Sunday, 27 December 2009
Friday, 18 December 2009
We've given Santa a new spin this year at Derrys Department Store in Plymouth.
We've basically moved half of our education department – animals, staff and all – to the grotto on the second floor where visitors can see the likes of snakes, giant spiny stick insects, chipmunks, gerbils and bearded dragons (as well as the big bloke with the white beard of course).
We've been open for a few weeks now and it's been an overwhelming success with both kids and adults alike loving the novelty of it all.
You can even pick up that unique Christmas gift for the animal lover in your life. Gift certificates for our “Keeper for a day” programmes, family memberships and tours are available from our staff at the grotto at great prices for Christmas. There's no time limit on the certificates so if you're quick you can beat the price rise next year.
So, if you're in town braving the Christmas crush then why not pop in to see us? Admission is free and you don't even need to bring the kids (Santa won't mind).
Wednesday, 16 December 2009
11.00 The vervet monkeys have their Christmas party with crackers and presents
12.00 The bears enjoy their Christmas Dinner
2.00 The lions open their stockings
Followed by the tigers unwrapping their Christmas presents
2.45 A chance to meet and greet our reindeer: Donna, Comet and Blitzen
3.15 The otters recieve their Christmas gifts
Sunday, 8 November 2009
Wednesday, 21 October 2009
We were aware that Mr. Busch is a controversial character, and the huge popularity of his Lion Man series has meant that the debate around him has been fuelled by the oxygen of intense publicity, which is rarely useful in establishing the actual facts.
Our own careful research revealed that no serious allegations made against him had yet been substantiated, and on the principle of innocent until proven guilty, we stood by our original decision.
However, we have since been advised by BIAZA, which is effectively our governing body, not to play a part Mr Busch’s tour, and so we have withdrawn our support.
Wednesday, 7 October 2009
This is the main enclosure. We'll be moving the camera around from time to time so you get to see the whole show.
This is where you'll find Sue and Timon tucked up at night in their temperature controlled house.
They've been getting down to the business of starting a family recently so make sure you keep a close eye on developments.
Saturday, 3 October 2009
Our flamingo, having always lived in the walk-in enclosure is very used to people, especially keepers, being within a few feet of him. This meant that it was very easy to simply pick him up and carry him to a travel crate in Paignton Zoo's van. He put up no resistance; the event was stress free for animal and keepers!
Friday, 25 September 2009
Blitzen is now taken for his walk daily with the girls and spends his day in the paddock. He still shows signs of wanting to stab us but at least we now know that he can't hurt us. The stumps that are left will drop off around Novemeber, when male's usually lose their antlers and next year they will still grow normally as this hasn't affected their growth.
Our curator Will managed to find a home for the pair at Porfell Wildlife Park and Sanctuary near Liskeard in Cornwall. In return we will be collecting a small number of young wallabies from this collection during the next month. We are planning to keep the new arrivals with our African pygmy goats in their walk through exhibit.
Porcupines defend themselves using their long, sharp quills. They can be very dangerous and will charge backwards towards a predator so that the quills become embedded, often in the muzzle, of the animal. As you can imagine, keepers were a little wary when the day came to crate them up! However, they were smoothly ushered into their transport crate through their house using only a broom and a keepers rather loud voice!
Please help by donating what you can or by buying lots of our home made cakes!!
Saturday, 19 September 2009
We frequently use olfactory enrichment with the cats (enrichment which stimulates the sense of smell) because this sense is really important to them. In the wild, tigers would spend a lot of their time patrolling their territory and scent marking. In order to encourage this natural behaviour we put various scents in the enclosures and on enrichment items. Some of their favourites are catnip, curry powder, mixed spice and cumin. We also use herbs and perfumes. These give the animals something different to analyse and they then cover up the foreign smell with their own odour, either by rubbing themselves all over it or, of course, by spraying!
The videos were taken a few weeks ago, but these photos of Blotch and the new hanging boomer ball were taken on Thursday. This time four straps of fire hose were used as a sling and it was hung from a tree by a long chain. When the lions had it recently, it only had two straps and Solomon managed to pop the ball out and it rolled down the hill! Hopefully this won’t happen with the tigers because it will end up in the moat if it does, and the keepers do not enjoy trying to retrieve it from there!
Thursday was a feed day so we put the ball up while the tigers were in their houses. Vlad came out and got his food, sat down and ate it. Stripe came out and got her food, sat down and ate it. Blotch however, came out and played with the Boomer ball! We had to call her away to make sure she got her food and one of the others didn’t eat it.
Friday, 18 September 2009
You may remember in an earlier blog I explained that we were having some difficulties uploading videos onto this site. As it turns out, Blogger has been experiencing technical problems and the only answer seems to be plenty of patience and persistance! Unfortunately I am still unable to upload Josie's Birthday Party video but the service has begun to accept some of our other enrichment videos. These will be posted whenever possible! The first is below and shows Tazmin, our 13 year old Amur tigress. When she lived at Tiger Rock, Taz would often cool off in the moat up there; however, since her move to Tiger Ridge a year ago, the keepers haven't seen her using the pool in this enclosure at all. In an attempt to encourage her into the water we made a raft, chained it to two breeze blocks at the bottom of the pool and placed some of her meat onto it when she was fed. For several weeks we would return later in the day to find the meat gone so hoped for the best; then the following footage was taken.
