Noah's Ark zoo farm

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Fireworks blamed for zebra death

A young zebra called Hope who was spooked by a firework has died at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm.

Hope died on Wednesday, November 4. Zookeepers think Hope was frightened by the loud bangs from several local firework displays.

This caused her to bolt and she collided with the boundary of the enclosure, said a spokesman.

A post-mortem examination revealed this sudden impact caused her immediate death.

Zoo managing director Larry Bush said: “We’re feeling devastated by the loss of our young zebra Hope.

“She was so full of energy and life and she was a very healthy young zebra.

“It is such a tragedy that she has lost her life, seemingly as a result of fireworks being set off at nearby events which were intended as a celebration.

“We know this was not the intention of local organisers and people letting off fireworks but it does demonstrate in a tragic way the impact that fireworks can have on animals – whether this be zebras, horses, native wildlife or pets in our homes.”

Senior keeper Jayne Gibbins said: “Her birth was a real high point for us in amongst the challenges of having to close the zoo for three months in support of the national lockdown and we are all feeling her loss greatly. 

"As a zoo, we are determined that something good can come out of this situation.

"Our hope is that by sharing this story, everyone will become more aware of the effect fireworks can have on animals.

"We would like to use this tragic event as an impetus for change and we really hope that people will now think hard and adopt alternative arrangements for celebrations, including silent fireworks or more animal-friendly options."

A huge debate on banning fireworks followed when this article was posted on the Nailsea People Facebook page.

PHOTO: Hope and mum

Zoo is open on Sundays

Noah’s Ark is delighted to announce the extension of our Sunday openings. 

Following the overwhelmingly positive feedback from their wonderful visitors, both last year and this year, they have decided to continue with Sundays from now on. 

This means the zoo will be open for seven days a week until Wednesday, December 23, 2020. 

The zoo will close for a short break over Christmas and will reopen on Saturday, January 2, 2021, seven days a week!

Managing director Larry Bush said: “It seems like the right time to move to seven days a week. 

"Our members’ and visitors have enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere that Sundays bring and as a zoo, we need to be flexible in the current climate.

"We can offer people fresh air and beautiful open countryside as well as the opportunity to re-connect with animals and nature and we believe it’s especially important to do this right now. 

"The zoo was severely hit by the three-month lockdown closure.

"However, thanks to the tremendous support of our members and visitors during the summer period we are in a good position going forward”.

The zoo hopes that all customers will continue to enjoy a special day out together at Noah's Ark and look forward to welcoming visitors every day of the week.

In normal times Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm™ attracts more than 200,000 visitors annually.

It all began in 1999 with lions, bears, giraffe, zebras, rhinos and gibbons finding a home at the Wraxall farm.

As well as the longest hedge maze in Europe, visitors can enjoy huge indoor and outdoor adventure playgrounds. Currently tickets have to be pre-booked.

For more details click HERE.

Meet the Mob

Compare the Meerkat is an advertising campaign on British and Australian commercial television for comparethemarket.com, a price comparison website, part of BGL Group.

The adverts feature Aleksandr Orlov, a CGI anthropomorphic Russian meerkat and his family and friends.

Founded in early 2006, the website became the third-largest price comparison website in the UK, after it launched the Compare the Meerkat campaign, featuring a series of meerkat characters.

The tv commercial has helped to make the is a small mongoose world famous!

More than 11 meerkats live at Noah’s Ark which is one of the biggest zoos in the south west.

This slideshow was taken Tracey A. Thomas a West Country amateur photographer with a passion for photographing nature and the outdoor environment.

To learn more about Tracey go to her beautiful online blog HERE.

Because of coronavirus restrictions the daily talk is currently suspended but the keepers are hoping to reinstate a weekly ‘meet our mob and their keepers’ session soon – see the website for more details.

Noah's Ark factfile

Name: Slender-tailed meerkat

 

Scientific name: Suricata suricatta

 

Characteristics: Meerkats live together in large communities and are very friendly towards each other. They work as a group to look out for one another, with some meerkats being posted as lookouts to watch for predators and others being used to hunt prey or nurse the pups. Often pictured ‘standing up’ on their rear legs, these inquisitive creatures are alert to every movement around them. The dark patches around their eyes help to reduce the glare of the sun, making them even more effective lookouts. They communicate by chirping and make shrill sounds to warn each other of potential dangers.

 

Diet: Meerkats are omnivores, which means they eat some meat, fruit and plants. Meerkats will hunt insects but may eat birds and lizards if they come across them. They have little fat on their bodies, so need to forage all day to keep their energy levels up.

 

Size fact: Meerkats are approximately 30cm tall when standing.

Food fact: Meerkats are known to eat scorpions, removing their deadly tail in the blink of an eye.

 

Fun fact: A collection of meerkats is called a mob!

IUCN:  Red list. Meerkats are listed as Least Concern on the IUCN red list.

Where do I live? Angola, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa.

Pumpkins smash at zoo

With Pumpkin Fest on the horizon, Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm welcomed back Taunton farmer Luke Downs and his giant pumpkins.

After giving Shaka, the African Elephant, a 14 stone pumpkin in 2019, Luke made the decision to grow three pumpkins for each of the elephants at Noah’s Ark in 2020.

He said, ‘I start by preparing the ground in April and then plant the seeds in May in the greenhouse and when the pumpkins are a decent size, I put them into the ground to continue growing.”

After the three, 14 stone pumpkins were put in the enclosure, the elephants were let in. Shaka, the oldest bull sauntered over slowly, assessing the situation.

The two smaller and younger elephants, M’Changa and Janu, ran over as soon as they realised there was something new and interesting.

M’Changa stamped on the first pumpkin with a loud crack, whilst Janu went on to the second. After a satisfying crunch from Janu’s pumpkin, which was one meter in diameter, Shaka came over to investigate, prompting Janu to back away. Janu went back to help M’Changa finish off his pumpkin.

Alpha bulls will usually be the first to eat and as Shaka is the dominant of this bachelor group, he decides what he wants, and the others follow suit.

Zoo head elephant keeper Sandra De Rek said: “Shaka is the dominant bull and therefore in the bull group, what he says, goes. If he’d have got to all of them first, he would have eaten them all.

"Luckily for M’Changa and Janu, he walked the long way around the enclosure and so the young ones got to enjoy a pumpkin together before he got there.”

Elephants usually eat 150kg of food a day, starting with carrots in their enclosure, so pumpkins was a nice change to the day. It also provides enrichment for the mammals, getting them to use their trunks, tusks and feet to break up the giant squashes to make them bitesize.

After eating 270kg worth of pumpkin, the elephants turned their attention back to their normal sized carrots.

It was a ‘smashing’ day for the elephants!

Pumpkin Fest will run from Saturday to Sunday, October 24-November 1, Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm.

Join them for a mystery pumpkin trial, a social media pumpkin carving competition and yummy pumpkin treats.

Pumpkins are available for sale at the new Noah’s Ark Farm Shop.

Farm shop at zoo entrance

f you have visited Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm recently, you may have noticed their new shop outside the main zoo entrance.

The Noah’s Ark Farm Shop has popped up during lockdown and is now open for business!

The shop aims to bring local produce to local people and zoo visitors from afar.

Located in the car park to cater to those just passing and those coming to visit the zoo and those just looking for a good local produce.

Whether to take into the zoo as a picnic or to take home for dinner, there is something for everyone.

The new shop stocks freshly baked bread and cakes, as well as a selection of pastries, including sausage rolls and pork pies.

Tasty cheese, crackers, sauces, dressings, honeys and Bennett’s Ice Cream are available as well as fresh fruit, veg and meats all sourced from local businesses in the South West area.  

Fresh tea and coffee from Clifton Coffee to take away along with pastries and snacks which can also be enjoyed in the picnic area beside the farm shop.

Managing director Larry Bush said, “Our farm shop was dreamed up during lockdown and our site team have worked so hard to get this up and running.

"We are excited to work with local businesses and to see how this new venture goes.”
The shop will also sell fresh and frozen meals, homemade cakes and desserts, made with local produce, freshly cooked in the Noah’s Ark farm kitchen by our team of chefs.

The homemade Lamb Navarin, pies, and quiches are already favourite amongst the zoo staff.

Why not pop down to Noah’s Ark Farm Shop, to get a taste of locally sourced amazing products?

Whiskers image wins top prize

A beautiful photo of a Siamang Gibbon with a heart shaped nose captured the hearts of the public on social media during lockdown.

Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm entered the amazing shot into the People’s Choice category in the 2020 British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) Photography Awards.

One of the primate keepers caught the beautiful close-up image while doing her daily jobs in the enclosure.

The picture was captured while Beatrice took some time to herself away from her rowdy boys.

Beatrice lives at Noahs Ark Zoo Farm with her family group, including her mate Elwood and her sons Sidney, Sultana and Seth.

Noah's Ark managing director Larry Bush said “We are very proud to have won this award due to this time.

"The winders show the important work of zoos and aquariums at an immensely challenging time for the conservation organisations.

"Not only are these zoos and aquariums fighting for a better, wild future, after months of closures they are reeling from the financial impacts of the coronavirus.

