Monday, 1 September 2014

Pip The Squirrel

This is "Pip the Squirrel" created by David Mills, owner of the British Wildlife Centre. So who better to introduce you to Pip than the man himself, let me hand you over to David...

"The reason I created the Centre initially was to show visitors some  of the wildlife which lives all around us, that is seldom seen and little is known about, with the hope that they might want to help save it for future generations - 'Conservation through Education"

In order to appeal to very young children and inspire them to 'Connect with Nature', we have taken that concept a stage further. I have now created and developed with the help of a small dedicated team of professional wildlife film makers a cartoon red squirrel character - 'Pip the Squirrel' - who interacts with the animals living at the Centre.

We are hoping to produce a whole series of DVDs featuring Pip and our animals all filmed here at the Centre. The first DVD is now available (see Pips website - and the second one is in production and will be out in the spring.

I know that we have entered a very crowded market place for this age group of children, but I am confident we have something which is both appealing and educational to young people and their parents alike!" - David Mills, BWC Owner and Creator of Pip the Squirrel

Watch the trailer above for an idea of what Pip is all about, and then have a peek at the video below for more of a teaser... the clip below features one of our keepers Izzy... Hello Izzy!

To see more clips of Pip, and the animals from around the Centre, head over to Pip the Squirrels youtube channel... he even has a Facebook page to keep up with and of course his website to learn more about the series, how it was created and to order a copy of series one. 

Thanks to David for his guest post today, and enjoy watching the clips... Toodlepip!

Friday, 29 August 2014

Photography Day, Wed 24th September

Due to a very late cancellation from a photography workshop provider, we had a free day in the diary for September. All our current photo days in that month have been fully booked for a while, and so we have made this free day in to another BWC Photographic Day.

For more details on our photo days have a look on the main website, and if you are interested then email or phone the main office to book a place.

After the post earlier this week reminding you all of our photo competition, and a few links to our other BWC groups on the internet, I have been asked a few times at work about how the blog is doing.

I must confess I forget, but apparently I have on occasion updated everyone on how this blog is growing and it seems a lot of you are keen to know and follow that side of things too.

I have checked the most recent stats this morning, and can say we have now risen to  just below 200 independent hits a day on average for the BWC Blog, with this increasing more on the days we actually put up a post... Wow! It is amazing to think how much it has grown since its very humble beginnings, and I thank you all for the support.

With this success, it does mean that I often get asked by the office to post things up here, such as the blatant photo day plug above and competition reminder earlier this week. But I am wary to keep the blog true to why I originally started it... animal news and related around the BWC.

With that in mind, and with the animal front being a little quiet at the moment, there will be a post early next week to help promote a new project owner, David Mills, is currently working on. It does involve our animals, and it is geared towards education as always... that is all I will say for now and more will be revealed next week!

This will then follow with updates on our youngsters, new arrivals and some exciting news on the red squirrel front.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

BWC Reminders

I have been told that entries in to this years BWC Photo Competition are currently lower than they were this time last year, and what is more disappointing is apparently there are currently no "Junior" entries!.. So I have been asked to put a post up to remind you all to send your pics in!

I have been told by a lot of members that "Flick" has been changing a bit recently, and is more confusing to add photos to groups and discussions etc... this could explain lack of interest from there. but you can still email your photos in to And if you know any juniors... get them to enter there favourite pics!

For more information, click on the tab above "Photo Competition"

While reminding about that, I thought I would remind you of the other groups we have around for you to keep up to date with everything BWC.

  • Facebook - Now over 2,500 likes on our Facebook page, and the easiest way to keep up on any posts that go up on this blog. Most of our visitors to this blog come from our facebook page.
  • Twitter - For those that prefer twitter, we also have a feed there. It is automatically linked to our Facebook page and so updates when that does. As always, if you need to get in touch, always best to email in to the main office.
  • Flickr - A group page on flickr for people to share there photos taken at the British Wildlife Centre.
  • Youtube - Our BWC channel features all videos used on the website and any publicity videos we have been involved with. For any of the short clips I have used on this blog for animal updates you would need to look at my channel.
  • Matt's Photos - My sister blog with more photos from around the Centre of the animals and work we do. I have been amazed at how this blog has grown in its short time.
  • BWC Main Website - And not to forget our main website of course.