Unfortunately, as can be seen in the clip below, Tazmin cleverly manages to keep her paws largely dry as she stretches and swipes to reach her meat. We have since tried lowering the level of the water and the raft whenever we clean the pool but so far she always finds a way to get the food - even if we use many small peices instead! There is a large boulder in one corner which would allow Taz to step down into the pool gradually but she remains unconvinced. Having said that, it is only quite recently that Vlad, Blotch and Stripe have started using the moat at Tiger Rock, and of course they moved at the same time as Tazmin. Perhaps she just needs a little more time...
Thursday, 17 September 2009
The meerkat have settled in nicely to their new home. As soon as we put them in there they started mating but as of yet we haven’t seen any signs of young. All the keepers are keeping their fingers crossed that we get some babies soon! The meerkat have become a firm favourite with the keepers and the public as they are so entertaining, constantly doing something, even if it is falling asleep while sitting up.
Sita, the cheetah we had from Paignton Zoo has settled in great. She is such an easy cat to work with and very co operative. She loves to lie right on top of the mound in her enclosure so she can see everything. Although she is very co operative she is one of the fussiest cats we have on the park. Her food has to have no skin, feathers or fur on it and it has to be the freshest of meat otherwise she turns her nose up at it!
Keep checking back on the blog as things are constantly being updated at the park and we will do our best to keep you up to date with what’s going on.
Friday, 11 September 2009
Thursday, 10 September 2009
- Helping the keeping staff with their rounds such as feeding and cleaning the animals
- Preparing feeds
- Public talks
- General tidying of the park
- Helping the education department
At the present time we have one volunteer gardener, Mike, who comes in and works his way around the park tidying the flower beds, raking leaves and doing any gardening work he feels needs doing. We are very grateful to him for giving up his time and helping us, as the keepers are kept very busy with the animals and don't always have enough time to do these jobs. If anyone would like to help Mike we are sure he would welcome it as it's quite a big job he has to do! The days and hours are not as important as on the animal section so any free time people have to pop in would be great.
Please contact the zoo if you are interested in volunteering or email email@example.com
Wednesday, 9 September 2009
- Cake sales, on an animal theme
- Animal fancy dress
- Face painting
- Catch the monkey
- Monkey quiz treasure hunt and trails
- Raffles with great prizes
- Monkey guy competitions for school
and much more!
It has now come to the time for Temani, our Yemen Chameleon to breed. It is recommended that female Yemen Chameleons are given the opportunity to breed as fertile eggs are less likely to lead to a Chameleon becoming egg bound than infertile eggs. Becoming egg-bound can be very dangerous for Yemen Chameleons and is potentially fatal.
As we do not have a male Yemen Chameleon, we asked a local reptile shop if we could take Temani to their male for an afternoon. They were more than happy to help as they had a suitable male.
Monday, 7 September 2009
Sunday, 30 August 2009
Josie was quick to demolish the boxes and the hessian sack but Solomon amazed the watching crowd as he swung off the hanging sack and tore it down. He spent a lot of time getting the meat from the hanging boomer ball; using his great weight and strength he even managed to pop it out of the sling. He looked puzzled as it bounced down the enclosure, but was later seen rolling it around on the ground. This design will need adapting before it is given to our tigers next!
Saturday, 22 August 2009
Coati are members of the raccoon family, unlike all other members of this family they are diurnal, which means they are active during the day and sleep at night. They live in forests across large areas of South America. Coati are omnivores, eating a wide variety of plant and animal matter, and they use their highly sensitive nose and excellent sense of smell to locate their food. They forage both on the ground and in the trees.
The species is well known for digging and shredding so we had to remember this when revamping their enclosure, hopefully then they wouldn't destroy everything we put in! First of all we took down the old ropes. Except for the fire hose hammock, the items now hanging from the roof are all new. These include new ropes and fire hoses to climb, a hanging tube, fire hose swing and a rope ladder. One of our keepers, Ben, designed a new enrichment object which we are all calling the hot air balloon for that is what it resembles! It is a hanging horizontal life buoy, covered in rope, from which hangs a small wooden box where we can place some of their food. The coati are often seen sitting in this, despite its unusual appearance it is a definite success with them!
As we worked our way down to the ground, dead plants and old logs were removed. Most of the larger climbing structures were left this time. We have spent time planting about a dozen or so new bushes and shrubs and have surrounded these with rocks in the hope it will increase their lifespan! We also tried to use plants that were less appealing to the coati, we used some grasses and ferns, but soon discovered these were irresistible to them! They have been replaced with hardier species.
The main enclosure refurbishment is now complete for the coati, but like all of the animals at the zoo they are given enrichment on a regular basis. Items such as puzzle feeders, fruitbergs, and feeder balls are popular. A fresh layer of bark chip is also added whenever we get a delivery; they forage through this and pick out all of the invertebrates.
Friday, 21 August 2009
Our curator Will has made this browse holder and we will be making more in the near future. These will be given to many species including the vervet monkeys, coati, tapir and reindeer. We have plenty of other ideas for the fire hose including a hammock for the bears.