Friday, 27 April 2018

Braveheart Back on Display

You know, sometimes I get some funny suggestions for animal names from the keepers, and sometimes if I know the animal is going to move on to another Centre I agree, keeps everyone happy and the name won't be here for ever. Problem is when things change and the name remains... last time this happened was with one of our wildcats, now on loan at Wildwood Trust, called "Richy Junior". This time it is once again another wildcat... "Braveheart".

Braveheart is one of the kittens we bred here last year, son of Macavity and Kendra, and was due to move to a Centre in Scotland for the breeding program. That was until we had some really sad news, and earlier this year his dad... Macavity... sadly passed away.

Braveheart has always been a keeper favourite, if we are allowed favourites, and is the spit of his dad in both looks and behaviour, as you can see above. Macavity is on the left, and Braveheart is on the right trying to be the big cat in stalking and snarling.

With this in mind, we decided to keep him back here at the Centre to be our new young breeding male. He will miss this season, but hopefully we will have a nice young female cat arriving later this year to pair up with him for next years breeding season.

He has the classic 'wildcat snarl' down already!

Braveheart has been off display to prevent him mating with his sisters, but they have now moved to the Lake District Wildlife Park, allowing us to move him back on to display. He has settled in quickly, and you can now see him in the first wildcat enclosure.

Friday, 20 April 2018

New Keeper: Aaron

If you visited us over the Easter holidays, you may have noticed a new face among the keeping team. Let me introduce you to Aaron, our new keeper. No one has left, all your favourite keepers are still here, it is just our diary is constantly getting fuller with groups and our animal inventory continues to grow and so we need another pair of hands to help out with the load.

And what a pair of hands! Aaron studied at Plumpton College before going on to earn his degree, and now has joined us to develop his animal husbandry skills and broaden his knowledge on British wildlife.

I am sure you will all make him feel very welcome when you see him around.

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Photo of the Month: March 2018

"Albus the Red Deer Stag" by Vicky Inseal

Hmm... I came on to this blog today to introduce you to our new keeper, but then realised two things. Firstly, I don't have a photograph of him... or her... yet, and secondly I must have forgot to press the publish button when I put together our Photo of the Month post last week. Doh!

So, if I remember this time, here it is. Lots of great photos over March, and we could of gone with any number of pictures, but decided with the photo above taken by Vicky Inseal of our old stag looking proud with his harem in the background. Vicky's photo will be on display in our coffee shop gallery next year, and be in with a chance to win a photographic day here at the Centre. 

Have a look below to see a few more images from last month, and click on the photographers names to see more photos by them on their websites. 

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

March Update

Last month we were hosts to another film crew, as they filmed some of our animals at night. Yep, at night... Over several evenings filming through to early mornings, we helped entice some of our animals in front of the cameras for a series on nocturnal British animals coming out later this year. More news nearer the time. 

For this we had help from our pine martens, foxes, wildcats, badgers, hedgehogs, owls and the stars of the show... our otter cubs. It took all the animals a little while to settle with lights and cameras around during their usual peaceful time, but once they got used to it they were their usual selves... settled down, and provided lots of opportunities for the crew to film them. 

You may have noticed that our reception area has had a little change around. An extended office, and a re-organised kitchen. Woop-de-do I hear you cry, what about the animals?.. Well, this change around has allowed us to build a new enclosure for our harvest mice in the reception by the entrance. This new enclosure is far bigger than their old one, and gives you plenty of chance to see them while queing up to come in. No worries if you miss them, we still have our main display of harvest mice in the hedgerow section too.

A little change around with our foxes. Basil, above, had been getting in to a few little scrapes and we found out that he and Dobby had taken a slight disliking to each other. With this in mind, we thought we would try and introduce Basil in to our other enclosure with Ellis. So far so good, and they seem to be getting on well... even seen playing with each other on occasion. Great news as it gives Basil the space he needs, and Ellis some company. 

Our other change around was brining Daenerys on to display. She has settled in very well, and is one of our most active pine martens during the day now. Often been seen out in the morning, and often on her high shelf watching the public walk by. 

Despite the torrential rain over previous days, our adders have still been seen out during the brief dry spells. It won't be long till they are dancing.

Don't forget, we are still open everyday until the 15th for our Easter holiday opening. Photo of the month later this week, and then I will introduce you to our new keeper next week.