Bye Bye Mercedes!

October 14, 2009 § Leave a comment


It seems like only yesterday that we announced our intentions to move Mercedes, the polar bear, to the Highland Wildlife Park at Kingussie. Over the last 6 months, funds have been raised, an enclosure has been constructed, polar bear training has taken place and plans have been put in to place. But at last, the time is nigh, and this is Mercedes last week on show at Edinburgh Zoo. After this time, Mercedes will be off show as final preparations are made for her big move up to her new home. Once she has arrived at Highland Wildlife Park she will be given time, away from the public eye, to settle herself in.

We would like to say a big THANK YOU to everybody who made a donation to the Mercedes appeal. We have now raised £75,000 through over 800 public donations. These donations have made it possible for us to provide Mercedes with a fantastic new ‘retirement home’, in which she can enjoy the rest of her years. She will enjoy a four acre enclosure with a natural pool, and of course, a more tundra-like climate, which should suit her down to a tee!

A plan for the new polar bear enclosure, situated where the old wolf enclosure once was 

A plan for the new polar bear enclosure, situated where the old wolf enclosure once was

David Windmill, Chief Executive for RZSS, said:  

“Mercedes has been at Edinburgh Zoo for 25 years and has been a favourite with both visitors and staff and I know her keepers will be sad to see her go. However she’s still in the RZSS animal collection and the Highland Wildlife Park is a much more suitable environment for a polar bear.  

“On the day of the move Mercedes will walk into her transport crate, as she has been trained to do by the keepers. She will then travel by road to the Highland Wildlife Park. It is difficult to say when the public will be able to see her as we’re going to give her as much time as she needs to settle in. However, we hope that people will be able to see her by the end of October.

“We realise that the departure of Mercedes will leave a void at Edinburgh Zoo and the wheels are in motion to introduce new and exciting species in the coming months. We will unveil these plans as soon as the details have been confirmed.”

The 18th October is your final chance to see Mercedes at Edinburgh, but we will keep you updated with her move and her reaction to her new home, right here.

 Farewell Mercedes!

Farewell Mercedes!

We are pleased to announce that a Goeldi’s monkey was born on the 6th August. ‘Orinocho’, as the baby has been named, is the second to be born to our adult pair of Goeldi’s monkeys within the year! They also gave birth to a young male, back in February. This is a fantastic success for the pair, who were only mixed together late last year.

Goeldi’s monkeys typically live in large family groups, consisting of a dominant pair and their offspring. Offspring will often stay with their family, even after they have matured, in order to help raise younger siblings. These offspring benefit from the security of belonging to a territory, and can gain valuable breeding experience, whilst they wait for a territory to become available.

At 2 months old, Orinocho will now be weaning off Mum’s milk, and beginning to eat solid foods. However, the youngster can still be seen hitching a ride on the back of its parents, and learning important lessons in Goeldi monkey behaviour! Why not see if you can spot it on your next trip to the Magic Forest?

The tiny adult Goeldi’s monkey 

The tiny adult Goeldi’s monkey

And we can also announce that yet another nyala has been born of late! On the 8thSeptember a female named ‘Amira’, meaning ‘princess’, was born to this ever expanding herd on the African Plains. This is the fifth youngster to be born, within the last year. However, it is, importantly, only the second female to be born. Her arrival is therefore very welcome, in order to even up the male: female ratio for future breeding populations.

Nyala mature between one and two years of age. They live in small groups of up to around 10 individuals, and show no evidence of territoriality. It is likely that each one of our four adult females (all aged just 3 years) has now successfully given birth to an offspring, which is a sign of good health and welfare amongst the herd. We hope to welcome more youngsters into the herd in the future.

 Another young nyala!

Another young nyala!



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