A year of new arrivals

Parma wallaby joey and mum at Flamingo Land
Parma wallaby joey and mum at Flamingo Land

This week we’re going to take a look back over 2014 and just a few of the new arrivals that last year brought us!

Our first baby of the year was Jessie, a Bactrian camel, who was brought into the world on a chilly afternoon in February. She wasn’t fazed by the weather, however, as these camels come from the freezing deserts of Mongolia. With a thick coat of fur right from the start, she quickly became part of the herd and can now be seen in the camels’ newly revamped sandy enclosure next to the tigers.

On that note, our most well-known babies of the year were born soon afterwards on March 22 – Sumatran tiger cubs Kuasa, Bulan and Mentari. These critically endangered animals are part of a conservation breeding programme which crosses worldwide borders – grandfather Tenang, currently living at Paignton Zoo in Devon, was born in Perth Zoo in Australia! The cubs are now nine months old and still growing fast, with very distinct personalities developing. Your best chance to see them is when they are fed at the tiger talk, at 1pm daily.

Ring-tailed lemur Barry joined our troop just after the Easter holidays, bringing their number to 16. Too big to ride on mum Ruth’s back any more, he can usually be seen bouncing around our walk-through enclosure, which also opened last year.

Barry was followed by Arnold, a Grant’s zebra, born on a chilly day in May to parents Guinness and Vendela. Up and moving straight away, he is adored by big sister Velvet, who even chased off dad if he came too close!

Next up came four capybara babies, which are a similar size to guinea pigs when born but rapidly grow; they are the biggest rodent in the world. Other new arrivals to the Treetop Walkway included vicuna cria Violet, born on a busy Sunday in June in front of an adoring public, and three flamingo chicks, whose bright white feathers made them stand out in the flock.

As we came towards the end of our 2014 season, there was still time for another baby to appear – a parma wallaby. Born in early August, it was initially very difficult to see as it didn’t leave its mum’s pouch until it grew its furry coat and was able to see and hop around – and since parmas are the smallest of the 44 species of wallaby, that made things even more difficult!