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Last week we told you all about our adorable new Zebra foal. This week we are happy to report that we have more new arrivals that are also stripey! Over the last few weeks three gorgeous little calves have been born, one brown and two black, each with a bright white stripe. These stripey cows have unusual markings with a big wide white band around their bellies. They are commonly known in Cumbria and the Galloway region of Scotland as Belted Galloways or Belties! They also have other names including the Panda Cow and the Oreo Cow due to their distinctive black and white markings.
The Belted Galloways are doing a very special job at the Lake District Wildlife Park as they are helping to manage the land. Did you know that the Park is part of the Armathwaite Hall Estate which comprises acres of woodland, grassland and upland hay meadow? And did you know that this land is rich in wildflowers, orchids, butterflies, moths and beetles? These plants and animals form the bottom of the food chain and provide food for birds and mammals. The Belted Galloways are doing their bit by promoting fresh growth through selective grazing. And whilst they are grazing, they are also doing a bit of fertilization along the way!
Our three “Beltie” calves can currently been seen in the field adjacent to the car park as you arrive at the Park. When Keepers were doing their regular checks of the cows and calves, they also noticed another tiny miracle…oak tree saplings. Dotted around the field the tiny trees have grown from acorns that have most likely been distributed by Jays. There is a quote by Henry David Thoreau which says, “Every oak tree started out as a couple of nuts who stood their ground”. As our herd of “Belties” is only very small in a very large field, it means that the saplings have a good chance of growing strong into large mature oaks to join the many mature trees on the Estate.
It is these ancient trees and younger trees that form some of our woodland areas. In amongst the trees on the “woodland walk” on the Park, we have all kinds of birds and bats. Earlier this year we gave them a helping hand by putting up some next boxes. We are happy to report that some of them are being used by Great Tits and Pied Flycatchers, who we have seen feeding young.
So, if you want to see some cute young stripey cows, tiny little trees or birds flitting about with food for their young, do pop down and see us. And remember always keep your eyes peeled for other little miracles that are happening all the time in nature!