Chief Executive’s Blog

November 9, 2012 § Leave a comment

I think it’s safe to say winter is upon us, with the days growing colder the Highland Wildlife Park experienced the first few flurries of snow. We may find the winter weather chilling, however it’s perfect for the wonderful variety of cold weather adapted animals that can be found at the Park. Particularly popular with visitors, even more so when it snows, are the lively group of Japanese Macaques, also known as snow monkeys. They take their name from their snowy coloured fluffy hair and are also well known for their unusual bright red facial colouring. With temperatures in their native Japan plummeting to -15°C they manage to stay warm thanks to their thick insulating coat, perfect for the Scottish Highlands winter weather as well.

The troop at the Park is made is made up of 21 sociable, intelligent and at times mischievous monkeys; so be sure to stop by their enclosure on your next visit and if you still haven’t got your fix, you can watch their antics on snow monkey cam by visiting


Staying with the Highlands, the Park is also running their second last photography tour of the year on 24th November. The day long tour sees budding photographers and animal lovers explore that Park and even catching an exclusive behind the scenes snap or two at feeding time for a few of the animals, including Marty and Dominca the resident Amur tiger couple. Set in some truly stunning surroundings and scenery as well as the animals, making for some great photos. So for more information please visit the ‘what’s on’ section of the Park’s website


This week sees the annual autumn meeting of the British Veterinary Zoological Society (BVZS) take place at Edinburgh Zoo. A really fantastic honour for RZSS, it will also be a great opportunity to hear from our colleagues and discuss the latest news and advances in the field. We have a superb veterinary team at RZSS and I’m particularly delighted to say that they will be giving scientific presentations at the conference on a whole host of different topics throughout the event.


The cold weather has also been felt at Edinburgh Zoo, where a few of the animal residents are enjoying it too not least of all, giant pandas, Tian Tian and Yang Guang. In their native China temperature in the winter time can drop well below 0°C, and in fact pandas prefer colder weather and are often more active when the temperatures begin to drop.


At Edinburgh Zoo two new faces have been out and about exploring their new enclosure. Two year old male, Bonaire and 12 year old female, Kala – both red-bellied lemurs – arrived at the Zoo towards the end of September, and so far keepers are happy that they have taken to each other as well as they have. Any animal introduction can often be a little difficult, but these two seem to have hit it off quickly, with bonding behaviour, such as grooming and vocalisations being demonstrated not long after they were introduced. From what I’m told, it’s definitely the slightly older feisty female who is the boss in this primate pair.


Amazingly the only place to spot these incredibly endangered primates, as with all species of lemur, is on the gigantic African island of Madagascar. Due to extreme deforestation and hunting in some parts of the island, these animals are finding themselves under threat, with as many as 15 species of lemur already thought to have been driven into extinction. So it’s fantastic news that Edinburgh Zoo has another pair of lemurs that will hopefully breed in the near future. Any offspring that Bonaire and Kala have would play a vital role in the future conservation and breeding programmes for these animals. You can find this duo, as well as our other species of lemur, at the Zoo at the mixed lemur enclosure.


Until next week,


Best, Chris


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