February 4, 2009 § 5 Comments
February has begun with a force, as the country has been swept with snow and blizzards. But of course, this is hasn’t stopped things at the zoo! We are as busy as ever!
Last week, we welcomed the long anticipated arrival of a female Amur Leopard to the Zoo. Zane, a young female has arrived from Helsinki, in Finland, to join our young male Skodge.
The Amur Leopard is critically endangered, and it is thought that there are less than 40 now living in the wild. This species has become endangered as a result of habitat loss, hunting and poaching of its prey, and unfortunately these threats continue to pose a problem to the leopards. This species is considered to be facing an imminent threat of extinction.
It is therefore incredibly important that zoos work together to maintain a healthy captive population of Amur Leopards in order to safe-guard them from extinction. There are currently around 300 Amur Leopards kept in captivity worldwide and here at Edinburgh Zoo, we are hopeful that our young pair will take a shine to each other, and ultimately breed together. As with all of our solitary carnivore species, introducing these two individuals will be a long and slow process, but it should definitely be worth it!
We will keep you updated on their introduction process right here.
Skodge, our male Amur Leopard – possibly one of the most beautiful and threatened big cat species
And yet more animals have been arriving at Edinburgh Zoo this week! Three male Scottish wildcats by the names of Baen, Sim and Stiùbhart have made their way down to Edinburgh from the Highland Wildlife Park near Aviemore. These three males are all reaching ‘retirement age’, and are no longer able to breed. However, they have been sent to Edinburgh with the important mission of raising the profile of their species.
Scottish wildcats are one of Britain’s rarest animals, with a wild population thought to be less than 400. This year, the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland will be working hard to raise awareness of the Scottish wildcat’s plight and to increase dedicated conservation efforts.
For more information please visit www.scottishwildcats.co.uk
The Scottish Wildcat – a native species on the brink of extinction
Of course, we are always happy to welcome new arrivals to the zoo. But occasionally, we also have to say ‘Goodbye’ to some animals as well. Last week fifteen Gentoo penguins left Edinburgh for Wuppertal Zoo in Germany.
Last summer, our Gentoo penguins had a particularly successful breeding season, rearing thirty-eight chicks in total, and bringing our total number of penguins at the zoo near to the two hundred mark! It has therefore been decided that some of our Gentoos should be moved to other zoos.
Exchanging animals is common practice between zoos, and no money ever crosses hands. The exchange of animals is all controlled by a ‘Studbook Keeper’ who decides where every individual can be moved to ensure that their needs are best met and that they can continue to be part of a breeding population.
We hope our Gentoo penguins will like their new home and have the same success they have experienced at Edinburgh!
A group of young Gentoo Penguins prepare for their big move
All of our animals require a high level of care and attention from our keepers to ensure they are healthy and happy. Inevitably though, this sometimes means facing a visit from the vet! Here at Edinburgh Zoo we have a dedicated veterinary team that work closely with our zoo keepers to ensure that all of our animals are receiving the best possible care.
Thursday 5th February is your chance to hear all about the Zoo vets involvement with the animals in 2008 at the annual ‘Vet Talk’. This will take place in the Education Centre between 7.30 – 9.00pm, and is suitable for over 14’s only.
Cost: £4.50, Members £4.00
Advance Booking essential on 01313140350 or visit www.rzss.org.uk