Chief Executive’s blog

October 31, 2011 § Leave a comment

Last week we received the final visit from the China Wildlife Conservation Association (CWCA), which was all positive.  It’s very much full steam ahead for us and we hope to have further panda news for you shortly.

Our main panda keeper, Alison Mclean, is currently out in China getting to know our pandas like the back of her hand.  It’s important she gains their trust and learns everything there is to know about these rare creatures.  For regular updates from Alison during her visit, follow this link to join our Facebook page.

This week the bird keepers at Edinburgh Zoo treated the gentoo penguins to bubble enrichment with a bubble machine.  Whilst great fun for visitors to watch, it also helps stimulate the penguins and gives them great entertainment.  The penguins chase the bubbles in exactly the same way they would chase snowflakes in the wild.  As expected, although the gentoos joined in enthusiastically rather like excited toddlers, the aptly named kings stood proud at the edge of the outdoor penguin pool! Click on the video below to watch them enjoying the bubble shower.

The annual stag rut at the Highland Wildlife Park reached its climax this week too, with one stag coming out in pole position.  As soon as temperatures dropped, top stags Thor and Snap started vying for dominance, with visitors treated to deep bellowing from the two stags for the last few weeks.  It looks like Snap has won the crusade to be top boy now, well at least for the next 12 months, and he was photographed protecting his territory and harem earlier this week. 

Our stag rut heats up

Back over to Edinburgh Zoo, our two sun bear brothers are being treated to Halloween themed enrichment today, kindly donated by our local Sainsbury’s at Murrayfield.  The outside area of their enclosure has been decorated with carved pumpkins filled with honey and nuts and coconuts.  The bears love to smash the coconuts to get to the milk inside and pumpkins are one of their favourite snacks.  A great sight to see, I’m not too sure how long the display will stay intact with these two powerful and playful bears.

Happy halloween from our sunbears!

Happy halloween from our sun bears!

Finally, our head of animals celebrated working at Edinburgh Zoo for a quarter of a century this week.  Darren McGarry first came to Edinburgh Zoo as a young boy, and loved it so much he basically never left!  Darren worked his way up the ranks over the years and is now one of our most senior animal people and a key member of the senior management team.  I’m sure you’ll join me in sending our thanks to Darren for all his hard work over the years.


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