Chester Zoo is among the most well-equipped in the world. It’s a spectacular place to walk around and take in some of nature’s most beautiful wildlife, and it takes great pains to involve itself in conservation efforts. Part of the work of the zoo is to look after endangered species, and help to ensure that they don’t die out. This requires a combination of detailed planning, excellent nutrition and husbandry, as well as staff who know the animals extremely well.
2017 has been around for just two months, and already that time has seen a number of new animals make their debuts in the zoo. If you haven’t been to the zoo in a while, then, you’re sure to find something new to look at. Let’s take a look at the more recent arrivals, and the species to which they belong.
On boxing day last year, a new giraffe calf was born in the zoo. He’s called Murchison, and he’s part of the Rothschild’s herd at the zoo. The name comes from the Murchison Falls in Uganda, where you’ll find the largest single group of Rothschild giraffes in the world.
Murchison has recently made his debut outdoors at the zoo for all to see. He was a little ungainly on his feet to begin with, but he’s quickly developing some much-needed grace. As you might expect, he’s never far from the side of his mother, Tula, who’s been helping him find his feet, so to speak.
The Rothschild’s giraffe is among the world’s most rare and at-risk species, with an estimated 1,600 remaining in the wild across Africa. The Zoo has been working in partnership with the Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF) to learn more about the Rothschild’s giraffe, and what can be done to reverse their decline.
Chester Zoo has recently welcomed a new otter, a three-year-old male named Diego Junior. He was selected as a perfect genetic match for the zoo’s resident female, Icana, and moved to Chester from the Bioparc Zoo de Doué-la-Fontaine in France.
Diego Junior and Icana belong to a very endangered species. Just five-thousand giant otters are thought to remain in their native South America, and some estimates place the number even lower, at just one-thousand.
Several forces are pushing these numbers down. Of these, the most significant is habitat destruction, as the places where otters live are bulldozed to create landspace for humans and timber. Water pollution and poaching have further forced otter numbers downwards, and thus it’s essential that breeding programmes like the one being pursued by the zoo are successful. The zoo are optimistic that their two otters will produce pups in the near future, and a great deal will be learned about the species in general through careful observation of Diego Junior and Icana.
The zookeepers at Chester Zoo are currently engaged in an unusual task. They’re looking after an orphaned baby antelope. It’s a member of a smaller species of antelope, the kirk’s dik-dik, which can be found in East Africa. The baby’s mother died shortly after giving birth to the youngster, and so it’s down to the zookeepers to hand-rear him until he’s old enough to eat by himself.
This species is among the smallest of all antelopes, growing to just 40cm tall. They’re probably not what you’d expect from an antelope, being so small – and so it’s especially worth paying the zoo a visit to catch a glimpse of Thanos (the name he’s been given). By the time summer rolls around, Thanos should have been introduced to the other dik-diks in the zoo – and so you’ll be able to see him in the flesh!
Where can I stay?
If you’re a native of Cheshire, then you’ll be able to pop into the zoo at your leisure. If you’re travelling from further afield, however, you might wish to book a hotel, and then use it as a staging ground for your forays into the Zoo and the other attractions that the county has to offer.
Carden Park near Chester is a fantastic candidate. The grounds are home to a duo of world-class golf courses, and you’ll be able to relax in the swimming pool and spa after you’re done travelling. There are also plenty of dining options onsite, with a pair of bars and a pair of restaurants to enjoy. If you’re looking for a Chester Wedding Venue, on the other hand, the hotel is eminently suitable.