At Flamingo Land it’s not just about exotic animals. We’re working hard to ensure that we are also providing homes for our native animals and plants, contributing to conservation efforts beyond our boundaries. This month we are increasing the numbers of trees on site by planting 2,000 young trees of a variety of broad leaf species. Woodlands are a habitat that has really suffered in the UK, being easily cut down and taking years to grow back.
The newly-planted trees will take decades to become an established woodland, however in the meantime they stabilise soil and provide valuable habitats for birds, insects and small mammals, as well as improving air quality for us.
Planting new trees on Flamingo Land is especially important as some of the zoo animals such as the giraffes like to eat the leaves off branches. Provision of browse is important for the animal’s enrichment but can put strain on our trees on site. By planting more trees we are providing a sustainable resource, which if managed carefully can be harvested to provide browse as the trees mature.
The trees we are planting are being supplied in partnership with the Woodland Trust MOREWoods scheme. This allows landowners to plant areas of trees at a reduced cost, and gives the expertise and support to ensure that the trees grow successfully. Planting the trees is very simple, cutting into the ground to get the roots deep enough doesn’t even require a hole to be dug. We stake the trees with a cane to help them grow straight, and use a plastic tube to protect them from damage by hungry rabbits and deer. Finally we peg a mat around the base of the tree to restrict growth of weeds that will compete with the young tree for water and nutrients in the soil.
At Flamingo Land everyone is involved in getting the trees in the ground. The gardeners will be making sure the equipment is ready, our research interns are recruiting volunteers to help from the University of York and hopefully the zoo keepers will pitch in as well. Anyone is welcome to join us – if you’re interested in getting involved please email Sarah at firstname.lastname@example.org.