Chief Executive’s Blog

October 26, 2012 § Leave a comment

The weather continues to be interesting with a bit too much rain during the school holidays and a seasonal autumnal leaf drop accompanied by the sounds of leaf blowers!

Some of Edinburgh Zoo’s most recent new-borns have been spotted peeking out of their mother’s pouches. Swamp wallabies, Darri, Allora and Arinya welcomed their babies in July this year. Joeys have an incredible short gestation period of just 33-38 days in the case of these wallabies. After this time females give birth to a tiny pink hairless baby and, like all marsupials, the joey then moves to the pouch where it will continue to grow and develop for around eight to nine months. Natives to Eastern Australia, swamp wallabies are slightly smaller than their relatives the kangaroos; they share the same characteristic long tail which is a similar length to their body and also have large feet and strong hind legs that enable them to hop distances of up to ten feet. On your next trip to Edinburgh Zoo be sure to stop by Whitson woods, home to these fascinating animals, and keep an eye out for any heads or feet popping out of pouches, as it will still be a while before these joeys emerge fully.

Dr Rob Ogden from the Edinburgh Zoo based lab, WildGenes was invited to give a talk at the biannual Wild Screen Festival, a well-known wildlife and environmental film festival in Bristol. Rob was giving talks on the use of genomic technologies and the important role they play in conservation work both in the UK and further afield.

Photo by Alex Riddell

Halloween came early for the Highland Wildlife Park’s tiger twosome this week. Three year old Amur tiger duo, Marty and Dominica were ‘pouncing for pumpkins’. Their enclosure was transformed in the lead up to this spooky time of year with some especially themed enrichment, the hand carved pumpkins which had a few tasty treats inside were strung at different heights for the tigers to investigate. Male big cat, Marty was quick off the mark and wasted no time in tackling these Halloween favourites, stretching right up to grab hold of them and then shredded them to bits. These striking animals are incredibly strong and agile, so by adding enrichment like this to their enclosure they have to problem-solve and work in order to get their food – which sees them exhibiting natural behaviours in order to do so, which is wonderful to see.

Continuing with all things Halloween, the Highland Wildlife Park has more eerie activities going on. On Halloween, Wednesday 31st October, the Park will be running a spook-tacular ( I get given some of these words to use!) event from 5.30pm-7.30pm. Take part in a moon lit walk and ghost stories from the Park’s very own coven of witches and other creepy characters. For more information on this event and others please visit the ‘what’s on’ section at

Lastly, a few weeks ago I mentioned Edinburgh Zoo’s Creepy Crawly event in my blog, well there are now only a few days left to head along to this great event as it ends on 28th October. So far this much-loved event has been a huge success with a great number of visitors heading along to find out more about all the different insects on show, and even handling a few. So if you haven’t been along yet, please do stop by and learn a little more about these interesting invertebrates.

Until next week,

Best, Chris


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