Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Meet The Penguins

We had two trips to Lotherton Hall on Sunday, the first was our usual walk through the woods with Archie, which he always enjoys. After dropping him home we returned to visit Lotherton's new Wildlife World.

There has been a bird garden in the grounds of Lotherton Hall since 1980 but this is currently being added to with work being undertaken to build Lotherton Wildlife World. A colony of Humboldt Penguins, Capybaras and a tapir have recently taken up residence here and they've attracted lots of visitors so I decided it was time for us to visit them too.


A series of themed zones are being created and the first one we visited was the Coastal Zone which features an enclosure where flamingos, wading and free flying birds will live alongside the new penguin pool, which has above and below water viewing areas. The penguins have already moved in ahead of the other residents.


Their new home features natural surfaces and the pool will allow these 17 Humboldt Penguins to behave as they would in the wild and also breed, meaning Lotherton can contribute to the national breeding programme.


The below water viewing area is such a good idea. Visiting children were so excited to be able to see the penguins swimming past and the penguins seemed to be showing off, swimming right up to the glass.


These are South American penguins which breed in coastal Chile and Peru and the species is listed as vulnerable.


Humboldt penguins socialise in large colonies but choose only one partner for life.


The above water viewing areas are excellent allowing visitors to see the penguins up close.


The colony is made up of penguins from zoos in Newquay and Dudley and their introductions must have gone well as they seemed to be happy living with each other. They're real characters.


We then went on to visit the Forest Zone where some capybaras have recently been introduced to Lotherton.


Capybaras are the largest living rodents in the world. It's quite obvious that their close relatives include guinea pigs and rock cavies, they look just like giant guinea pigs to me.


I didn't realise that Capybaras enjoyed water quite as much as they do. A large pool has been installed in their enclosure and it was fun watching them go for a swim. They have webbed feet and their eyes, ears and nostrils are located on the top of their heads which means that a capybara can lift just its eyes, nose and ears out of the water to learn everything about its surroundings while the rest of its body remains hidden underwater.


Arthur the tapir is another new resident at Lotherton. Unfortunately, he was ensconced under a heat lamp indoors on Sunday so we only got to see him through the window. He looked very comfy though. We'll definitely make a return trip to see him again at a later date.


Whilst we were there we couldn't miss the opportunity to visit the Andean Condors. They're a variety of vulture from the Andean Mountains in South America and the largest bird of prey in the world. They have a wingspan of over three metres and weigh over twenty five pounds. I think they look like they're wearing a furry hood.


Future plans at Wildlife World include an Africa Zone, featuring a new mongoose exhibit, a Children's Zone, with a small zoo and farm animals and an Asia-themed zone which will be home to red pandas and an otter exhibit.

It all sounds very exciting.

40 comments:

  1. Lucky you living so close to this. Thank's for your reply to my last comment, I am looking at everything.

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    1. It's a lovely place to go for a walk and now has this added attraction. You're welcome, I do hope you give sock knitting a go, but be warned, it's addictive.

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  2. Ooh I love penguins! You had a lovely day out by the looks of things.

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    1. Penguins are such cute things, it was captivating watching them. We had a lovely day out.

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  3. I guess those penguins will feel very much at home with our weather at the moment

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    1. I'm sure they will. I'm without heating tomorrow as Northern Gasworks are replacing all the gas pipes in our area and it's our turn for our road to be dug up.

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  4. What wonderful photos, I love the Condor with the white fury halo. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. I'm always fascinated by the condors whenever we visit, such huge birds, they make their presence felt.

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  5. How fascinating, Jo. Penguins are such fun birds to watch both in and out of the water. :o)

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    1. The penguins seem to be attracting lots of visitors, I think they're a favourite of many people.

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  6. It looks really nice! The habitats seem so clean and well cared-for. I haven't been to our local zoo many times because I'm not thrilled with the level of upkeep, it makes me a bit sad to look at everything there. But I've been to some really beautiful zoos and I know it can be done much better, which I have enjoyed every time. Thanks for sharing, Jo! I espcially liked the capybara.

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    1. I'm not a fan of zoos really, but I think the good ones have their place when they're taking part in breeding programmes and education. I like to see that the animals are being well cared for. I love the capybaras, they were really enjoying themselves chasing each other around the enclosure and jumping in the pool.

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  7. A most enjoyable post and good pictures. There's some interesting animals to be seen there. I'm not keen on zoos but modern wildlife centres like this are certainly worth visiting. xx

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    1. I'm with you on zoos in general. I think Lotherton are bringing some more unusual animals to the Wildlife World, I'm certainly looking forward to seeing the red pandas when they arrive.

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  8. I am not always a fan of Zoos and such but when there is an educational and conservation aspect attached it can make for quite an event. It certainly looked like a great place to visit.

