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Critically Endangered Monkey Born at Drusillas Park

7 Nov

The baby boom continues as a critically endangered monkey is  born at Drusillas as part of the European breeding programme. The Sulawesi black crested macaque was delivered on Tuesday 25th October and staff are delighted with the new arrival.

Black crested macaques are native to the Indonesian island of Sulawesi where they are now regarded as critically endangered by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature). In the last 40 years it is estimated that the population has been reduced by more than 80% due to habitat loss and hunting pressure and they now face the very real threat of extinction in the wild.

These large impressive monkeys have just one baby at a time, born with a pink face which darkens with age. So far the baby bundle, thought to be male, is thriving alongside parents Kendari and Moteck. He will remain very dependent for the next four to five months, clinging to his mother who will nurse him for at least a year.

Kendari and Moteck were introduced at Drusillas in 2010, after being re-homed respectively from Chester Zoo and Monkey Park in Israel. The new arrival is the couple’s first baby together and hopefully will be one of many more to come.

Breeding programmes such as the one at Drusillas Park operate throughout the zoo community, in conjunction with the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria. By cooperating in this way, animal collections hope to safeguard the existence of many animal species in order to secure their future survival.

Zoo Manager, Sue Woodgate commented: “It is wonderful to see the new addition to our macaque family. He is showing a lot of interest in his surroundings and being doted on by his cousin Kamala who was born at Drusillas in 2010. We are expecting a lot of monkeying around from these two over the coming months.”

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Baby Monkey Boom at Drusillas Park

1 Nov

Drusillas is currently in the midst of a baby boom with a multitude of mini monkeys popping up around the Park. Amongst the latest arrivals are two emperor tamarins, two cotton-topped tamarins, three red-handed tamarins and two silvery marmosets.

The monkey madness started when Emperor tamarin, Lucy gave birth to twins.  This species takes its name from the 19th Century Emperor, Wilhelm II of Germany, who they are said to resemble on account of their distinctive moustaches. The fan-tash-stic pair are becoming more independent everyday and can now be seen playing with their older siblings.

Two silvery marmosets were next to make an appearance. The pearl coloured pair were born on 28th August and are thriving under the watchful guidance of proud parents Captain Jack and Hester. Silvery marmosets are native to the forests of Central andSouth Americaand usually give birth to twins every five to six months.

Then it was the turn of the red-handed tamarins, who delivered triplets.Keepers made the happy discovery on 28th September and all the babies are doing well and prospering. This species usually have two babies at a time which are generally carried around by the father; to have three is rare.

Finally two critically endangered cotton-topped tamarins arrived. The tiny bundles were born on 14th October and are doing well with the help of Dad, John and Mum, Georgie. Cotton topped tamarins are native to the humid tropical forests of Columbia, where there has been a severe reduction in the population mainly due to the destruction of their habitat. Like many of the animals at Drusillas, the group is part of a European breeding programme.

Zoo Manager, Sue Woodgate commented: “We are always excited by new arrivals. It is brilliant to have so many babies born within our breeding programmes and they are proving very popular with the public too. Fingers crossed, we are hoping for a few more happy events in the near future.

Spider Populations Soar

4 Oct

Drusillas Park’s spider expert, Angela Hale has been extremely busy over the last few weeks dealing with enquiries from the public as a result of the increased spider populations this year. It would appear that a warm spring has resulted in an abundance of these eight-legged invaders, leaving little to put the achnophobics mind at rest.

Angela commented: “People are likely to notice more spiders this year as a result of the warmer springtime. This coincided with the hatching of spiderlings leading to a higher survival rate. Similarly these temperate conditions have also meant that there are more insects around, which in turn has provided a wealth of food for spiders.”

Known as ‘Tarangela’ at the zoo, Angela knows almost all there is to know about these curious creatures and keeps a collection of over 150 different arachnids at home in her spare bedroom. She is also the secretary of the British Tarantula Society.

Many of the enquiries Angela has received have been from concerned members of the public who have discovered a larger than normal arachnid at home or in their garden, which they believe to be a foreign species. However, Angela claims these are much more likely to be the fertile females:

“At this time of year many female spiders are pregnant. Their bodies are swollen with eggs making them larger and a little more clumsy than usual. They are not bigger this year, nor are they an exotic breed; they are simply more visible to us at the present time.”

“Our native spiders pose no threat to us. Although most spiders are venomous they will generally only use this to catch their prey. They are unlikely to bite a human, except as a last resort and even then they would have difficulty breaking through our skin.”

“Spiders are essential to our ecosystem; without them we would be inundated with insects. Other species, such as the wren, also rely on them for food. They are our friends, not our enemies.

