Chief Executive’s Blog

October 11, 2013 § Leave a comment



Lynx kitten by Alex Riddell

With the sudden crisp bite in the air, I think it is safe to say autumn has well and truly arrived! Keepers at the Highland Wildlife Park have even reported seeing snow on the Cairngorms this week. This is a wonderful time of year to visit the Park, to see the change of scenery and the different behaviours of the animals. The stags have all started rutting and the lynx kittens can often be spotted playing. Kush, our elusive red panda cub, has also started spending more time outside of his nest box and can be seen cautiously exploring the nearby platforms.

In news around the Zoo, Simon Jones, Curator of Plants and Head of Sustainability is teaching turf theory this coming Saturday as part of the Master Gardener Programme, which is a partnership between The Royal Caledonian horticultural Society (Lead), RZSS, RBGE and Binny Plants. Our onsite Adult Education classes are also proving to be very popular. This week Douglas Richardson, Head of Living Collections at Highland Wildlife Park came to speak to the group about some of the challenges of dealing with welfare and animal behaviour in zoos.


Doug Allan

Still at the Zoo, last night’s centenary lecture, hosted by wildlife cameraman Doug Allan, was a great success. There were 170 people in attendance – a full house – as Doug discussed his work in the field. Specialising in the polar regions, Doug’s BAFTA award-winning work includes Operation Iceberg, Blue Planet, Planet Earth, Life, Human Planet, Ocean Giants, Frozen Planet and Secrets of our Living Planet. No other cameraman is as experienced when it comes to filming in the Arctic and Antarctic.

This draws to a close our special guest lectures for the year, which have covered a very wide range of topics. Guests have included Lee Durrell, Iain Stewart, Aubrey Manning and Andrew Balmford. We do, however, still have two upcoming RZSS talks:

On Thursday 24th October at 7:30pm Simon Jones, Curator of Plants and Head of Sustainability will be talking about the wide range of work undertaken by our dedicated gardens team. Zoo horticulture plays a significant role in the Zoo, from maximising the best visitor experience to ensuring the right plants are used in every animal enclosure. Simon will also talk about the Zoo’s on-site bamboo nursery and tell some remarkable stories about many of the beautiful flowers that can be found around the site.


Photo by Mike Gilburt

And then on Thursday 28th November at 7:30pm our carnivore keepers will be presenting a Giant Panda and Carnivore talk. During the evening, they will provide insight into the wide range of animals they care for at Edinburgh Zoo including Asiatic lions, otters, meerkats, giant anteaters and painted hunting dogs. They will also talk about their work with Tian Tian and Yang Guang, and how caring for these two bears is different from the rest of the section.  

Booking is recommended for both events; tickets are £5 for members and £7 for general admission. For more information or to book visit our what’s on page

Finally, in panda news, Tian Tian, our female giant panda, is still continuing to show signs of being in the late term of pregnancy and so we will continue to treat her in that way, which means she remains off show while keepers monitor her around the clock.

“A true conservationist is a man who knows that the world is not given by his fathers but borrowed from his children.”
– John James Audubon


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