Chief Executive’s Blog
May 17, 2013 § Leave a comment
Well we have exciting news from Penguins Rock, as the first gentoo penguins of 2013 have been born. We now have five chicks hatched in the enclosure. Particularly special, they are the first to be born in Edinburgh Zoo’s centenary year and also in the newly revamped enclosure. The first was born last Sunday and all chicks are doing well so far and we expect more to be born over the next few weeks.
At Edinburgh Zoo three nyala males from the camel house left last week and the young male Charlie was moved down from African Plains to join the remaining resident male Akram. This enclosure is used as a bachelor holding area when the young males reach the age when they need to leave the main herd. Also, now that the gentoo penguins that remained at Edinburgh Zoo during the redevelopment are all back in Penguins Rock, the rock hyraxes have reclaimed Barbary rock and three infants were born to Marguerite at the end of last week. Rock hyrax infants are born with their eyes open and are mobile straight away, so you can see them out and about on the rock and we expect more youngsters to be born soon. When fully grown rock hyraxes are about the same size as a domestic cat or large rabbit and are the closest living relative of the elephant.
As Wednesday 22nd is International Biodiversity Day, it seems appropriate to reference that RZSS is committed to an overall biodiversity plan. Edinburgh Zoo in particular is focused on increasing our already extensive horticultural native species collection and, beginning this year, started to conduct a stocktake of native plants within our grounds. Over the next few weeks we will take delivery of over 3,700 plants which will be used in various animal enclosures across the Zoo, including pandas, koalas and wildcats. In addition, Lothian Buses has donated 800 hazel saplings (Corlyus avellana). The native trees have been planted within the Zoo’s grounds and is another arm to us increasing our plant diversity; some will be allowed to mature into trees and the others will be used as coppicing material to be fed to our animal collection. The saplings used for fodder will be left to grow for between five to seven years, before being fed to our living animal collection including the Zoo’s rhinoceroses, banteng, goral and howler monkeys.
Onto events, there are only a few hundred tickets left for the first ever Zoo Nights on Friday 24th May, so I’d recommend moving quickly if you want to secure a ticket. The Zoo will be transformed for the night, with entertainment with a difference across the Park. The hub of the event is the Zoo’s lawn which will turn into an afterhours beer garden, with street food and a bar; then there’s Jungle Café that will house a silent disco; the Mansion House will boast a Pimms bar; the Budongo Trail – home to our chimpanzees – will become a vintage cocktail tea party; the Big Griller and Sky Trail area will be home to street performers and artists – including comedians, acrobats and jugglers; and finally, the penguin decking area will become a champagne sushi bar. There will also be animal handling and animal talks during the evening.