Visible from our Treetop Walkway section of the zoo are our South American animals. We have a range of animals such as vicuna, mara, capybara, rhea, tapirs, alpaca and penguins. The penguins have their own enclosure and the rest of the animals share a large area to roam in. This mixed species exhibit allows the animals to have a large space to live in and gives them scents and trails made by the other animals. Due to the animals being herbivores they are never going to hunt each other and they get along well. Managing the variety of animals in this area requires planning due to newborn arrivals and weather conditions.
Zoos often move animals between each other to avoid inbreeding from occurring and to prevent their numbers from getting too high or low. After two litters of capybara this year, we decided that were had a few too many to accommodate! So today two female capybara and two peafowl were transported to another zoo. The capybara were required to spend a small length of time in our quarantine area to ensure they weren’t carrying any bacteria or diseases. Once they had the all-clear, some crates were allocated for transporting them in. Hopefully they will settle into their new home without any problems!
Due to the animals’ native environment being warm for most of the year, we have to make sure our animals are warm enough during the winter period. We have several shelters scattered around the South America area, however there aren’t enough to accommodate all of the animals once the temperature gets low. Therefore our alpaca will be having their temporary annual house move into the Muddy Duck Farm. They will be having a stable next door to the donkeys and Shetland ponies. This will ensure that they are kept warm and cosy and have enough space for everyone to move around in.
If you’re planning what to do during winter why not come and see how our animals are coping during the cold months. The zoo is open on a weekend and school holidays between the end of November and March for a reduced winter rate. Exact details will soon be put up on our website. This is the third year we have opened the zoo over winter so if you haven’t visited us in while, why not pay us a visit!