"The awards were judged by TV naturalist Nick Baker, knows from CBBC’s The Really Wild Show, amongst other judges.@ 

Competition judge and BIAZA spokesperson, Andy Hall, said: “Huge congratulations to all of our winners!

"Everyday our zoos and aquariums are sharing the extraordinary beauty and fragility of the natural world and this is evident in the incredible winning photos.

"Now more than ever our society needs zoos and aquariums.”

Goodbye to Genevieve

Genevieve the giraffe has died 'suddenly' at Noah's Ark Zoo Farm. 

The zoo, located in North Somerset near Nailsea, received a 'huge shock' and a post-mortem has been carried out, the results of which are yet to come.

It is hoped the post-mortem will determine the cause of death.

Genevieve was 13-years-old and the matriarch of the zoo's giraffe enclosure.

The animals can live 10 to 15 years in the wild and 20 to 25 years in captivity.

The reticulated giraffe, nicknamed Genny, had been at the zoo for 10 years and had mothered four foals at the zoo in Wraxall.

Reticulated giraffe are a subspecies of giraffe which are native to the 'Horn of Africa' in places like Somalia, southern Ethiopia, and northern Kenya.

Noah's Ark Zoo Farm released the following statement on its Facebook page following the tragic death.

It said: "It is with the greatest sadness that we must announce the passing of Genevieve, our Giraffe who suddenly passed away.
"A full post-mortem has been carried out by specialists, the results of which will be returned shortly.

"Genny was an amazing gentle giant, who was loved by everyone.

"She was a brilliant mum and always had a calming influence on Giraffes and people alike.

"This has come as a huge shock to our team and our thoughts are with our incredible keepers, who have lost a true friend.
"Many of you will have met or seen Genny at some point during the past 10 years, and we’d love to celebrate her life with your memories and photos.

"Kito and Gilbert continue to be our ongoing priority as we all adapt to this change.

"Thank you for your kind thoughts, she will be missed.

"We are all devastated."

Polly and other animals

A young girl with a love of zebras who helped a zoo during lockdown has received an animal-centric day out!

Despite the dismal weather, Polly enjoyed her day of meeting all the Keepers and animals at the zoo. She fed the reindeers, Bactrian camels and baby Khoomii, the mob of meerkats, tapirs, Bella the barn owl and of course the zebras.

She also helped with the keepers daily tasks and got to meet animals she didn’t even know she loved. 

Polly Robertson, aged eight, visited the zoo to walk the last mile of her 64 mile sponsored walk.

While at the zoo, she was spoilt by all the animal keepers for raising such an amazing amount of money

During lockdown, Polly was disappointed when she couldn’t go to the zoo for her birthday.

Polly, the Zebra, who lives at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm sent Polly, the human, a birthday letter.

This prompted Polly to walk 64 miles - a mile a day - during lockdown to ‘walk the distance’ from her house to the zoo to raise £100 for Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm animal support fund.

Polly, who was then a guest on BBC Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine show, spoke to the radio host about how she wanted to raise money to help feed the animals at Noah’s Ark.

After her appearance on the Jeremy Vine show, her JustGiving page amount shot up to almost £11k, meaning that Polly had helped the zoo feed the animals for a whole month all by herself!

She presented her large cheque to Noah's Ark managing director Larry Bush.

He said: “We’re bowled over by Polly’s fundraising to help care for our animals here at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm.

"We love it when people share our passion for animals and Polly is as mad about zebras as we are.

"We have enjoyed spoiling Polly today by introducing her to our animals including of course, our dazzle of zebra including Polly.”

Noah's Ark is open - tickets online

Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm has re-opened, following an 88 day closure due to Coronavirus lockdown.

The zoo has adjusted their daily routine to ensure the safety of visitors, staff, and animals on-site.

To open, they have been advised by the local authorities, to open their outdoor space, include certain keeper talks that don’t draw big crowds and close their indoor and outdoor play areas in line with Government Guidelines, and in keeping with public play parks being closed still.

With the installation of sneeze guards in public places, closing down seated food outlets, enhanced hand washing facilities and extra toilets on site, the zoo have made all the right changes to the site to make it as safe as possible.

Using timed entry and limited capacity, the zoo aims to be able to control numbers on site, with added one-way systems in the busiest spots and keeping their animal houses closed.

The zoo was opened by Polly Robertson, an eight year old who raised over £10k for Noah’s Ark during the lockdown after appearing on BBC Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine show to talk about helping the zoo feed the animals.

Noah's Ark managing director Larry Bush said, “We’re bowled over by Polly’s fundraising efforts to help feed and care for our zebras here.

"We love it when people share our passion for animals and Polly is as mad about zebras as we are!

"It’s been a tough few months and a worrying time for the zoo and Polly has been an inspiration to all of us."

Please feed animals plea gets Polly, 8, fundraising

Noah’s Ark is re-opening to the public on Tuesday, June 23 at 10.30am with a special schoolgirl guest of honour.

The Wraxall  zoo farm is home to more than 100 different animals including lions, bears, giraffe, zebras, rhinos and gibbons and has been closed for 88 days due to the coronavirus crisis.

With mounting costs and needing £8,000 a month just to feed the animals they sent out a crowdfunding appeal.

And one of the first to answer was a young girl called Polly Robertson, aged eight.

Little Miss Robertson wanted to help the zebras after she received a birthday letter in April from the zebra with the same name.

Polly, the Zebra sent Polly, the human, a birthday letter, because there was no birthday visit due to lockdown.

This prompted the youngster to walk one mile a day for 64 days to equal the distance from her Herefordshire home to Noah’s Ark raising money for the animal support fund.

Polly, who was a guest on BBC Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine show, spoke to the radio host about how she wanted to raise money to help feed the animals at Noah’s Ark.

After her radio slot her JustGiving page amount shot up to £11k, meaning that Polly had surpassed her £100 target big time and helped to feed the zoo animals for a whole month!

Managing director Larry Bush said: “We’re bowled over by Polly’s fundraising efforts to help feed and care for our zebras here at Noah’s Ark.

“We love it when people share our passion for animals and Polly is definitely as mad about zebras as we are.

“It’s been a tough few month and a worrying time for the zoo and Polly has been an inspiration to all of us.

“We can’t wait to welcome Polly and her family to the zoo when we re-open and to introduce her to our dazzle of zebras including Polly the zebra and baby zebra Hope.”

Admission tickets must be bought online beforehand HERE.

Adult tickets cost £19.75 and there are concessions for children and groups. Children under two and carers go free.

Fund to feed animals

Noah's Ark zoo farm at Wraxall is fundraising to feed the animals as pandemic has forced it to close to visitors and it is maxed out at bank.

Managing director Larry Bush said: "Here at Noah’s Ark we rely entirely on visitors for our income – ticket sales and income from the café and gift shop is what keeps us afloat.

"So being closed to the public is hugely challenging for us as we still need to feed and care for our animals and even in lockdown we need a team of 20 dedicated keepers working hard to care for our animals seven days a week.

"This all costs a lot of money and we’ve already extended our borrowing to the absolute limit.

"We are now at a stage where we need to ask for help so that we can continue to feed and care for the 120 species of amazing animals here at Noah’s Ark.

"It costs us £8,000 each month to feed our animals and we are hoping we can raise this amount of money to help keep us going for the next month.

"Each animal has different needs from elephants, rhinos and giraffes to gibbons, giant anteaters and meerkats.

"These are animals with specialist diets and they need skilled care from trained animal keepers.

"We made a video to highlight the amount of food that we feed our animals at our zoo in one day.

"Please do consider making a donation to help us to continue to feed and care for our animals."

So far the crowdfunding has raised £6,391 of its £8,000.

To donate click HERE.

KHAN IS DEAD: Khan the 17-year-old Bengal tiger at Noah’s Ark has died. A spokeman said: “He was such a huge character here at the zoo and was loved by staff and visitors alike." Khan has lived in the Big Cat enclosure at the Wraxall zoo farm since 2009 along with a female companion, Tiana. He was a bit of a poster boy for the zoo and a great favourite of founder Anthony Bush. Anthony said: "I am especially sad at the death of our very old and friendly tiger Khan, at the grand old age of 17. Like his mate and so many old cats he had suffered from a kidney disease for several months, and was on medication. But all animal life, as human life, has to reach its end. Khan had been a gift to me from the world-renowned tiger breeder Martin Lacey, who had reared him from a cub. It has been a great privilege for me to have received much of the affection Khan had felt towards Martin, transferred to me, as, for most of the 11 years he was with us, we walked together, ran together at the side of his enclosure with just a weldmesh fence between us. Then he would  stop and rub my hand, perhaps many thousands of times over the years, and lie down and rest with me while I introduced visitors to him. I know many thousands of our visitors, whom I spoke to beside the fence, appreciated being so close to such a magnificent, potentially lethal, yet affectionate animal. We thank God for Khan as we ask with Rudyard Kipling: “Tiger, tiger burning bright/ in the forest of the night/ what immortal hand or eye could frame thy fearful symmetry/….. did He smile his work to see/ did He who made the lamb make thee?” A Bengal tiger has an average lifespan of 8-10 years in the wild. Bengal tigers are classified as Endangered on the IUCN red list.

