Chief Executive’s Blog

December 14, 2012 § Leave a comment

Just today our team at the Highland Wildlife Park reported that it’s now so cold up there that the polar bear pool has frozen solid and the ice is thick enough to withstand the weight of two polar bears bouncing on it. That’s pretty thick ice considering Walker and Arktos have a combined weight of nearly one tonne!

Arktos Birthday14It also just goes to show that there is so much to see at a zoo or wildlife park over the winter months – where else in the UK could you see two polar bears playing on ice? It’s really worth remembering that you’ll see different animals active during the colder season, as not all animals care about being warm inside like us humans – although obviously we give them the choice. A prime example is our giant pandas at Edinburgh Zoo, they love chillier weather and are much more active during these times – they’re also particularly fond of snow.

Also at the Highlands, new work has begun on the vicuna hold area which will make aspects of their everyday care and management much simpler. The Park has a number of temporary new arrivals this week too, including three satyr tragopans and seven temminck’s tragopans, which we are holding in quarantine for the World Pheasant Association. Their final destination is Darjeeling. Finally, Hamish, one of our adult male wildcats, had a successful visit to the dentist yesterday where he had some rotten teeth removed.

GentoosatBelfastAt Edinburgh Zoo, the Penguins Rock Appeal has now reached the grand total of £148,916 and 61 penguin footprint bricks have been sold. Pretty unique, the bricks will have an imprint of a penguin footprint and space for a personal message and will line the daily penguin parade route over which the kings, rockhoppers and gentoos will walk every day.

Our keeping team also tell me a nyala calf was born yesterday at Edinburgh Zoo. The female is out and about, so you should be able to see our newest arrival if you come for a visit. Still at the Zoo, a new male crowned lemur joined our female in the monkey house and a new family of visayan warty pigs joined us from Rotterdam Zoo last Sunday. Later today, a female banteng will also join the Zoo from Munich Zoo to hopefully make a pair with our single male.

Finally, did you know that it was in the summer of 2013 that Edinburgh Zoo first opened its doors to the public? Next year is a very special year for the Zoo as it’s our Centenary and shortly we will be announcing our plans for across the year. In advance of this milestone, the Zoo launched a stamp design competition open to children all across Scotland to create their very own commemorative stamp. The project was supported by the Association stamp sheet highof Scottish Philatelic Societies (ASPS) and the Scottish Philatelic Trade Association (SPTA).

The competition has just drawn to a close and we received over 4,000 entries from children all over Scotland. The four stamp design winners were 15 year old Leah MacDonald from Motherwell with a giant panda stamp, seven year old Cameron Gow from Glasgow with a tiger terrific stamp, 13 year old Sarah Whitelaw from Strathaven with a colourful crowned crane and Lucy Barton from Orkney with a delightful lion stamp. All of these winning designs have been made into a miniature stamp label sheet that is now on sale at the Edinburgh Zoo gift shop for £1 – all profits will go towards RZSS’ on going conservation projects, in the UK and further afield.

I hope you enjoy your Christmas and New Year, and I’ll be back with my blog in 2013!

Festive wishes,



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