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Zoo Diary: Safari to Africa

on 1st February, 2021
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Are you ready for this week’s adventure? Pack your sunhat and binoculars as we head off on a safari to the great plains and grasslands of Africa. Imagine just for a moment that you are sitting on a jeep looking over a vast expanse of land that goes on for miles. The sky is bright blue, and the grass is dry and yellow. You can see Acacia trees and, on the horizon a few odd shaped Baobab trees stand proud. It is hot and quiet with a gentle breeze blowing. Just as you begin to think all the animals are hiding, some black and white stripes catch your eye and herd of Zebra come into view. You sit quietly for a while to watch this beautiful scene from nature before continuing your exploration…

At the Lake District Wildlife Park, it may not be as warm, but on a sunny day and with a bit of imagination you can easily take yourself off to Africa. Some of you may already be familiar with the Zebra jeep that sits at the top end of the Park. Both young and old seem to love this jeep and climb aboard to look out over the fields. The jeep provides a fantastic viewpoint from which you can sit and observe our Grant’s Zebra roaming around, nibbling on the lush grass. Daan is the stallion and he can be seen keeping a close eye on his herd. Every year Daan will mate with the females to produce young leggy foals. In 2020 two foals were born in May and June. They are a delight to watch as they gain more confidence and bound around the field learning how to use their long legs. Hopefully we will have some new arrivals in the next few months of 2021. We will keep you posted!

Just around the corner you will be met by resonating sound of Brian the Black Wildebeest. His booming snort can be heard from far away as he protects his herd from visitors. Black Wildebeest are also known as the White-Tailed Gnu and it is thought that their snorting noise is how the name Gnu originated. Brian is a favourite with many at the Park and he is fantastic to watch as he bounds around his enclosure. He is both agile and strong, with legs made for running and horns for defending! Together with his female Leyla he has produced many Wildebeest calves over the years. Like the Grant’s Zebra, young Wildebeest are wonderful to watch as they cleverly work out how to walk and then run within the space of a few hours. We will certainly let you know if we have another arrival this year.

After all the excitement and noise of these larger mammals, hiding in the bushes can be found two smaller and quieter animals. They are stealthy and they keep a low profile. However, look carefully and you will see two beautiful coats with spotted markings. Jabari and Zahara are the Park’s Servals. They are medium sized cats and in the wild they can be found stalking amongst the grasses of the African plains. You can’t help but notice their large ears which they use for detecting prey. It is with these ears they can hear birds and small rodents. If you are lucky enough to see Jabari or Zahara pounce you will realise that they are powerful predators that can move fast when they are hunting.

Jabari and Zahara are not a breeding pair so we will not be expecting young from these two. However, with spring on its way, do keep visiting our website and social media feeds and you will be the first to know if we have any new arrivals. Hopefully, once we are open again you will then be able come and see them!

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