A little Hope in an uncertain time

A baby zebra called Hope has been born at Noah’s Ark in the midst of the COVID19 outbreak.

Mum Polly, aged five, gave birth to the foal on Thursday, March 19, at the Wraxall zoo farm the last day of opening before the coronavirus shutdown.

Zoo keepers decided on the name Hope, to signify to visitors and staff, that in these unprecedented times, there is still hope that things will return to normal and life will keep on going.

Hope will live in the zebra enclosure and joins her father, Zebedee, the rest of the dazzle, including another young zebra called Sprout, who was born in December 2019. 

Senior keeper, Emma Ogborne said: "The news around the world has been dominated by the coronavirus and when Hope arrived safely into the world, she brought so much happiness to the whole zoo team. 

"That's when we knew we had to call her Hope ".

New-born foals are born with their stripes, although they are brown and white. 

The stripes will turn to black as the young zebra gets older.

Grant’s Zebra, a subspecies of Plain’s Zebras, are registered as Near Threatened on the IUCN red list.

  • Noah’s Ark is currently closed due to the COVID19 outbreak. The zoo farm which attracts more than 200,000 visitors annually started in 1999 and is home to lions, tiger, bears, giraffe, zebras, rhinos and gibbons. As well as the longest hedge maze in Europe, in normal times visitors can enjoy huge indoor and outdoor adventure playgrounds. For more details see our website: www.noahsarkzoofarm.co.uk

MOTHER'S DAY: Spoil your Mum at Noah's Ark zoo farm. Join us on Saturday, March 21, to give all kinds of mum a truly special day, We are celebrating Mum’s by offering a FREE bacon or sausage bap before 11:15am – just tell the ticket office you are a mum! There will be lot’s going on including the opportunity to feed the giraffes for £2 per person between 11.30-noon. And before you go home, why not also write a nice message to mum and hang it on our Messages For Mum Tree Don’t forget to look out around the zoo, for some of our mums including, Arusha, our African lion, Genny, our giraffe and Nola, our zebra. 

  • Please note all giraffe feeding participants must be aged over six-years-old

Woo @ zoo

Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm is hosting an animal couples fun trail and fete during February half term.

Come for a ‘date’ at Woo At The Zoo; from coconut shy to skittles, there will be something for all the family. 

Visit the zoo to learn all about the animals’ relationships with each other. Get to know more about their monogamous pair of Mara, Marius and Marilyn or visit the giraffe, zebra and lion families.

Many of the animals share their lives with a special someone!

Find out what the couples like and dislike, how long they’ve shared a home and fun facts about their personalities trail.

There is the opportunity for bug handling with giant African snails, stick insects and cockroaches!

And the café has some new Valentine’s inspired treats from Woo Waffles with a selection of yummy toppings to cream teas with homemade cakes.

You can work here too!

Noah's Ark is looking for new staff.

The North Somerset zoo farm is expanding and is looking to recruit more than 30 seasonal and permanent staff to its team.

Job opportunities range from animal keepers, park rangers and welcome assistants through to roles in catering, cleaning and gardening.  

The zoo farm near Nailsea needs enthusiastic and committed people with a keen focus on customer service.

Even better, for every member of staff they hire, the zoo will plant a tree as part of its Go Even Greener initiative.

The zoo will be planting a variety of tree species, including oak, hornbeam, beech and silver birch which will be planted in the conservation area at the zoo.

During the past 20 years, Noah’s Ark has planted more than 20,000 trees as part of its conservation work to encourage wildlife and to provide a sustainable source of browse for feeding its animals including African elephants and giraffes.

Noah’s Ark is expanding with a new leader at the helm, Larry Bush.

The son of the owners, Anthony and Christina, Larry brings experience from a 25 year career in international business and most recently as a director of fair trade organization, Traidcraft.

He returned to the west country to become the new managing director in September 2019 and has plans for growing the zoo in the future.

Larry said: “We’re delighted that so many people already love coming to Noah’s Ark as visitors, members, schools and volunteers.

"Our plan is to extend our welcome so that even more people can enjoy getting up close to our amazing animals and experiencing the fresh air, countryside and adventurous play that we offer.

"Part of our plan to be more accessible is to be open seven days a week from April through until the autumn school half-term.”

Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm will be opening seven days a week from Sundays, April 5-November 1, that is an extra 31 days during 2020.

OUTDOORS: Getting out in nature is known to be good for our physical and emotional health but reports are showing that children are not getting out and about enough. A National Trust reports says children spend so little time outdoors that they are unfamiliar with some of our commonest wild creatures, and only 36 per cent of children under the age of 16 have visited the countryside. Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm is inviting people to blow away the cobwebs in the new year, by walking around the 100-acre zoo set in North Somerset countryside and seeing elephants, lions, tigers, bears and meerkats along with British farm animals and native wildlife. And to make it even more incredible their popular Children Go Free promotion is back in 2020. With the arrival of two little ones, a baby zebra and giraffe, it seems only fitting that there should be more little people at the zoo too. For the first six weeks of the year, starting on Thursday, Januray 2, all Children Go Free with a paying adult. With nearly 2000 people using the code in January and February 2019, the zoo is hoping the offer will be just as well received this year.  Noah’s Ark runs Big Bug Bonanza and BioBlitz events, aiming to get children involved in wildlife, the zoo hosts many educational events to encourage children and their families to get back to nature. Bring all your family to the zoo and enjoy an amazing fun family day out. Use the voucher code ‘FREECHILD’ when purchasing an adult ticket for a free child ticket. Click HERE to buy online tickets.

Onboard Noah's Ark in 2019

2019 has been a fantastic year for the zoo in Wraxall.

This year has marked the 20th anniversary of Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm and has proved to be a remarkable year with new animal arrivals, new developments and record-breaking visitor numbers.

It also marks the start of a new era for the family enterprise.

Lots of animals have joined the zoo this year including a giant anteater, two new Andean bears, a baby giraffe, Gilbert and a newly born zebra. 

 The zoo has physically expanded with two new buildings, an enclosure and an extension to the food barn.

The Buttery, so called because of the link to the farms’ dairy history, holds an extra 80 customers.

A new bird of prey enclosure has been built to house the new 11 bird team that arrived in April.

Opening on summer Sundays for the first time has been a hit with visitors and this along with the new animals and some popular events has helped attract well more than 200,000 visitors this year.

Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm won eight industry awards throughout the year, including a Fairtrade Award for the café, a BIAZA services to education Award and three Bristol, Bath and Somerset Tourism Awards for large visitor attraction, accessibility and Inclusivity and ethical, responsible and sustainable tourism.  

 Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm was founded by Anthony and Christina Bush in 1999 after being dairy farmers for 40 years on the farm which has now become the largest zoo in the south-west.

2019 marked the start of a new era with their son, Larry Bush taking the helm at the zoo as managing director after a 30-year career in business and as a charity director.

Larry said: “We’re delighted with the success we’ve seen in 2019 and everyone is now excited about 2020 as we begin an exciting new era for Noah’s Ark.

"In 2019, we opened Sundays for summertime from May 26-September 1.

"And in 2020, we will be open for even more Sundays from April 5-November 1."

'ARK THE HERALD: Noah's Ark zoo farm Christmas programme is with all the other festive details HERE.

STRIPEY SANTA BABY: Nola the zebra gave birth to a beautiful baby boy on Friday, November 29, and both baby and mum are doing well. In keeping with the Christmas theme, the monochrome youngster has been fondly nick-named Sprout by the keepers. Nola, aged five, is a very protective mother and will keep very close to her baby allowing them to form a close bond. New-born foals are born with their stripes, although they are brown and white.  The stripes will turn to black as the young zebra gets older. He will live in the zebra enclosure and joins his father, Zebedee, Polly and her daughter, Zenah who was born in September 2018.  He has already met the neighbours, giraffes, and will surely be a great companion for Noah’s Ark’s youngest giraffe, three-month old Gilbert. Senior keeper Emma Ogbourne said “We are really happy to see Zebedee’s second born running around. The herd is getting along well, mum,Nola is doing well, and we’re excited to see if he and Gilbert become fast friends.”​

Three times a winner

Noah’s Ark the zoo farm  near Nailsea has won three exciting tourism awards for:

  • Large visitor attraction; 

  • Access and inclusive; and

  • Ethical, responsible and sustainable tourism. 

The best of Bristol, Bath and Somerset tourist attractions were represented at the awards evening of Thursday, November 21, the Marriott Hotel, Bristol.

A five-strong team from Noah’s Ark attended and were presented with three silver awards.

This award ceremony was highly anticipated following the announcement of the finalists last month.

And it follows success winning the Best For Little Kids In South West title in the 2019 out and about section of the Kids Family Favourites awards.

This is the first time Noah’s Ark has been recognised for efforts in access and inclusivity with the introduction in 2018 of the Ark For All initiative.

The Ark For All project first stage saw the installation of a changing places toilet, accessible play equipment and signage.

Noah’s Ark is devoted to passing on a passion for sustainability and teaching the next generation about the importance of protecting and conserving the natural world.

