yourself during one of his hilarious keeper talks... no?,.. oh, tough crowd.

Tom was a great asset to us over the years, and helped the Centre to develop and grow throughout that time. He will be missed, as will Des and Troy, his jokes, and his singing.., eh, well maybe not his singing.

We wish him all the best in his new role at Godstone Farm, and the new challenges and skills that will offer. Being just down the road, I am sure he will keep pop in and keep in touch.

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Keeper Vacancy

This weekend, (until midnight Monday 30th October), is the final weekend that we are accepting applications for our "Keeper" position we currently have open. 

Are you passionate about British Wildlife?..

Can you pretend to be a tree?..

Can you teach the savage wildcat to dance in synchronization?..

Are you a pro at taking selfies?..

Well if you can say yes to the above, or at least the bit about being passionate about British Wildlife, and think you can get along with this crazy bunch of people, head over to our website to find out more details for the position available and how to apply.

Monday, 23 October 2017

Red Squirrel Releases

A few weeks a go we supplied a dozen more squirrels to Caldey Island for their releases over there. These joined the few we sent previously over the last couple of years, and it is hoped they will establish a healthy little population with the help from the island residents. 

We are well known for our island releases, working closely with other conservation groups to establish pockets of wild red squirrels where they are safe from grey squirrels. We couldn't do all the hard work ourselves though in terms of breeding the animals, and do this with the help of several other holders. 

We manage a breeding group, including many local agricultural colleges and private holders, who look after squirrels for us and breed them to supply kittens for the releases. This along with the many we breed here on site are the basis of keeping the group going, helping out other groups around the country with swapping bloodlines, and of course providing squirrels for our releases. 

Above you can see three squirrel kittens that were bred this year at the Berkshire College of Agriculture, this lovely bit of footage taken by Nick Shelley. Once old enough and fending for themselves, kittens like these come back to us before they move on to their new life.

So, how are our ones doing on Caldey at the moment?.. Well it is still very early days of course, but so far signs are good. Here are a couple of photos we got sent last week to show how they have been settling in and finding their way  around. 

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Polecat Release

Our polecats have done really well again this year, and both our females Oriel and Cassie had litters of kits. Cassie has been off display most of this year with our male Billy, and had 5 kits. While on display in our main enclosure Oriel and Whitstable had 4 kits, which I am sure many of you have seen grow, play and mature over the summer. 

Above is one of Oriel's daughters, taken a couple of weeks a go. Isn't she gorgeous?!?... Really takes after her mum, who I think is the prettiest polecat I have ever seen. Really sleek and dark with the classic face mask. 

And this is one of Oriel and Whitstable's sons. Another handsome chap. You can see how they have grown over the summer, all big and healthy and ready for their next move. 

Here are the other two, and below two of the kits with mum Oriel at the front...

Last weekend Ferret Rescue Surrey came to collect them, along with Cassie's kits, and took them off to be released in to the wild. As with previous years, they are soft released to give them a real good start at "wild" life and the Ferret Rescue Surrey team do a fantastic job in monitoring them and keeping an eye on how they cope once our on their own.

So, Oriel is looking a bit more relaxed now with out the youngsters constantly playing and annoying her. Now that they have gone, we have been able to move Whitstable back out on to display with her.

Hopefully they will continue their success, and have another litter next year.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Photo of the Month: September 2017

"Snarling Wildcat" by Andy Lowe

September is over, and so it is time to share some more visitor photos with you. We had a lot of wildcat photos pop up over the internet this month, many of which were of our kittens, but it is this photo above of their dad "Macavity" showing off what wildcats are best known for that we chose for our photo for September.

This photo was taken by Andy Lowe, and you can see more of his work by following the link in his name. Andy's photo will be on display in our coffee shop gallery next year, and he will be in with a chance of winning a photographic day here at the Centre if selected by our professional judge at the end of the year.

Below are a few more pictures from last month.

"Wildcat Kittens" by Moi Hicks

"Black Water Vole" by Cathryn (Redcat09)

"Rutting Deer" by Irene Ford