By James Cretney, Marwell Wildlife Chief Executive
In our last newsletter, I tried to set the scene, post covid, that Marwell finds itself in. Having done this and explained some of the difficulties that zoos are facing regarding animal moves and funding, I want to set a more positive tone regarding some of the things you can look forward to when visiting us.
Firstly, a reminder that in the last 12 months we have welcomed many new additions such as: clouded leopards, red-bellied lemurs, Goeldi’s monkeys – now co-habiting happily with other small monkey species; beisa oryx – an endangered species as part of the European Ex-situ Programme; some beautiful birds such as white-spotted laughing thrush and silver-eared mesia; Phillipine tree and prehensile-tailed skinks – as part of ongoing developments in Cold-blooded Corner, vampire crabs and over 8,000 red-legged millipedes in the tropical house, to help break down the leaf litter on the forest floor and assist with nutrient recycling. So keep an eye out for these large red-legged millipedes as you walk through the tropical house.
We are looking forward to having our movement restrictions, post bird flu, removed by DEFRA, hopefully in early April. Thereafter, we will be welcoming bush dogs and caracara, an American bird of prey, to the zoo. Requests have been submitted to zoo colleagues for red panda and we expect our first to arrive early summer, along with the opening of the old tropical house, now being refurbished into an exciting new exhibit – Thriving Through Nature.
While this is going on, plans are being developed to extend our current snow leopard exhibit and I hope, funding permitting, that work will start this year. With a larger enclosure, we will then be able to bring more snow leopards into the zoo, with a view to breeding when we are authorised to, in line with European breeding recommendations. This is part of a wider project to refresh our carnivore facilities – more details to follow over the next few months, but I promise you it will be exciting!
Wishing you all a happy and relaxing Easter, from all of us here at Marwell.