Since re-opening on 12th April, we have been quite busy at Hamerton. Visitor numbers have been steady, during an unseasonably cold but dry April, and continue to be strong now a showery May has arrived.
We face planned 'relaxations' in the UK Government's Covid related restrictions over the next month or so, and we will always follow such regulations carefully and promptly. Given that, we would not expect that there will be any major changes to systems already in place, save the planned re-introduction of our road-train from the start of July.
We really hope that animal moves will soon resume as most are on-hold because post-Brexit many countries in mainland Europe will not accept road deliveries of Zoo animals from the UK. If this is not solved soon, many conservation programmes for rare species, especially those organised centrally, are at imminent risk. Farm animals and horses are different presumably because their 'industries' are deemed more important, and we have just sent our latest young American Mammoth Donkey filly to a private breeder in France.
The spring has seen many new births with baby Collared and Ring-tail Lemurs, Red-handed and Red-bellied Tamarins, a Mini Donkey foal, Camel calf, Brown Wood and Burrowing Owls plus a Ruppell's Vulture. No fewer than ten Corsac Fox puppies have been born to our group, a litter of 6 on Mother's Day and 4 more just a week later. However, many birds are only starting their breeding routines now, as it has been such a late, cold spring.
We eagerly await the arrival of a female North American Ring-tail from the USA, a mate for our young male, and several enclosures have been re-vamped for some of our smaller animals such as Fat Sand Rats, Gillen's Monitors, Harvest Mice and soon to arrive Swinhoe's Striped Squirrels, a new species for the park.
Work continues on more path-ways to give a new route for the road-train, and our freshly re-vamped loos seem to be working well. Our main on-show Cheetah enclosure is being partly re-fenced, two additional aviaries added to the main central aviary block for Australian birds, and work will soon re-commence on the new Meerkat enclosure which we hope to have open by the summer; along with upgraded power supplies running from our wind-turbines to the Coffee-Shop and central area of the park.
Busy, busy - as always!