Thanks once again to all of you and especially the regular visitors to this blog. I am blown away by how it has developed from its humble beginnings to where it is now. We have regular viewings from around the world, and 100's of hits a day increasing greatly when a post goes live. 
Hopefully this blog will continue to provide you with all the interesting animal news from the Centre, as well as other little bits and pieces. Thank you all, I really do appreciate all your support.

Friday, 22 August 2014

Albus' Antlers

Earlier this year we started a week by week photo project of our Master Stag, Albus, growing his new set of antlers. Seeing the pictures side by side really do show that at his age onwards, you can see the antlers growing week by week. Incredible when you think about it!

I have included a few here below, and for those that wish to see all of the photos... that's one a week for the 18 weeks they took to grow, head over to our sister blog linked above under the tab "More BWC Photos"

As you can see from the very top photo, the stags don't always lose both of their antlers at the same time, but they usually are cast within a day of each other. Then even by week one above, you can begging to see bumps where the new antlers are beginning to grow.

Week five and the antlers are showing a bit of shape with a few different tines forming. Some people say that a stag grows a new tine for every year of their life, but this is not true. The number of tines vary from stag to stag... but the antlers do generally get bigger year on year until their later years, so you can guess the age of a stag by the size of the antlers to some extent.

Week nine and starting to look like antlers, and showing off the velvet much clearer. The velvet is the soft furry skin covering the antler through its growth. This supplies the antlers with all they need to grow before being shed and exposing the bone.

Week thirteen and the real shape of the antler is now coming through. You tend to find the each stags antlers will be different from each other, but their own antlers will be similar year on year. They tend to follow a similar shape but just grow larger and/or and an extra tine or two.

Week seventeen and they are now fully grown. All that is left is to strip the velvet off...

And this is known as the deer being in "Tatters", which is where we get the saying from when we describe something as being a mess... or in tatters.

Velvet fully shed, blood cleaned up in the weather, and looking more handsome than ever... Albus Dumbledeer, BWC Master Stag 2014!

To see the other pics in the series, follow the tab above "More BWC Photos"

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Mammal Tracking

You may remember that last year we helped John Ryder, of Woodcraft School, in collecting some mammal tracks of our collection of British animals... John was extremely pleased with what he was able to get here, that he returned coupled of weeks a go to attempt to get some more, even better tracks!

Can you guess what animal left the footprint above?

Woodcraft School are professional suppliers of bushcraft, natural history and wildlife experiences. They run and teach courses that can run from a day event, to courses that span over months, all aimed at a variety of skill levels. This is such a great idea, and a brilliant way to get people interested in nature and tracking be it on an enthusiasts level or a professional level working with animals as a profession.

Below is a video from their website about mammal tracks, using some of the tracks we obtained for them last time John was here.

Please do spend the time to have a look at their website, it really is quite interesting and includes another video which we helped with in our small, unique way... supplying a few mammal droppings!

Anyway, back to a couple of weeks a go, and John's main focus was on our mustelids. Lucy helped him out for a day focusing on our polecats, stoats and weasels and took a few pics along the way.

To attempt to get a footprint, John used different mediums... with soft moon sand appearing to be the most successful with our smaller mustelids. Placing this in the enclosure, in a place where the animal had to walk over it, was the way to go... and a little patience to allow the animal to get used to this new contraption soon led to the natural curiosity of wanting to explore.

The next step was to take a record of the footprint next to a gauge to show of the size. Also recorded was the gait of the animal which can tell a lot as to which animal left it behind.

It has been great fun working with John on this project, and we hope this will continue to build a link between ourselves and Woodcraft School. I think John has plans to take this tracking even further, and if we can we will be happy to help him build a collection of accurate British mammal tracks!

Oh, and the footprint at the top... it was of our hedgehog, Timone. Well done to anyone who guessed right!