Sometimes, when Mick works from home, he's able to take a bit of time off during the day if he starts early and finishes late. Wednesday was one such day. As it was a nice day we decided we'd head off to Lotherton for an hour around lunchtime. Archie's been suffering from a limp for the last few weeks so the vet advised short walks on a lead. He's much better now but we're still not allowing him to go galloping around just yet, so unfortunately, Archie was on enforced rest at home. It did give us the opportunity to visit Wildlife World though, something we don't get to do when we have Archie with us.
The first animals you encounter as you enter Wildlife World are the Visayan warty pigs. This animal is endemic to two of the Visayan Islands in the Phillippines and is a critically endangered species, threatened by habitat loss, food shortages and hunting. Little is known of their behaviors or characteristics outside captivity due to the small numbers of Visayan warty pigs left living in the wild.
I think a favourite of many visitors are the Humboldt penguins. Named after the explorer Alexander von Humboldt, their natural habitat is most of coastal Chile and Peru.
They're such cute little things, they actually come up to the viewing windows to look out at the visitors.
The penguins have been at Lotherton for about two years now and seem to have settled very well into their new home.
There's been a bird garden at Lotherton since 1980 when there was just a small collection of waterfowl, poulty and ducks. Today there are more than 130 different species. This is a Coscoroba swan, a species of waterfowl from southern South America. It is the smallest of the birds called swans, but still a large species of waterfowl. Coscoroba swans live to an age of approximately twenty years.
Work at Wildlife World is ongoing with new animals being introduced on a regular basis. A group of rare Chacoan maras arrived last year, a South American relative of the guinea pig and one of the world's largest rodents. They will be taking part in an international breeding programme to help protect the animals for future generations.
A new arrival this year is a group of rock hyraxes, a medium-sized mammal native to Africa and the Middle East. They're distantly related to elephants and manatees.
I'm glad we visited at midday as it started raining during the afternoon. I don't know what's happened to summer this year. We're forecast a nice weekend though, the sun has arrived this morning so I hope it's here to stay.