The zoo holds regular conservation events and has a free nature trail.

These events encourage children and their families to engage in the world around them and learn to protect it.

The whole team are delighted by the triple award success, ending the zoo’s 20th anniversary year on a high and motivating the team to continue to develop and improve into 2020.

Pumpkin patch farmers

Noah's Ark zoo farm staff have carved pumkins grown in elephant dung to make harvest festival decorations!

Last year, during its Pumpkin Fest, the African elephants ate lots of pumpkins, squash and other vegetables.  The seeds from these vegetables pass right through their digestive system, until they end up in the Elephant's poo!

Fast forward a year, and you can find Noah’s Ark decorated with more than 100 huge pumpkins.

These very pumpkins have been foraged for in a huge pile of elephant dung.

Elephants can poo up to 150kg per day.

This vast amount of waste is collected and forms a large compost pile that is used as fertiliser for our crops.

During the course of the past year, the fertile elephant dung gave the seeds all the nutrients they needed to grow into these fantastic pumpkins and squashes!

Last week, three members of staff got stuck in and pulled 100 squash plants out of the dung, ready for them to be cleaned and for our Park Rangers to decorate the zoo with them.

According to a new study, this method of seed dispersal may be the answer to re growing the rainforests.

With Brazilian Tapirs, munching on plants in the rainforests and then depositing little poo packets full of seeds around for regrowth, some believe this is a good start for fixing the damage to rainforests.

More than 100 vegetables were grown on the Elephant Dung Pile at Noah's Ark this year.

Come and see our Elephant Poo Pumpkin Patch throughout Pumpkin Fest until Saturday, November 2.

A baby boy is born at zoo

He is a bit wobbly on his legs but that is because he is only a few days old.

Keepers, staff and visitors at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm are celebrating the exciting arrival of a baby giraffe born at the zoo.

After coming up with four amazing names, the keepers wanted to open up the naming process to their visitors, so they asked their Facebook followers and the ‘little’ golden boy has been named Gilbert.

Gilbert was born on Monday afternoon, September 23, under close observation by the keepers in the privacy of the Giraffe House.

Mum Genny, aged 11, an experienced mother had a successful pregnancy, with first time father Kito, overlooking the birth.

Giraffes are a protected species, classified as ‘Vulnerable’ by the IUCN Red List, under more threat than many people realise.

Wild populations are suffering from a continuing decline, with 111,500 remaining.

Since 1985, the total giraffe population has fallen by 30 per cent.
Five-year-old, Kito arrived at Noah’s Ark in 2018, from Dudley Zoo, where he has become a firm favourite with staff and visitors because of his silly ways and charm.

Dudley Zoo have had a baby of their own recently.

A little baby girl, who happens to be the auntie to Gilbert.

Kito’s new half sister was born the day before Gilbert and is currently enjoying her new surroundings with her mum Josie and Kito’s dad, Kubwa.
So far, baby Gilbert is happy spending his days getting used to his new enclosure, his keepers and neighbours.

He is currently content with running around, spending time with mum and dad and sleeping in a bundle of hay.

The public can visit Gilbert in the Giraffe house at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm and find out more about him from the experienced keepers at the daily Giraffe Talk. 

Eating pumpkin elephant style

In preparation for Pumpkin Fest, Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm gave their elephants a smashing treat.

The 14 stone and one metre tall, orange squash plant, was an exciting sight for Shaka, the African elephant, who was the first to approach the pumpkin.

After testing the weight with his trunk, he leaned on it with his foot before he cracked it, clean it half, with a stomp.

Zoo visitors Luke Downs grew the massive orange fruit over the summer in his Somerset garden.

He contacted the zoo to see if they could help make his dream come true of giving it to the elephants.

He was delighted when watching the bull elephant chomping down on the pumpkin.

Luke said: “This is actually quite a big deal for me and I’m very happy with how it has turned out.

"I’m hoping this could be a yearly occurrence for me and the elephants!”

After eating most of the pumpkin, Shaka sauntered off leaving a smaller amount for little cheeky M’Changa who came running over for a treat.

Watch the action on this Noah's Ark video.

Pride of Noah's Ark zoo farm

Two African lion cubs have hit their first milestone at Noah’s Ark on Tuesday, August 20.

Kojo and Tau are celebrating their first birthday at the Wraxall zoo farm.

The young lions are more active than adults and play behaviour is how they practice how to hunt.

The brothers like to stalk the keepers around the outside of the enclosure.

The cubs spend their days playing, eating and sleeping up to 18 hours a day.

Mum, Arusha is still quite protective of her cubs and keeps a watchful eye on them as they play.

Kojo is the more confident of the cubs and will often approach new things first and Tau hangs back to see if it's safe.

Tau is more likely to hide behind his family if he is unsure of anything.

For the first six months of their lives, the cubs lived in an enclosure with mum, while dad was kept separate for their safety.

When he was allowed back in, he wasn’t too sure about the two new arrivals.

Big cat keeper Emma Godsell said: “One of the funniest things I have seen from the cubs is when we were reintroducing Masai back to Arusha and to the two cubs. Masai started to approach Arusha slowly with his head lowered and making friendly noises and she started moving towards him in the same way so it was going perfectly.

"Then Kojo ran straight over to Masai and startled him,

"Masai turned and ran away back into the other field!

"During the next few days Masai was very wary of the cubs and it took him a while to realise that he could stand up to them, during this time the cubs had a lot of fun chasing their dad around.”

For now, the plan is to keep the family together at Noah’s Ark.

At the moment, there is no breeding programme for African lions.

Masai, aged 12 and Arusha, 11, who have been together for four years, were bred in order for them to have a more appropriate social grouping rather than just the pair of them as lions are such a social species.

Hopefully, the cubs will be able to stay with their mum and dad.

To facilitate this, the zoo are planning on giving the two cubs a contraceptive implant to prevent the surge of testosterone that would otherwise cause them to challenge their dad and cause him to push them out of the pride, which is what would naturally occur in the wild.

Arusha already has a contraceptive implant to prevent further breeding.

Cool for cats and all creatures great and small

As temperatures soar to up to 37 degrees across the UK today, we wanted to share some video content of some of the animals at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm  just outside Nailsea, cooling off in the heat.

From the elephants to the emus, the animals have been making the most of the on-site pools and other amenities to cope with today’s heatwave.

For those looking to keep cool, please find our animals top tips below, as demonstrated in the video:

  • Tip one: Drink water

  • Tip two: Take a cool bath

  • Tip three: Keep a water spray close by

  • Tip four: Keep your head cool 

  • Tip five: Go to your local outdoor pool for a swim

 

Spread across an incredible 100-acres and surrounded by lush farmland just outside Nailsea, Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm has transformed from a dairy farm to award-winning attraction over the past two decades.

It is now home to the big zoo animals.  
From the innovatively designed enclosures which are some of the largest in the UK, to the expansive open spaces and the varied collection of more than 100 animal species - including giraffes, a tiger, lions (including two cubs born in 2018), rhinos and a spectacled bear - size and quality is everything at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm.

It’s what comes from being family-owned and having conservation and sustainability at its heart.

Giant Anteater arrives at ark 

A giant anteater is the latest arrival at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm near Nailsea.

Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm has welcomed the insectivorous mammal to the Viva South America exhibit.

The four year old male, named Oliver, arrived at the zoo on Monday, July 1, from Drusillas Park in the South East.

Drusillas Zoo animal manager Mark Kenward said: “We are really sad to have said goodbye to Oliver, but we know he has gone to loving hands at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm.

"We have really enjoyed working with their brilliant team and they have gone out of their way to welcome Oliver and make him feel happy and at home.”

The giant anteater has joined a mixed species exhibit, Viva South America, alongside Brazilian tapirs, capybara and mara.

While giant anteaters are solitary mammals originating from central and South America and happy to live by themselves, the Viva enclosure allows species to have separate indoor and outdoor areas.

They primarily eat ants and is also known as an Ant Bear!

Giant anteaters are vulnerable to extinction with numbers decreasing in the wild.

Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm curator Chris Wilkinson said “We are delighted to welcome Oliver to Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm.

"It’s been great working with the expert keepers at Drusillas Park in the preparations for his arrival.

"He is an amazing addition to the zoo and I’m sure visitors and staff will be fascinated as they are incredible creatures."

"Giant anteaters are very unusual, and we will enjoy sharing his unique features with our visitors." 

"Giant Anteaters have no teeth, but eat with a 60cm long tongue, which they can flick in and out at up to 150 times per minute, consuming more than  30,000 ants a day."

Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm attracts more than 200,000 visitors every year.

It was begun in 1999 and its animals include lions, tiger, bears, giraffe, zebras, rhinos and gibbons.

As well as the longest hedge maze in Europe, visitors can enjoy huge indoor and outdoor adventure playgrounds.

For more details and to book online tickets click HERE.

Puppy love

Prairie Dog pups have been seen emerging from underground tunnels in their enclosure for the first time this summer at Noah's Ark zoo farm.

The exact number is not yet known but at least 13 have been spotted.

Prairie Dogs, native to the Americas, give birth underground.

