Here in the zoo we work whatever the weather. However, as with most people, we prefer to do so in the sun. Especially as it is summertime...
This week however, we have seen a glimpse of the sunshine we associate with summer. The sun came out, the animals, staff and visitors emerged and smiles were seen all around. Our visitors were also sporting less waterproof ponchos (unless taking part in the Lost River Ride where a poncho is always deemed necessary!)
For us here in the Education Centre there is a change in the air. As the schools break up for their holidays our days are no longer spent with schoolchildren on days out. Workshop materials and zoo trails for all ages are tucked away for the summer. However, things don’t stop there. Here at the zoo we take the school holidays as an opportunity to put on Zoo Academy! This is a fun-filled week where kids aged 8-11 become part of the team. Backstage views of the zoo, up-close encounters with our exotic residents, exploring the wild and the native animals we have, and exhilarating games to fill your senses.
A couple of weeks ago myself (Marie, the education research assistant) and the other CIRCLE research assistants headed off down south in order to give presentations at the annual BIAZA (British and Irish Aquaria and Zoo Association) research symposium.
It is with great pleasure that I announce that all lectures went off without a hitch. We even came back with ideas to put into practice here at the zoo. And that is what it is all about – sharing ideas and information to ensure the maximum amount of research is taking part in our zoos.
Our resident capybara population has just seen an increase!
The capybaras are one of Flamingo Land’s most interesting residents. They are the world’s largest rodents and can easily be mistaken for giant guinea pigs! They can reach up to 1.3 metres in length and up to half a metre tall. In the wild they are found in South America. Here in the zoo they can be found in our free-ranging South America section together with alpaca, tapirs and maras.
In the wild the capybaras can be found in thick vegetation close to water. They are excellent swimmers and spend a lot of their time in the water, when they are not grazing on the land. This is why our Mum decided to have her litter right next to our big lake. The first European explorers to see capybaras originally named them water pigs!