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Zoo Diary: Across the Indian Ocean to the continent of Asia

on 15th February, 2021
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Last week we hope you enjoyed visiting Madagascar with us. This week we are off again across the Indian Ocean to the diverse continent of Asia. Join us on a journey across grasslands, through tropical rainforests and up into the temperate forests before finally reaching the foothills of the Himalayas. At the Lake District Wildlife Park, we have a vast expanse of green fields, temperate woodlands and we are surrounded by mountains, so it is easy to imagine being in the rich habitats of Asia. Read on to learn about the variety of Asian species that we house at the Park…

A favourite with so many of our visitors is Nobby the Lar Gibbon. On a crisp and clear morning his singing echoes around the surrounding mountains and valleys for miles. He is an acrobat and can be seen swinging from branch to branch and across the ropes and poles of his climbing frame. It is second nature to him and an example of how Gibbons live in the rainforests of Asia. This athletic movement is known as brachiating and their long limbs allow Gibbons to move swiftly. Nobby is the son of Brian and Sooty and together with his sister Sally make up a family group. Brian now well over 50 is thought to be the oldest Lar Gibbon in Europe and another real favourite, even if he is a little less agile than his son!

Further down the Park, where the river runs through the oak trees is where you will hear the squeaks and calls of Amber and Koji the Asian Short Clawed Otters. In the wild they would typically live on the coast and in the rivers and streams of southern and eastern Asia. They are sociable animals and are impossible to miss as they bound around their grassed enclosure. Otters are swift swimmers and good at catching a variety of prey including crustaceans and fish. When eating crabs, they use their strong little paws to crack open the shells.

Next to the Otters and high up in the fallen oak tree is where you will find Charu and Mei Li the Red Pandas. Their thick red fur allows them to withstand the cold. In Asia they live at high altitudes in the cool foothills of the Himalayas. They are very charismatic and have adorable faces, however they have very sharp claws which are partially retractable. They have a thumb like appendage on their paws, which enables Red Pandas to climb. We often see Charu and Mei Li up in their tree, where they spend a lot of time sleeping. They also eat a lot of bamboo, and a variety of fruit. During our daily keeper talks Charu will come down to investigate what food is on offer, whereas Mei Li is happy to continue sleeping!

Also originating from Asia are two of the Park’s largest animals. Our big hairy gentle giant, the Yak and Urma the Burmese Python, our biggest snake at nearly 4 metres long. And very soon we will be welcoming a new pair of Asian animals. Watch this space and we will let you know then hopefully you can come and see them soon!

Lar Gibbons and Red Pandas are classed as “Endangered” in the wild and we continue to raise awareness about the conservation of all animals in the wild. We support the Red Panda network, who employ Forest Guardians to help protect Red Pandas from the pet trade and illegal hunting.

If you have not yet heard, we are currently crowdfunding to help with the ongoing costs of looking after our animals at the Park. If you are interested in supporting us, please have a look at our crowdfunding page:

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