Once the pups are approximately six weeks old, they emerge from their basement burrows.

Each female Prairie Dog gives birth to up to six pups, usually in April or May.

Prairie Dogs live in a complex networks of tunnels that they dig themselves.

Each tunnel usually has multiple openings and raised entrances to protect the 'town'; multiple groups of Prairie Dog families, from the elements and gives them extra height when on the lookout from predators.

They also have separate ‘rooms’ for sleeping, raising their babies, toileting and storing their food.

The babies have been delighting visitors and staff as they are very active and playful.  

PHOTO: Spectacled Bears Madidi and Rasu meet at their new home at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm, near Nailsea, as part of the European Endangered Species Breeding Programme (EEP). It looks like a match made in North Somerset! © Alistair Heap/PA Wire

Match making for bears

It’s love at first sight! Spectacled Bears Madidi (female) and Rasu (male) meet at their new home at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm Bristol. Part of the European Endangered Species Breeding Programme (EEP), the two bears bonded instantly, showing promising signs of their breeding potential.

The Spectacled Bear is native to South America, but the species is classed as vulnerable on IUCN Red List - the world's most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of biological species - meaning they are likely to become endangered unless the circumstances threatening survival and reproduction improve.

With latest estimates forecasting between 2,500-10,000 bears left in the wild, Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm is delighted to be welcoming the two bears and joining the worldwide effort to protect the future of the species.

The two bears have come to Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm, as part of the EEP, which coordinates the breeding of endangered species across European Zoos. An integrated initiative working across borders to increase levels of endangered species in captivity.

These cute bears are fondly referred to as Spectacled Bears (also known as Andean Bears) due to the white circles of fur that appear around their eyes.  

Two-year-old Madidi has come from Chester Zoo and arrived at her new home at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm last week, whereas Rasu arrived last month from Zurich Zoo.

Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm worked closely with Chester Zoo to create the ideal environment for the two bears to share and hopefully welcome their first bear cubs. It is one of the biggest Spectacled Bear enclosure in the UK. 

It is fair to say both bears are making the most of their generous enclosure. Since meeting her furry friend, Madidi has been exploring her new home, climbing up trees and surveying her new territory, as well as getting to know her new mate Rasu.

Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm curator Chris Wilkinson said: “We are delighted to receive such genetically important bears and be part of the global effort to protect the future of the species.

"Madidi is settling in well and the two bears have hit it off straight away, so we are looking forward to what may happen with their breeding potential.

"The process is all very natural, and it is promising that they are getting along so well this early on in the introduction process.

"We’re looking forward to the prospect of welcoming our own tiny Spectacled Bear cubs in the near future.”

BIRTHDAY PARTY: On Saturday, June 22, Noah's Ark is hosting a big birthday party to celebrate 20 years of business. Visitors are invited to come along to a fun packed day with face painting, outdoor games and have some cake. And if your name is Noah you get free entry! Commercial director Larry Bush said “We are very excited to hold a summer birthday party, to commemorate the past two decades, as well as some other great events. We are also celebrating by opening on Sundays throughout the summer this year, which we think is a great day for families to spend together. It’s been a big journey from cows to elephants and hopefully we will continue to grow in the future." As part of its celebration the zoo farm is hoping to create a picture timeline, starting from when it first opened as a farm centre, to now 20 years later as a zoo with elephants, giraffes, rhinos and lots of other big zoo animals. They are asking people to share their photo albums of visits to the zoo to make into a year-by-year 20th anniversary timeline display. Email your photos to danielle.vincent@noahsarkzoofarm.co.uk or

emily.burgin@noahsarkzoofarm.co.uk  alternatively post prints to Marketing Team, Noah's Ark Zoo Farm, Clevedon Road, Wraxall, Bristol, BS48 1PG. Don't forget to include your name and contact details plus the date the image was 'captured'. They promise to use as many as possible put it can't be guaranteed.

FATHER'S DAY TREAT: Bring your dad to Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm near Nailsea on this Father’s Day, Sunday, June 16. This year is the first year we will be celebrating Father’s Day on a Sunday as we are open for Summer Sundays! On June 16th we are welcoming all kinds of dads, by offering a FREE bacon bap before 11.30am – collect your voucher at the ticket office on entry. Our giraffes are also hoping to meet our visitors for a spot of brunch; visitors will be able to feed our giraffes for £2 per person. And don’t forget to look out around the zoo, for some of our dad’s including Masai and his Lion cubs Kojo and Tau!

BIG BIRD: Linford, the rhea, has a new home at Noah's Ark. The big bird who was found living at a golf course in Worcestershire. The bird had been ‘puttering’ around wild since October 2018 when he managed to grab the headlines with the local press as he made Evesham Golf Club his new home. Needing to relocate the bird as he became fully grown, the golf club came to the Wraxall zoo farm for help. Curator, Chris Wilkinson and his team of keepers went on a road trip to pick up the flightless bird who because of his speed, is nicknamed Linford, after sprinter Linford Christie. Since Linford has been at the Zoo Farm, it has been discovered that Linford is actually a female and is now called Lynn; she has now been paired with Willow, a male rhea who already lives at Noah’s Ark. She is now comfortably in an enclosure alongside Willow and two Alpaca, Zara and Annalie.

Giant Easter egg hunt at zoo

Join Noah's Ark this Easter holiday up until Saturday, April 17, for an animal themed giant Easter egg hunt.

Park rangers have hidden more than 50 eggs around the zoo, so go see if you and your little ones, can find the six special animal print eggs and even the three golden eggs.

Once you have completed the trail you will receive a free chocolate egg and booklet about the story of Easter, from the Meaningful Chocolate Company.

Each week, the zoo farm will be giving away some great prizes, including its new Spring Animal Adoptions and one lucky visitor will receive a Keeper Experience.

Why not try our egg decorating, with all proceeds going towards our chosen charity, World Land Trust.

The eagle has landed

Olympic legend Eddie the Eagle swoop in to launch Wings of Wonder, the new birds of prey enclosure and display show at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm on Saturday, April 6.

The newly created and devised flying show was exceptionally well-received by visitors of all ages.

The display, which was curated and performed by expert Falconer Nathalie Denolf, treated spectators to an all-action flight show of impressive birds of prey including eagles, hawks, falcons and owls. 

An enthralled audience were delighted as these powerful birds soared and swooped just over their heads often diving from great heights to chase the lure.

Eddie the Eagle cut the ribbon opening the new, improved and substantially enlarged facility which will home the existing collection, plus the new additions from Nathalie’s own flock, bringing the total to 15 winged wonders at Noah’s Ark near Nailsea.

Alongside the new enclosure, the display will be a huge attraction for the zoo with twice daily shows, this new show will feature indoor and outdoor flying displays from some amazing feathered friends including Mr Harry, a majestic golden Eagle hybrid.

The Wings of Wonder enclosure which features a contemplative garden and seating area to observe the birds was the vision of curator Chris Wilkinson. 

The Wings of Wonder bird of prey will fly twice a day in our new timetable of daily events and keeper talks.

Noah’s Ark is open Monday-Saturday 10:30am -5pm.

It is closed on Sundays, until this summer when it is open on Sundays from May 26-September 1.

PHOTOS: Phil Lightwood-Jones

NEVER ON A SUNDAY: Noah's Ark is opening this summer on Sundays - from Sunday, May 26. In an online questionaire eight months ago it said 'closed on Sunday as its a Christian organisation' but someone has had a change of heart...pictured is Eddie, Nathalie and Mr-Harry

Eddie the Eagle at Noah's Ark

This Easter prepared to be wowed by Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm new Wings Of Wonder flying display and a brand new specially designed birds of prey enclosure.

Launching on Saturday, April 6, with Eddie the Eagle swooping in to mark the occasion, the new display will feature indoor and outdoor flying displays from some amazing feathered friends including Mr Harry, a majestic Golden Eagle.

Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm will add the brand new bird of prey enclosure to its existing animal collection, which will home more than 15 winged wonders including eagles, falcons, hawks and owls.

A selection of these stunning birds will star in the new Wings Of Wonders birds of prey display, where visitors will be wowed by spectacular birds of flight. With two free shows daily, each flying display will show off the birds amazing natural abilities. With the eagles displaying the dizzy heights they can reach in an instant, whilst the falcons incredible speed and agility chasing ability will be on show.

Expect up close encounters, as wondrous birds fly overhead.  

Headed up by specialist falconer, Nathalie Denolf who recently joined the zoo from Belgium.

She brings extensive feathered knowledge along with a number of beautiful birds, which combined with the zoo’s existing collection, creates the impressive display of birds in flight.

Special guest, Eddie the Eagle, will take part in the display during the launch on Saturday.

Eddie is most famous for his 70m and 90m ski jumping at the 1988 Olympics in Calgary. Whilst Eddie came 58th, he personified the Olympic spirit for his determination to represent his country without any form of funding.

His British record remains unchallenged.

The self-titled film based on his life, came out in 2016 with Taron Egerton as Eddie and Hugh Jackman as his trainer.

To witness, this unique spectacle visit on Saturday at 12.30pm for the opening ceremony, followed by the launch of the new birds of prey display on the flying field at 2.30pm.

