Here in the zoo we try and combine our activities, teaching people about our animals but also keeping our animals active. That is why, when Zoo Academy participants were learning about our Hamadryas baboons, the keepers and the education staff put their heads together. The keepers wanted to ensure that we could give the food to the baboons in a safe way and the education staff wanted to highlight the foods the baboons eat and introduce the zoo troopers to the concept of animal enrichment.
And what did we come up with? Baboon balloons! You can even try this at home and place them in your garden for the native wildlife that may be visiting! The zoo troopers blew up a balloon, dipped edible paper into a mixture of flour and water (we could not use PVA glue which is usually used for papier mâché because the baboons might eat it). We covered the balloon with 3 layers of the dripping paper. Once the entire balloon was covered we put it on a cup to dry. Once dry we filled the baboon balloons with hay, nuts and dried fruit: a tasty treat for our baboons!
This week we are focusing on a very impressive bird. Hamerkops are no ordinary bird and especially here in Flamingo Land zoo they hold a special place close to our hearts.
The hamerkop bird is a large African water bird; they can live in a variety of habitats, from arid semi-deserts to farmland to forest. The main factor for a good habitat is water. They forage in reed beds and along shallow waters near sand beds. They feed on a diet of amphibians, small fish, worms and insects. But the most interesting and exciting aspect of the hamerkop is their nest. The nest is an elaborate hollow structure of sticks usually built in a fork of a tree. The male and female spend weeks collecting twigs and suitable nesting material, incorporating it into a fantastic extravagant arrangement. Again as water is a main priority in their life, hamerkops will build their nests in a tree overhanging the water or near a lake or river.
Here in the zoo, we try to replicate life in the wild as much as possible...
Here at Flamingo Land we are very proud of our zoo, and we hope you enjoy it just as much as we do. But who is responsible for how great the place looks? Our keepers of course! All the keepers here at the zoo are extremely dedicated to the work that they are doing. Come rain or shine they are always working hard for the animals and for the members of the public.
The keeper’s day starts off with the zoo morning meeting. This is a chance for everyone to get together and update each other about what is happening in the different areas of the zoo. There are five sections in the zoo ranging from South America, Paddocks (which includes the rhinos, giraffes and ostriches), and Farm to Children’s Planet. Each section will have a group of keepers that work only on that section. Once everyone has been briefed, the real work starts.