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    1. I think the main thing with zoos, or any places where animals are kept, is that the animals are well looked after and treated with care and respect. It will be interesting to see how further development goes, we'll keep popping back to keep up with progress.

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  9. Lovely post, so nice to see they are educating and giving enjoyment at the same time xcx

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    1. The animals seemed happy enough and they're certainly drawing the crowds. We had a very enjoyable visit.

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  10. Thank you for sharing your photos Jo, the Capybara looks rather cute. The penguins look great swimming. I saw a diagram of a penguin skeleton once, if you've never seen one, it's definitely worth a look. It kind of explains the awkward walk they have, bless them. I've not been to see the seals at the sanctuary for quite a few years now the boys are older. There's usually a few other animals there too. It's funny, when the teens were young lads, I got to go on many a trip with them to places. Enjoy your trips, Cathy x

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    1. The capybaras were my favourites, they're like giant guinea pigs and so entertaining to watch. The viewing windows in the penguin pool are such a great idea. I haven't seen a penguin skeleton, I shall have to look that up. I have a real soft spot for seals, the highlight of my holiday in Norfolk last year was visiting Horsey Gap where there were literally hundreds of seals on the beach, quite an experience to witness that.

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  11. What a wonderful environment - so different to the zoos of my childhood, with animals in bare cages! And if by having these animals and birds in captivity we are contributing to their survival, then surely that is a good thing.

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    1. I remember visiting a zoo when I was young and watching a polar bear pacing in its cage, it brought me to tears, and all for the sake of getting the paying public through the gates. I'm so glad that we've come a long way since those days. I don't think it's ideal having any animal in captivity but there are many places doing so much good by contributing to breeding programmes and education that you have to weigh up the good against the bad. Lotherton have always invested in education and they seem to be taking this to a new level with the recent expansion of Wildlife World. It will be interesting to see the further development.

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  12. How lovely and hopefully making the zones from scratch will mean their living conditions will be tip top. Great for all the local children. Tapirs always look fun on the tv.

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    1. I think it's great that we've got this wonderful place on our doorstep. As you say, the zones are being built from scratch so I'm sure they've done plenty of research to discover how best to house these wonderful animals. We've been to educational talks ourselves here and I know organised trips from schools are welcome, it's a great resource to have on the doorstep. I'm looking forward to going back to see more of Arthur the Tapir.

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  13. That all sounds very exciting & I've never seen Capybaras or Tapirs. Not sure I've ever heard of them actually. Know penguins though, as we have own Little Penguins here in Oz. Look forward to seeing more and take care

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    1. I don't think you've ever visited Lotherton when you've been in the UK, I can certainly recommend a visit when you're next here. We're lucky to have such a lovely place on our doorstep.

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  14. Those penguins look like real characters.
    Not sure about the Andean Condor - he looks a bit scarey.

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    1. The penguins were showing off, they're proper little characters. I always head to see the Andean Condors whenever we go in the bird garden, I'm fascinated by them, they look quite prehistoric.

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  15. Thanks for sharing your visit and the fab photos.Love penguins,I used to collect all things Penguin,got a bit too much so had to stop lol.I love all the animals,Arthur looks really comfy and cute.x Cuddles for Archie

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    1. Penguins are such characters, I think that's why they're a favourite of so many people. I shall definitely be returning to see Arthur, I think our weather's a little too cold for him at the moment.

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  16. I love penguins, these ale. Some interesting animals here for sure!xxx

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    1. I like that they've brought in animals that you don't often see elsewhere, I think they'll be a big attraction at Lotherton.

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  17. How wonderful that all this is going on at somewhere you love visiting already.
    I bet the penguins are going to be hugely popular!
    Lisa x

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    1. We're certainly getting value for money from our annual membership. I can see Mick and I visiting more often without Archie now that there's these animals to see, not that Archie won't get to go just as much as he usually does as we love the walks we take him on there.

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  18. Lovely for you to have somewhere like this so close to home - I bet Archie would love to have a closer sniff around in there too!

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    1. I think Archie would love it in there. He's allowed in and around the grounds of Lotherton Hall but not in Wildlife World. He always has a good sniff at the entrance though. We're lucky having such a lovely place so close by and the annual membership is very reasonable if you visit often.

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  19. Tapirs are fascinatingly weird.
    I didn't know condors have furry bonnets. How wonderful!

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    1. I'm looking forward to returning to get a better look at Arthur the Tapir, he was enjoying the warmth of the heat lamp when we visited, I think our weather might be a bit too cold for him at the moment. I'm not sure if all condors have furry bonnets or if it's just this variety, they're fascinating birds.

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  20. I adore penguins! Great photos :)

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    1. The penguins were so sweet. I shall go back and see them again soon.

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