Following launch, the birds of prey enclosure will be open daily and the Wings of Wonder display will happen twice daily except Sundays.

Please check website for seasonal prices.

Onlinke tickets from £18, children (aged two plus) from £13.50 and family passes from £42.75.

Concessions available, and children under two and essential carers free.

Open Monday-Saturday 10.30am -5pm.

It is closed on Sundays, until summer when it is open on Sundays from May 26-September 1.

FAIR FOOD: Noah’s Ark zoo farm café has received a silver award in the Best South West Fair Trade Café/Restaurant catagory at the South West Fairtrade Business Awards. The Food Barn was awarded for its commitment to Fairtrade products across all catering outlets at Noah’s Ark. Since 2016, Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm has stocked solely Fairtrade hot drinks and serves 200,000 hot drinks a year. This is the first time, the zoo farm has been involved in the awards hosted by Nick Hewer. Bristol is a Fairtrade city and Noah’s Ark near Nails is proud to be supporting the Fairtrade Network.

Woo At Zoo

Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm near Nailsea  is celebrating its love for the planet with the Woo At The Zoo event this half term.

From Thursday to Saturday, February 14-March 2, you can follow the heart trail around the zoo, to see all the amazing animal couples, including Arusha and Masai its lion couple and find out how they help with global conservation efforts and what you can do to help. 

Look out for the playful lion cubs, Kojo and Tau who are growing up really fast.

There will be a promise tree for people to make a promise to conservation as well as a competition to win a family day ticket, valid for a year.

If you get peckish, the café is open as usual, but for those who fancy something a bit special, why not book afternoon tea in the café from 2-4pm to enjoy delicious homemade sandwiches, cakes and scones with tea or coffee.

Please note afternoon tea must be pre-booked.

Tickets for day entry for Woo At The Zoo can also be pre booked online.

Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm is open Monday-Saturday 10:30am -5pm.

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SNOW LIONS: Animals at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm have made the most of their winter wonderland especially a few cheeky chaps who met the white stuff for the first time. The five month old African lion cubs, Kojo and Tau, experienced their first snow day this weekend. At first came trepidation, then came intrigue and finally the excitement of playing in the snow. The cubs were seen rolling and playing together, practicing their pouncing skills and even encouraged mum, Arusha, to come outside and join in the fun. Other animals seen enjoying the snow, were the Spectacled Bear brothers, Sonco and Tupa as well as the farm animals. Noah’s Ark attracts more than 200,000 visitors each year and is home to lions, tiger, bears, giraffe, zebras, rhinos and gibbons. As well as the longest hedge maze in Europe, visitors can enjoy huge indoor and outdoor adventure playgrounds. For more details click HERE.

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FOLLOW LINK: Click on image to learn more about Green Christmas at Noah's Ark near Nailsea

Name African Lion twins for Christmas

Twin boys have been born at Noah's Ark.

The new-born African lion cubs arrived this summer but have yet to be named.

Noah’s Ark zoo farm in the outskirts of Nailsea has only just discovered that their two boisterous cubs born on August 20th are both boys.

Up until now the zoo keepers have had no interaction with the cubs as they needed to give mum, Arusha, space to bond with the cubs in private.

However at 10 weeks old the two cubs needed their first set of vaccinations. 

It was also important that the vet could give the cubs an initial health check.

It was not an easy task to separate mum from the two cubs, however the experienced keepers enticed Arusha away with some food while they carefully checked the two cubs over.

The cubs were both weighed at 10.5kg and 12.75kg, and the vet listened to their heartbeats. 

She was also able to check the sexes of the two cubs and found out the zoo had two boys.

The next stage for the zoo is to name the two cubs but they would like your help. Parents Masai and Arusha, are both named after places in Africa and the zoo would like to stick with this African theme.

Apart from that the choice is yours.

Submit your favourite name suggestions on the Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm Facebook page and the winners will get the exciting opportunity to take part in a Big Cat Keeper Experience at the zoo.

Noah’s Ark lead section keeper Emma Godsell said “We are so excited to hear the public’s name suggestions for our two boys.

"It’s going to be a lot of fun watching the two cubs growing up together.

"They are already practising their hunting skills out on each other and on mum.”

Come and meet the Lion cubs this Christmas at Noah’s Ark and get involved in their Green Christmas celebrations.

Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm is open Monday-Saturday, 10.30am5pm.

Zoo dentist cures tapir toothache

Dentist Peter Kertesz stepped up when Toby the tapir cracked one of his upper canine teeth.

It takes a very special dentist to operate on a 200kg Tapir.

Dr Kertesz is an experienced human dentist but since founding Zoodent International in 1985, he has worked with apes, elephants, bears and many more. Dr Kertesz visited Noah’s Ark zoo farm in 2015 to perform an operation on a tiger with toothache.

So when Toby was suffering with toothache the zoo knew just who to call for help.

The 17 year old tapir has been at Noah’s Ark near Nailsea since 2007.

He and his partner Tara have successfully reared two babies over the years.

When Toby cracked his canine tooth after being checked over by the vet it was decided the best course of action was to extract the tooth to avoid causing the animal any further pain.

The vet feared that if untreated the injury could get infected and become a serious health issue.

As tapirs have such large canines the Dr Kertesz actually had to remove a small piece of upper jaw bone to extract the tooth.

Noah’s Ark tapir keeper Emma Godsell said “We are very happy at the success of the operation and that Toby is recovering well.

"It was a pleasure to work with Peter again.”

The surgery was carried out in the zoo’s new South America House on view to the public with keepers on hand to explain the procedure.

Tara and Toby have a strong bond having been together for more than 11 years.

During Toby’s operation, Tara stood patiently outside the door calling for her partner.

Although all surgeries are risky the experienced team had the tooth out in only and hour and 40 minutes and Toby recovered quickly.

Toby and Tara were seen running around their enclosure together later that afternoon, eating happily.

Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm is open Monday-Saturday 10.30am-5pm.

It's a girl

A baby Zebra has been born at Noah’s Ark, near Nailsea.

The new female foal arrived in the early hours of Wednesday, September 19 when the zoo was closed to visitors.

The zoo farm is asking the public to help with the naming of the baby born to parents Polly and Zebedee.

Polly and friend Nola have been living at Wraxall since September 2017. New born foals are born with their stripes, although they appear brown and white, and the young are able to stand on their own within 15 minutes of birth.

Noah’s Ark head African animal keeper Emma Green said “We are overjoyed at the arrival of the foal.

"She is certainly a character and loves to frolic around the field close to mum.

"Zebedee also seems very happy with this addition to his herd.”

 This is the second addition this year to the zoo’s Africa section.

Ostrich couple Octavia and Oscar recently hatched a large clutch of eggs who can now be seen running around their enclosure behind the zebras.

Go to Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm Facebook page to vote for your favourite name.

You have tghe choice of three names:

  • Ziva - meaning guiding light

  • Zahara - meaning radiance

  • Zenah - meaning princess.

World Lion Day carnival

The Lord Mayor of Bristol joins Noah’s Ark on Saturday, August 4, for the return of its African carnival.
To celebrate World Lion Day, a pride of African performers will be at the Wraxall zoo farm. 
And actress, Green Party activist and artist Cleo Lake who took the official city office this May will be attending with her family.
The carnival will feature acrobats, dancers, drummers and giant African animals.
The performance has been created by Unika Dance Events, a London-based bespoke dance company.
The festivities are to celebrate World Lion Day and fundraise for Safina Lion Conservation Trust. 
Noah’s Ark is home to two lions, Masai and Arusha, who will be the stars of the day. 
Visitors can learn about the lions and tigers in a special big cat keeper talk at 1.30pm. 
And visitor can pose with the giant carved animals for photos and join in the parades.
Noah’s Ark head carnivore keeper Emma Godsell said: “Lions in the wild are vulnerable to extinction and so it is important that we are able to raise awareness of their struggle and fundraise for their conservation.

"What better way to do this than with an exciting African Carnival that visitors can enjoy."
Noah’s Ark is open Monday-Saturday 10.30am-5pm.

Ark For All at Wraxall zoo farm

World paralympic champion Andy Lewis came to Noah's Ark this week to open the new Ark For All facilities.

Nestling next to Elephant Eden it consists of a specially constructed playground and neighbouring toilets.

The Wraxall zoo farm is one of the first large tourist attractions in the south west to build a changing places toilet and install accessible play equipment.
In partnership with Bristol’s Mobility Centre it also has on site free wheelchairs and mobility scooters for hire for a small fee.

The new loos have a hoist and changing bed and the play zone has a wheelchair accessible roundabout and basket swings.

Alongside are signs designed with help from the National Autistic Society Out of School Clubs which are dotted around the animal enclosures.

The signage includes illustrated sentences describing the animals.
Andy bought along all his medals to show people and volunteered to answer any questions about his disability caused by a collision with a lorry as a teenaged motorcyclist.

Andy was introduced by zoo farm owner Anthony Bush who talked about his own son-in-law, a prominent churchman, born with disablities due to the thalidomide drug.

New Holy Trinity Nailsea vicar James Packham conducted a dedication and led prayers.

