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.”


Black Day for Zoo Conservation

2 Sep

Drusillas are appealing for information after thieves broke into a locked conservation cabinet and stole a rare black rhino horn.

Drusillas Park had the artefact on display as part of a CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) education exhibit, secured within the confines of the inner zoo.

Forcing the lock on the unit, the thieves targeted the glass case during normal operating hours on Wednesday 31st August. By passing all other items, they escaped with the rhino horn sometime between 4.15  and 4.30pm.

Shortly after, staff saw two men running away from the scene and acting suspiciously. They were described as Caucasian and in their late teens to early twenties. One was wearing a baseball cap and sportswear, while the other had a horizontal blue and white striped top with jeans. They were last seen heading on foot in the direction of Alfriston village.

Zoo Manager, Sue Woodgate commented: “I am extremely upset that the rhino horn has been stolen. The horn itself is off-white and triangular shaped, measuring approximately 15cm in diameter.”

“Artefacts play an important role in education at Drusillas; they are used to explain to our visitors about the illegal trade in animal products and spread a vital conservation message. To have such a precious item stolen for personal gain beggars belief.”

The robbery is the latest in a chain of similar attacks on collections and museums throughout Europe. Sadly the demand for rhino horn on the black market is high, fuelling a value which is currently greater than gold. 

Zoo Director, Laurence Smith commented: “It can be no coincidence that during a global spate of attacks our own black rhino horn has also been targeted.”

“Police are investigating the crime and we are currently looking through our CCTV footage. However if anyone has any information in connection with the incident or saw anything suspicious, please contact us as soon as possible on 01323 874100 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”


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.

Zoo Keepers Saddle Up for Charity Bike Ride

18 Aug

Three zoo keepers from Drusillas Park have raised nearly £1000 after completing a sponsored bike ride for Chestnut Tree House and the EAZA Ape Campaign.

Jodie Dryden, Claudia Caballero-Pope and Helena Faunch completed the 50 mile route on Sunday 14th August, starting from Port Lympne Wild Animal Park in Kent before returning to the award-winning zoo in East Sussex.

All inexperienced riders, the energetic trio have trained hard over the past few months in order to rise to the challenge.  Wearing bespoke t-shirts they set off from Hythe at 9am, travelling west along the A259 through Rye, Hastings and Bexhill before meeting up with the A27 to Alfriston.

Claudia commented: “The journey started off really well with us getting lost on some country roads and having to ask a horse rider for directions within the first 10 miles!”

“There was lots of laughing and joking for 20 to 25 miles or so which soon died out as it got more challenging and we were getting tired. The wind was really strong along Rye and Hastings which also didn’t help. We ended on a high though with everyone from Drusillas waiting to wave us in as we arrived back 8 hours later.”

Jodie added: “The main thing that kept us going was knowing how much sponsorship money we had been pledged and how much the charities would benefit. We’d like to say thank you to everyone who sponsored us and made the day happen.”

The money will be split equally between the two chosen charities. Chestnut Tree House is Drusillas Park’s charity of the year and the only hospice for children in Sussex. Families are never charged for their care and the charity receives little government funding, so relies almost entirely on the help and support of the community.

The remaining half of the money will be donated to the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria to contribute to their Ape Campaign. This seeks to make a lasting difference to the survival of apes and their habitats in the wild. 

Janet Parsons, Head of Communications at Chestnut Tree House commented: “We are delighted to be Drusillas’ charity of the year.  We would like to say a huge thank you to the girls from everyone at Chestnut Tree House for supporting us in this way.”

Sydney & Sofia are Set for a Summer Romance

15 Aug

After months of searching, zoo keepers at Drusillas Park in East Sussex have finally found a mate for Linne’s two-toed sloth, Sofia. Sydney arrived from Paignton Zoo and has been settling in alongside his lady love ever since.

Sloths usually live on their own or in a small group. They have one baby at a time, which is delivered after a period of six months.

Sofia was born on 17th April 2009 at Amazon World Zoo Park on theIsle of  Wight.  She came to Drusillas in July 2010 with a view to starting her own family at the zoo. Cupid’s arrow finally landed this month when Sofia was introduced to eligible bachelor, Sydney. The pair have been getting on famously, hanging out with the Rodrigues fruit bats with whom they share an enclosure.  

Zoo Manager, Sue Woodgate commented: “We are really pleased with the new arrival. Sydney has had to make some big adjustments since arriving at Drusillas; he has met turacos and bats and he also has access to an outside area for the first time, which is rare in UK zoos with this species.”

In the wild Linne’s two-toed sloths are found in the tropical rainforests of northern South America, where they spend most of their time hanging upside down from trees by their four long limbs.

They are very slow moving creatures with a lower body temperature than other mammals, varying from 24 to 330C. They control this by moving in and out of the sun.

Hopefully Sofia and Sydney will continue to warm to each other too. So far the signs have been very encouraging and claws crossed, it will not be too long before there’s a tiny new addition to the sloth family at Drusillas Park.

Penguins Perfect Performance

10 Aug

The Eastbourne airshow ‘Airbourne’  isn’t the only place people can see a close formation team this weekend. The penguin squadron at Drusillas Park will also be putting on some impressive displays including wing-overs, barrel rolls and the rare 14 bird delta formation demonstrated in this photo!