The animals went in zoo by zoo…

With the latest lockdown, ZSL Whipsnade Zoo has sadly had to close their doors again. like many of you, we have membership at the zoo, we love visiting their and miss it when it isn’t open so its always nice to see what the keepers and animals have been up to!

If you can spare a few pennies, please consider making a donation to the zoo to help them to look after their animals in these difficult times.

Here’s what they have been up to this week!

Zookeepers conduct first lockdown stocktake at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo  

Thousands of animals stood up to be counted on Thursday, at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo as zookeepers kicked off the biggest task of the year behind closed doors – the first lockdown annual stocktake. 

 While the rest of the country is in lockdown, Whipsnade’s dedicated keepers continue to care for the animals at the UK’s largest zoo and this week began to take stock of each and every invertebrate, bird, fish, mammal, reptile and amphibian – a compulsory task required as part of the Zoo’s license.  

 Home to almost 4,000 animals and 280 species, ZSL Whipsnade Zoo saw many new arrivals in 2020 – boosting the numbers of threatened species, including some which are Extinct in the Wild. Despite being closed for a total of 18 weeks in 2020, the zoo’s vital conservation work continued behind closed doors.  

 Nilo, an endangered red panda cub was born to mum Tashi, seven Chinese water deer increased the numbers of the herd at the Zoo, and 14 Pere David deer, a species which is extinct-in-the-wild, were born in the summer.  

 Chief Operating Officer Owen Craft said: “Despite everything that 2020 threw at us and the huge challenges we continue to face, it’s so encouraging to take stock and highlight the positives in the last year.  

 “Our dedicated animal carers – zookeepers, vets, service teams – ensured our vital conservation work continued despite repeated closures and the financial pressures that created for us. As we now face another prolonged period of closure, we’re asking for support once again – any donation makes a huge difference.”  

 As part of the international conservation breeding programme, two new female Southern white rhinos – Jaseera and Fahari – were moved to the Zoo in Autumn and its hoped that their introduction to Whipsnade’s male Sizzle will encourage a further increase in the population’s numbers.  

 ZSL Animal Manager, Matthew Webb said; “As well as being a legal requirement for our zoo license, the stocktake gives us a chance to look back on the remarkable results of the past year. We’re so proud to have played a part in many conservation breeding programmes and to have helped increase numbers of threatened species, and we’ve been able to add some wonderful animals to the tally.  

 “The last year presented us all with so many challenges. Here at Whipsnade we had to get used to new ways of working and saw some of our plans altered or paused – we were not expecting to be counting the sea lions again this year but we’re looking forward and determined to make 2021 another success for conservation.” 

 A requirement of ZSL Whipsnade Zoo’s license, the annual audit takes keepers almost a week to complete and the information is shared with other zoos around the world via a database called ZIMS, where it’s used to help manage the worldwide conservation breeding programmes for endangered animals. 

 Reliant on income from ticket sales to care for the animals and fund their global conservation efforts, repeated enforced closures have put the charity zoo under huge financial pressure. Vets and zookeepers continue to provide the highest level of care for the animals, working throughout the lockdowns. ZSL, the international conservation charity behind the Zoos, is calling on the public to help ensure they remain open by donating to ZSL at www.zsl.org/donate    

Brilliant experience gifts from local, family run, Canoe Trail

Everyone gets plenty of ‘stuff’ at Christmas! I have spoken before,  on my Facebook page, about my love of Christmas gifts for the kids that aren’t “stuff” and I know that a lot of people share the same opinion. In comparison, experiences are so valuable  (and they are even better if they can be shared).

If you have anyone active that you need to buy a gift for why not consider taking a look at Canoe Trail. They have a really good selection of experience gifts for people that love exploring and experiencing new things.

I LOVE Canoe Trail, they are a family owned, locally based company that offer canoe, kayak and stand up paddle boarding (SUP) hire on the River Ouze. I have shared their activity days before (and already have asked to sign my kids up to one next Summer as I know they will love it) so some of my regular readers may be familiar with them already.

They are currently offering the 12 Gifts of Christmas and honestly they look great! There’s a good selection including gifts for families, 2 people and individuals, gift vouchers or even ones where the person can gain a qualification. They would make such a lovely gift and are right up my families street :). Experiences are available from as little as £25 (or gift vouchers from £10). They offer the following.

Vouchers are valid for 24 months so they are very flexible, which is reassuring at the moment.

They are also running a competition to win some AMAZING prizes. Find out more.