Chief Executive’s Blog

February 8, 2013 § Leave a comment

The latest addition to Edinburgh Zoo’s exotic Victoria crowned pigeon family has recently flown the nest. The young fledgling, who hatched late last year, has been exploring the enclosure with a protective mum and dad. Natives to Papua New Guinea and the surrounding isles, these impressive VictoriaCrownedPigeonChick_4_Jan2013feathered animals are around the same size as a turkey when fully mature. As a juvenile, this chick still has a lot more growing to do and keepers won’t be able to identify the sex for a while longer. These species are known for their flamboyant appearance – with bright orange eyes, navy plumage and an intricate, fan-like crest of feathers on their heads – which gives them their name.

Edinburgh Zoo has had great breeding success with these captivating birds in the past, who find themselves under threat in the wild due to habitat loss and poaching. Any offspring have gone on to play an important part in the conservation breeding programme, helping to secure the future population.

Meanwhile, the animals at the Highland Wildlife Park have again been making the most of the recent covering of snow. A welcome weather spell as the Park specialises in cold weather adapted animals from around the world, keepers spotted many of the animals playing in the snow. Even when the Park was briefly closed due to the weather conditions, visitors were able to keep up-to-date with the antics of the Japanese Macaque (snow monkey) troop via our live web cam. The more adventurous monkeys are often known to venture out and play on the frozen lake. To view the cam, simply follow this link:


Photo by Claudia Kuster

Edinburgh Zoo is also preparing for an exciting new arrival – a female koala, called Alinga. A whole new first for the Zoo. The one year old female will be travelling from Duisburg Zoo in Germany to her new home at Edinburgh Zoo, the only place to see koalas in the UK, just in time for Valentine’s Day. Alinga will have time to settle in to her new home before being introduced to resident males Goonaroo and Yabbra. The young female will be collected by Darren McGarry, Head of Living Collections and Lorna Hughes, Team Leader of Primates and Koalas. Alinga, who will be travelling with them and the other passengers in the airplane cabin, will touch down in Edinburgh on 14th February, and I’m sure she’ll quickly become a firm favourite with visitors.

Next week Edinburgh Zoo will go even greener, with Eco Week taking place in the Budongo Trail from 11am – 3.30pm on Saturday 9th to Sunday 17th February. Visitors can follow a specially designed eco trail to find helpful green tips from some of the Zoo’s animal residents. As well as learning all about the Zoo’s green thinking initiatives, visitors can take away information on how everyone can do their part to be greener.

Royal_python_4Finally, on Sunday 10th February Edinburgh Zoo will celebrate the Chinese New Year with themed arts and crafts from the Confucius Institute for Scotland. 2013 is the year of the snake and the Zoo’s presentations section will also be on hand to allow visitors to get a little closer to a few different snake species. For more information on these or any other events please visit:

Best wishes,



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