Then everyone enjoyed a picnic in the sunshine with refreshments served by Noah's Ark in-house catering team.

Afterwards: "What an amazing day, thanks to all that came along to support such a fantastic place."

This latest development is part of a five year plan to become more accessible.

South American explorer to open new animal house

Explorer Jacki Hill-Murphy will be at Noah's Ark on Wednesday, July 18, at midday to officially open the Viva South America House.

The zoo farm at Wraxall near Nailsea is looking forward to welcoming the documentary maker and author who has spent the past few years exploring and filming some of the most inhospitable and remote places on earth.

Her first major expedition was in 1988 when she crossed Africa via the Sahara Desert and West Africa, she has since been to South America, Africa, India, the Caribbean, the Middle East and Russia and lived in Turkey and the United States recreating some of  the journeys of early women explorers.

Jacki has re-enacted the expedition of Isabel Godin, the sole survivor from a group of 42, trekking 4000-miles along the Amazon River.

Jacki said “I travel to gain a better understanding of the planet and the people who populate it and South America, more than anywhere else, has shown me the diversity, fragility and beauty of our world.”

Noah’s Ark has a great reputation for building purpose-made, state-of-the-art animal enclosures.

Back in 2013, the zoo built Elephant Eden, the largest elephant enclosure in the UK, which has now become the flagship facility for housing bull elephants for the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP).

More recently the zoo has won an award from BIAZA (the British and Irish association of Zoos and Aquariums) for its Giant Tortoise Terrain, built to house seven giant Aldabra tortoises.

 Now the zoo has turned its focus to its South American animals, building a 3000m2 enclosure complete with indoor and outdoor pools for its two lowland tapirs, five capybaras, two maras and four new agouti.

The inhabitants are currently delighted with their new living arrangements, which also includes a central heating system and distinct areas for each species to cohabit peacefully. 

The South American animals will live side by side.

The flushable indoor pools are used by the animals as toilets, encouraging their natural behaviour of going to the toilet in water.

The enclosure has a number of cameras installed to allow keepers to monitor their animals 24/7 without disturbing them. The zoo is also hoping to make the cameras into live webcams in the near future.

 Visitors are invited to join Noah’s Ark for the house opening and to listen to Jacki recall her courageous South American adventures.

 Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm is open Monday-Saturday 10.30am-5pm.

Tops for teaching out of classroom

Noah’s Ark zoo farm near Nailsea is once again awarded the Learning Outside The Classroom (LotC) quality badge.

This badge is reserved for educational establishments providing the highest quality learning opportunities in conjunction with the National Curriculum.

Noah’s Ark is proud to have been re-awarded the quality badge for its hands-on and interactive education programme.

Noah’s Ark opened its doors in 1999 as a small petting zoo inviting children to meet and learn about the various farm animals.

Now home to the big zoo animals including African elephants, lions, tigers and giraffes the zoo receives more than 20,000 school children on organised trips each year, from early years to degree level.

Education coordinator, Paula Takle said: “We’re thrilled to have been re-awarded the quality badge.

"It recognises the hard work and effort put in by the education team.

"Our aim is to get the next generation out of the classroom and engaged in the natural world around them. It’s so fulfilling to see the children inspired and asking questions about all of the animals.”

Education is a core part of the zoo from the signs displayed on the animal enclosures to the daily talks given by the animal keepers and the hands on animal workshops delivered to school groups.

The animal keeper talks are free to all visitors and offer up-close experiences with some amazing animals.

These include a morning meerkat feed, seeing the lions and tigers being fed during the Big Cat Talk and watching the African elephants show off their target training skills.

For more information on how your school can benefit from the education programme at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm contact their education team on 01275 852606.

The zoo farm is open Monday-Saturday 10.30am-5pm.

Wildlife conservation on our doorstep

 

Noah’s Ark zoo farm is teaming up with Somerset  businesses Secret World Wildlife Rescue, North Somerset Beekeepers and The Woodland Trust to raise awareness of declining wildlife species in the UK for the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) BioBlitz.

A BioBlitz is an event that engages participants with native wildlife species and encourages wildlife surveying and monitoring. 

It can take the form of a simple pond dipping session, bug safari or plant recording walk.

Noah’s Ark ’s BioBlitz is on Saturday and Monday, May 5 and 7 when it will run sessions throughout the day on pond dipping as well as bug and bird surveying.

The zoo will also be doing face painting and crafts to keep little ones entertained on the Saturday.

BIAZA chief executive officer Dr Kirsten Pullen said: “Zoos often act as reserves for native species, but not many of us know what we have right under our noses.

"Our BioBlitz campaign not only enables us to identify how many native species are making our zoos their homes, but it also allows us to assess the contribution zoos are making to our local wildlife.

“BioBlitz is not only a fun day out, but it is a great way to support your local BIAZA zoo or aquarium and to learn about our native wildlife.

"We hope people will get involved.”

One of the supporters Secret World Wildlife Rescue will be discussing how they rescue, rehabilitate and release British wildlife and inspire an understanding and love of wildlife in the countryside.

Another participant is North Somerset Beekeeper’s a charity and club that represents the interests of beekeepers in the area.

The zoo will also be welcoming The Woodland Trust which is the largest woodland conservation charities in the UK.

The charity will be offering visitors the chance to find out how they can help.

Deputy head keeper Mandy Patch who is organising proceedings will highlight the zoo’s ongoing contribution to conservation not just for exotic species but for North Somerset.

She said: "I feel that it is very important to look after our native wildlife on site and at home as they play an important part in our environment, and should be seen and regarded as equally important as the exotic species in our care.

"Each species of plant, invertebrate, bird, mammal, amphibian and reptile has its role in shaping our natural world and I feel that as a zoo we need to play our part in educating visitors about the native wildlife we have right on our doorstep.”

The zoo will also be hosting a social media competition ahead of the event.

From Tuesday to Monday, May 1-7, Facebook followers will be able identify species with declining numbers in the UK.

Followers will need to get seven consecutive correct answers to be entered into a chance to win a Barn Owl Meet & Greet.

And anyone who takes part in the BioBlitz surveying on May 5 will be entered into a prize draw to win a Giant Tortoise Encounter.

Somerset Safari

Just in time for International Giraffe Day and newcomer has arrived at Noah's Ark zoo farm.

It has been a tall order to find a mate for Genevieve so its a big welcome to new arrival Kito, a four-year-old from Dudley Zoo.

Giraffes are social animals and often live in herds.

However these herds have a loose social structure and individuals often leave and join other groups. Genevieve’s son Geoffrey, aged four, recently moved from Noah’s Ark to Van Blanckendaell Park in Holland. Kito arrived at Noah’s Ark on Wednesday, May 16 to join Genevieve on the zoo’s Africa section which they will share with ostriches, Grant’s zebra and Southern White Rhinoceros.

Giraffes are vulnerable to extinction due to large declines in some populations.

In the wild giraffes struggle to compete with the growth of human and livestock numbers who are in direct competition with grazing wildlife for space and vegetation.

Genevieve has been an ambassador for giraffe conservation helping the Noah's Ark team to raise more than £1,000 last year for Giraffe Conservation Foundation.

Noah’s Ark Africa section head keeper Emma said “We are so excited by the arrival of Kito and we hope that he and Genevieve will be a good match.

"We are looking forward to the prospect of expanding our herd.”

Noah's Ark zoo farm is celebrating International Giraffe Day which is on the longest day of the year!

So they are sticking their necks out and letting the giraffes, African elephant and giant tortoise stay out a bit later for this one.

To you are invited spend the evening at the Wraxall zoo on Thursday, June 21 and enjoy a VIP package including the following:

  • An exclusive evening African elephant talk with pre-dinner drinks

  • Giraffe enrichment making

  • Opportunity to meet and feed the giraffes

  • Meet and feed the Aldabran giant tortoise

  • A two course meal served in our café

The event will run from 5.30-9pm.

Donation to support the Giraffe Conservation Foundation will be collected throughout the evening.

Ticket £50 per adult and £40 per child, aged six to 16.

Essential carers tickets are £30 which includes the meals and experience. 

Email Sophie Brown at sophie.brown@noahsarkzoofarm.co.uk or go online by clicking HERE.

New arrival called Shaka

An African bull elephant called Shaka arrived at Noah’s Ark zoo farm near Nailsea this week.

The 26 year old joins two younger bulls housed on the 20 acre Elephant Eden.

Shaka comes from Tiergarten Schönbrunn in Vienna.

He will now live in the state-of-the-art elephant house with its deep sand beds, hot showers, built-in training walls and 24 hour CCTV monitoring.

The transfer of Shaka has been organised by the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP) for African Elephants as part of an initiative to form the UK’s first African Elephant bachelor group.

African Elephants are vulnerable to extinction and as a result breeding within zoos is carefully coordinated.

Vienna Zoo vice director Dr Harald Schwammer said: "Shaka is a calm and playful elephant who loves his food.

"We are very happy to be working with Noah’s Ark again which has one of the biggest elephant facilities available in the EEP.”

Shaka is joining two young bulls, nine-year-old M’Changa and 12-year-old Janu.

