Chief Executive’s Blog

January 17, 2013 § Leave a comment

With many parts of the country covered in snow and more forecast over the coming days, the animals at the Highland Wildlife Park have been making the most of it; especially the Park’s resident Amur tiger duo, Dominika and Marty.


By Alex Riddell

With as few as 400 to 450 thought to be left in the wild, these incredibly rare and endangered big cats are no strangers to extremely cold temperatures and often deep snow fall in their native Amur region of the Russian Far East. I’m told this tiger pair tend to be a little more playful when snow is lying on the ground and can often be spotted rolling around in it. Perfectly adapted to conquer the cold as the largest subspecies of tiger – with males weighing around 200kg – their sheer body size means they retain heat and their flanks and stomachs have a thick layer of fat to help insulate them from the cold. Their coats are also incredibly thick and grow longer during the winter months.

PygmyMarmosetRecently Edinburgh Zoo’s family of pygmy marmosets grew, as male Terminator and female She-ra welcomed new twin arrivals on New Year’s Day. Natives to the Amazon rainforest basin, these tiny monkeys are usually only around five inches in length and weigh six ounces when fully grown, making them the smallest of all true monkeys and one of the smallest primates in the world. It will be a while yet before keepers will be able to sex the newest additions that currently weigh only around half an ounce (15g). It’s also actually dad Terminator and big brother Houdini who will tend to carry the twins on their backs until they can explore their enclosure on their own. Visitors can see the new arrivals in Edinburgh Zoo’s Magic Forest.

As a conservation charity RZSS is involved in many conservation and research projects both here and abroad, and in particular at Edinburgh Zoo we have two research focused facilities on site – Living Links and the Budongo Trail. Both of these facilities regularly play host to a variety of projects with members of the Scottish Primate Research Group (SPRG). We are proud that recently a study into our chimpanzees’ social networks has been published in the American Journal of Primatology, with the paper focusing on the successful integration of our original group of chimpanzees with another group that arrived in 2010 from the Netherlands.

Arktos Birthday14Finally back to the Highlands, the Highland Wildlife Park has released a new date for their ever popular photography tours. The first in 2013 takes place on Saturday 26th January from 8.30pm to 4.00pm. Including a tour around the vast Park situated in truly stunning scenery, there will also be special behind the scenes photographic opportunities. Amateur photographers will even have the opportunity to see our two polar bear males – Walker and Arktos – be given their morning feed. Numbers are limited, but for more information please visit the ‘What’s On’ page at or call 01540 651 976.

Best wishes,



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