Friday, 8 December 2017

Photo of the Month: November 2017

"Heron with Dragonfly" by Celia Mulhearn

As the temperature drops, only one thing jumps to a photographers mind this time of year... SNOW! Will it snow at the Wildlife Centre this winter? And if it does, can it snow enough to make a lovely back drop for some snowy images of our animals, but not too much that you can't get here to take those photos!

Whether we have snow or not, almost certainly we will have frozen otter ponds at some point over the next couple of months. Another great photo opportunity with our otters, who love to play above through and under the ice. Who knows, we may even see the cubs on ice this winter too. 

Anyway, on to last month and photo of the month. Some good ones to look through, and we chose this unusal one above of one of our wild herons on the reserve with a dragonfly in it's mouth. Taken by Celia Mulhearn, who also took another one of the photos below of a yellow neck mouse... two animals not often photographed here. 

As always see below for some more images shared through November, and click on the names to see more photographs taken by the photographers. 

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Otter Cubs


Look at what we found in the otter enclosure earlier this week... Baby otters!

We have been keeping this one a little quiet, but Emmy and Elwood had a litter of cubs at the end of October half term. A few weeks before we noticed Emmy getting a little "rounder", and she was beginning to act a little different too... pushing away Elwood and her older cubs a lot more.

We moved the older cubs off display to give Emmy more space, and sure enough a week later she gave birth to two little cubs. Otters do not have a set season, and can give birth any time of year, but Emmy has always had her litters at the end of Autumn... and what a pro... the cubs begin to emerge at around two months, which coincides with our open week after Christmas!



This week they were 4/5 weeks old, so it was time to give them a quick health check. Our zoo vet, Alan, came in to help and microchipped them and sexed them at the same time. I am pleased to say they are both plump and healthy, and we have one little boy and one little girl!

They are still very young, and so Emmy will be keeping them well hidden in the holt. She will occasionally move them from one holt to another, but they will not begin their swimming lessons until they are a couple of months old.



Just a reminder that they will not be on view until they are around 2 months old. This is when Emmy will begin to teach them how to swim, and Elwood will begin to play with them. I imagine this will be around the Christmas open week... but of course will update you on here when they do start coming out a bit more regularly for you to see.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

New Keeper: Jamie


This week we welcomed the newest member to our keeping team... Jamie.

Jamie has recently finished a seasonal placement at the New Forest Wildlife Centre, following on from completing his degree in Zoology. I am sure he will settle in quickly here, and be able to build on this little bit of experience he has to develop and learn new skills, and gain a lot more experience to help him progress in his zoological career.

I am sure you will all make Jamie feel welcome here, as you always do with any new member of the team. Do say hello to him next time you visit.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Badgers on the Move


Remember the badger cubs we had earlier this year?.. Well they have been growing well and quickly off display over the last few months, all while our maintenance team have been busy expanding our outside badger enclosure.

By taking a little area of the Copse, hardly used by the squirrels, we have been able to link a new digging area to our existing outside badger enclosure via a tunnel which passes underneath the boardwalk.

An inside area provides a sleeping area for the new badgers, and having been introduced at the weekend, they now have access to the grassy area for the first time. As you can see, they are having a great time destroying all the hard work put in by doing what badgers do best.



Over the winter we will be alternating who has access to each outside area, between our new badgers and old, swapping bedding materials and allowing them to talk to each other through a divide system. Over time we are hoping we will be able to allow them all to live together. Easier said than done, but it would be nice for them all to have free roam of both enclosures!

The winter time has always been the best time of year for us to catch up on some of the bigger jobs and plans we have for the Centre, and this year is no different. Finishing the badgers is a start, and a few other things are in line which we will be able to share with you soon.

Monday, 6 November 2017

Photo of the Month: October 2017

"Red Squirrel" By Brett Watson

We are now entering our quieter time of year, with the evenings drawing in and the temperature dropping. For a lot of our animals this means they will be a little less active, but on the plus I think that most of them are far more photogenic. Nice thick winter coats, bushy tails and vibrant colours.

Last month the photographs seemed to cover a real range of our animals, with more being shared of our animals in the "Barn and Hedgerow" section which was great to see. We did see quite a few wide angle photographs too, and it was the photo above taken by Brett Watson of one of our friendly red squirrels which we chose to be in our coffee shop gallery next year.

As with the others, Brett's photo will be in with a chance of being selected to win him a photo day here at the wildlife centre.

Here are a couple of other photos that were shared by our visitors last month.


"House Mouse" by Zena Saunders


"Stealth Otter" by Jeni Bell



"Red Squirrel" by Gary Chisholm


As always, click on the link in the names above to see more of their photographs.