New Zoo Babies!

20 Sep

Two capybara babies have been born at Drusillas Park. This is the first time the species has been bred at the zoo and staff are delighted with the new arrivals.

Capybara are the largest rodents in the world. In the wild they are only found in South America, where they live in groups near water.

Drusillas Park holds the UK Register for capybara. This means that Zoo Manager, Sue Woodgate assists with co-ordinating the movement of the species for the purpose of breeding. She also offers advice to other zoos on how these animals should be kept.

The latest arrivals were born at Drusillas on Tuesday 23rd August and are thriving under the guidance of proud parents, Hector and Tullula.

The cappy-couple were introduced at Drusillas in 2010 as part of the breeding programme; Tullula came from Marwell Wildlife in November 2005 followed by Hector from Reaseheath College last October.

Capybara live in pairs, family groups or in larger mixed herds.  They can have up to eight young at a time.

The delightful new duo have been exploring their environment and are already eating vegetables and browse, although they are still being nursed by their mother. The babies were born covered in fur and could run, swim and dive within hours of birth however, this is not without its dangers!

Zoo Manager, Sue Woodgate commented: “I was passing the capybara enclosure recently when I noticed that one of the babies was trapped in the pond and unable to get out. However, Hector quickly came to the rescue, swimming over to the edge of the water and bridging the gap so the baby could climb up him onto land – it was very sweet to watch.”

Get Ready for Creepy Crawlies Day

9 Sep

Venture down to Drusillas Park on Sunday 25th September for Creepy Crawlies Day and meet some very unusual mini monsters. The Discovery Centre will be open between 11am and 4pm, swarming with weird insects, slimy molluscs and scary spiders.

Amongst the creatures will be scorpions with their powerful pincers, hissing cockroaches that make a terrifying hissing noise to scare off predators, giant millipedes and large fanged tarantulas.

Experts from the British Tarantula Society will be available to answer questions throughout the day, including Drusillas Park’s very own spider woman, Angela Hale. Known as Tarangela at the zoo, Angela knows all there is to know about these eight-legged creatures and will be on hand to help visitors understand them too.

Drusillas Park’s Managing Director, Laurence Smith commented: “Spiders are one of the most misunderstood creatures on the planet and this is a great chance for the public to come along and meet them face to face – who knows we may even cure a phobia!  We find that most children love creepy crawlies but it is often their parents we have to convince.”

Bank Holiday Fun for Lemurs

25 Aug

The lemurs at Drusillas Park in will enjoy a bumper bank holiday this weekend when zoo keepers throw them their very own tea party. The tea-potty troop, who go wild for a brew, will be served green tea in traditional cups and saucers.

Green tea is a rich source of the plant compound, tannin which wild lemurs receive in high levels. In order to supplement their diet, the zoo’s group is given cold green tea on a daily basis in addition to a nutritious balance of fruit and vegetables. The tea is brewed by the zoo keepers overnight and given to the lemurs with their breakfast.

This weekend’s tea party will be hosted courtesy of Clipper, the Organic and Fairtrade hot beverage specialist, who donated the decaffeinated green tea after discovering the primates go bananas for a brew.

Zoo Manager, Sue Woodgate commented: “We are extremely grateful to Clipper for their generous donation. The lemurs enjoy their morning cuppa and consume approximately four tea bags a day on average. It certainly seems to leave them perked up with bags of energy – we just need to ensure the kettle’s not furred up!”

Family Fun before the Kids Go Back to School

23 Aug

No summer is complete without a visit to Drusillas Park; the South East’s Visitor Attraction of the Year. With plenty still to see and do during the holidays, it’s well worth a visit before the kids go back to school.

Join in the excitement and snorts of laughter tomorrow 24th August as Peppa Pig makes her last appearance with her brother George. The Fat Controller himself will also be causing a locomotion when he alights at the Park on 25th August.

Plus there’s all the usual animal magic on offer. Drusillas offers an opportunity to get nose to nose with nature with hundreds of exotic animals from monkeys and crocodiles to penguins and meerkats. Get up close and personal to the lemurs in Lemurland or feed nectar to a friendly flock of rainbow lorikeets in the new parrot aviary, Lory Landing. 

However, animals are only half the fun. The state-of-the-art attraction, Go Wild! combines a multi-levelled labyrinth of adventure play and the interactive maze,Eden’s Eye, takes visitors on an adventure style quest. Indoors there is Amazon Adventure, a state-of-the-art soft play complex and the Thomas & Friends™ train offers unlimited rides all year round.