At a time of so much uncertainty, we have some fantastic news!
Britain's only pair of Wombats are no longer a couple!
Keepers have known for some time, and we have several short pieces of film taken in the dens - but today we have the first film of 'Wanda' with her new joey outside in the large enclosure.
It was a brief appearance, and the attached shot is a frame taken from it.
This success shows just how long term our work and commitment to our animals is, as it is five years since we started our Australian project. Our Wombats arrived from Queensland in the middle of the 'beast-from-the-east' which of course is a distant memory now.
We have been told that the only other baby Wombat EVER born in the UK was in 1930.
Although we don't know yet for sure, our keepers think that the new joey is a little girl and have provisionally christened her 'Hope'.
Our good news comes at a difficult time of uncertainty for everyone. The new baby is being looked after protectively by its mum, and the chances of seeing it outside and above ground are quite slim at the moment - but it is still possible!
Like most other country zoos, our Park is open as usual. As an Approved Zoo, our staff are very used to rigorous standards of bio-security, and of course we have everyone's welfare as the first priority and will closely follow all advice and directions.
We have a new out-door snack kiosk just finished and a second being installed for Easter, to take any pressure off our new coffee-shop. Once the weather is dry enough work will re-commence on the finishing touches to our large new 6000 sq/m bear meadow. These small jobs have been postponed due to the wet weather, but will take just a month or so, as the project is practically complete. A new much larger open Meerkat enclosure, our 'Meerkat Mountain' started some time ago, will also house Porcupines - and is next on the list, due to be completed for the early summer.
The spring weather is now improving quickly and our investments to deal with surface water flooding on the car-parks are complete - so this annual problem, which has been so much worse this year, is now solved.
We have lots of open space to enjoy the better weather, no enclosed buildings but many covered walkways in case it is inclement, but there is no doubt that some sunshine will lift everyone's spirits. Unlike some other venues the Park does not get excessivey crowded, and never sees the crowds associated with larger zoos. This makes for a very relaxed visit at an ideal open country venue to spread out in. Because our children'splay area is wholly outdoors and not a play-barn it has been closed for a much longer winter than normal. All being well it should re-open for Easter.