Male elephants will naturally group together with other solitary males to form bachelor groups.

These bachelor groupings are important for young bulls to learn social skills and new behaviours from the older males. Noah’s Ark is hoping that Shaka will act as a dominant bull for M’Changa and Janu to learn from.

Noah’s Ark head elephant keeper Sandra de Rek said: “We are so proud to house the African elephant bachelor group for the EEP.

"It will be great for the public to witness the natural and playful behaviour of a bachelor group of elephants.”

Shaka will spend some time in a separate part of the enclosure from the other elephants to allow him to settle into his surroundings.

After this, experienced keepers will start the slow introduction process of the elephants, starting with just seeing and smelling each other.

Visitors to Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm will be able to see M’Changa and Janu as usual.

Viewing of Shaka will be limited during the first few days to give him time to settle into his new home in peace.

OFFER EXTENDED: To mark his Life Begins At 80 birthday zoo boss Anthony Bush invited anyone aged 80 or over to visit Noah’s Ark on Monday, April 9 and as more than 50 octogenarians+ took advantage of the offer it has been extend to every Tuesday and Wednesday until May 25.

Here's looking at you babe!​

Zookeepers at Noah's Ark near Nailsea have got their first glimpse of some baby Wallabies.

It’s the start of spring and the zoo animals have a couple of surprises for visitors.

Springtime typically brings a welcome shift towards warmer weather, colourful flowers and of course a couple of April showers.

2018 hasn’t quite followed suit with snow storms battering the UK and bringing the country to a standstill.

The one thing we can still rely on this spring is baby animals.

A particularly exciting announcement at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm has come from the troupe of Bennet Wallabies.

The zoo has a troupe of four females and an unrelated male.

Last year Wendy the Wallaby gave birth to a healthy happy girl, later named Brenda.

This year the keepers have seen tiny pink heads poking out from all four of the female Wallabies’ pouches.

Among them the keepers were particularly delighted to see a head appear from Brenda’s pouch making Wendy a grandmother!

Senior primates and small mammals keeper Clare Roberts said “We are excited to see the troupe expanding and we look forward to watching the four joeys grow up and play together.”

Joeys can spend up to a year in their mother’s pouch.

As they grow they will venture out for short periods of time before heading back to the safety of mum.

Keepers estimate the young Joeys to be approximately half way through their pouch life.

On your next visit to Noah’s Ark be sure to stop by Wallaby Hill to try and spot one of these hidden gems.

Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm is open Monday-Saturday 10.30am-5pm.

Do you know the difference between a wallaby and a kangaroo?

Well as a rule, the kangaroo is much larger than the wallaby.

The kangaroo has more height between its ankles and knees, which makes its legs seem out of proportion to its body.

The kangaroo's legs are built for speed on open terrain.

The wallaby's more compact legs are built for agility in forested areas.

Although there are many different species of both wallabies and kangaroos that span a wide range of sizes, wallabies only tend to weigh between four pounds and 53 pounds (2 kg to 24 kg) and grow a mere 12 inches to 24 inches (30 cm to 104 cm) tall, not including their tails. Kangaroos, on the other hand, can grow to heights of 8 feet (2.1 meters) and weigh as much as 200 pounds (91 kg).

Another simple way to tell a wallaby and a kangaroo apart is by their coloring.

A wallaby's coat is usually brighter with two to three different colors.

For example, the unfortunately-named 'red-necked' wallaby's grayish body is distinguished by reddish markings around its shoulders.

The kangaroo's coat is usually less splashy and more uniform, with muted colors like brown or gray.

For a more scientific way to tell the two animals apart, you'll have to get these guys to open their mouths and say 'Aaaah' as they have different teeth!

The wallaby lives in bushy forest areas where it dines on mostly leaves. Because the wallaby has to crush and grind up leaves in its mouth, it needs flat teeth.

The kangaroo, it doesn't do much cutting, so its crowns are less pronounced.

However, the wallaby does retain a single cutting tooth on the top of its mouth for any occasional cutting needs. It also keeps its premolars; the kangaroo sheds its premolars.

The kangaroo, which lives in more open treeless areas, chomps on mostly grasses. Because the kangaroo has to slice up stalks of grass in its mouth, it needs teeth that can accomplish the task.

The kangaroo's teeth are curved with cross-cutting ridges for cutting and shearing grass. Its molars have higher crowns than wallaby teeth.

Eggsciting Easter hunt 

This Easter holiday head to the ark to enjoy an Easter Egg Hunt like no other.

From Saturday to Saturday, March 24-April 14, children can get involved and paint an egg in the morning.

In the afternoon the eggs will get hidden around the zoo for children to find in our Easter Egg Hunt.

During the  Easter weekend, Friday to Monday, March-April 2,  Meerkats will  be taking part the egg hunt tradition.

Join the Easter Egg workshops to paint and decorate eggs for the Meerkats.

And in the afternoon the decorated eggs will be placed in the Meerkat enclosure for the Meerkats to find!

Egg painting is charged at £1 per wooden egg or £3 to decorate an egg for the Meerkats.

What’s more visitors can take part in Giant Egg Rolling down Rhino Hill for free.

To book online click HERE.

Eco-friendly zoo farm wins gold, silver and green tourism awards

Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm has been awarded silver at the South West Tourism Awards.

The best of the South West was represented at a ceremony at the Riviera International Centre, Torquay.

Noah’s Ark was proud to take away a silver award for their efforts in Sustainable Tourism.

Anthony Bush, the owner of the zoo said “We are so pleased to accept this award.

"It’s great to see our sustainable efforts being realised.

"We plan to continue to build on this success and improve our sustainable practises even more in 2018.”

This award followed on from their success of winning a gold award for sustainability in the Bristol, Bath and Somerset tourism awards.

The zoo also holds gold in the Green Tourism business scheme.

Sustainability is important in every aspect of the day-to-day at Noah’s Ark.

One third of the energy at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm comes from renewable resources, using a wind turbine, biomass boilers and solar panels.

The zoo also produces a large quantity of food for their animals on site. Noah’s Ark even helps out local businesses by recycling their waste products such as old carpet tubes and coffee sacks and leftover Christmas trees.

The latest sustainable initiative at Noah’s Ark saw the introduction of compostable packaging including compostable coffee cups, lids, takeaway boxes and straws.

The zoo is doing its bit to ensure none of its waste ends up in landfill.

Noah’s Ark is hugely devoted to passing on their passion for sustainability and teaching the next generation about the importance of protecting and conserving the natural world.

The zoo holds regular conservation events and also has a free nature trail around the zoo.

These events encourage children and their families to engage in the world around them and learn to protect it.

Noah’s Ark is hosting BIAZA’s BioBlitz on Saturday, May 5, which encourages families to get hands on and learn about the native wildlife in the UK.

PHOTOS: Katie Grant

Boy elephants get own gang

Noah’s Ark is launching a new initiative to form the UK’s only African elephant bachelor group and looks forward to playing a much-needed role supporting the European Endangered Species Programme.

Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm at Wraxall is currently home to two young African bull elephants, nine-year-old M’Changa and 12-year-old Janu and has plans to become home to more African bull elephants.

The North Somerset zoo near Nailsea which has the largest elephant enclosure in the UK is gearing up to form a bachelor group – an initiative which has been welcomed by the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP) for African elephants.

EPP breeding programme coordinator Arne Lawrenz said “We are grateful to Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm for their decision to become the premiere African elephant bachelor facility in Europe.

"This is a significant development for the European breeding programme and will play a key supporting role for all other elephant facilities in the EEP across the continent.” 

The EEP’s international breeding programme supports conservation through breeding species, including African elephants, which are at risk of extinction in the wild.

By building up and maintaining genetically healthy populations, zoos who are members of the EEP are providing back-up for endangered species.

But this is not as straightforward as simply keeping breeding pairs of animals – it calls for providing for the needs of the animals at different stages of life.

Male elephants will leave their family herd once they reach adolescence.

The males will then group together with other solitary males to form bachelor groups.

These bachelor groupings are important for young bulls to learn social skills and new behaviours from the older males.

There will typically be one large dominant bull who will guide the younger bulls and sort out any disputes amongst the group.

Once they reach sexual maturity large bulls will visit female herds to mate before leaving again.

To mimic these natural behaviours, breeding herds of elephants in zoos will have just one breeding male along with several breeding females.

This means that there may be a surplus of males within the wider zoo population.

Bachelor groups are therefore needed to provide homes for these surplus males with the aim for them to one day be transferred out to a breeding facility to become breeding bulls themselves and to contribute to the breeding programme.

Noah’s Ark owner and chief executive Anthony Bush said: “Our facility, Elephant Eden includes 20 acres of grazing land and a state-of-the-art elephant house with deep sand beds, hot showers, built-in training walls and 24 hour CCTV monitoring.

"We designed our facilities to be best-in-class for elephant care, using the most advanced protective contact approach to animal care.

"While we originally expected to be a breeding facility it’s become clear that we can best support the wider breeding programme by offering Elephant Eden as a top-class facility for bull elephants.

"We’re delighted to be able to do this and look forward to growing our bachelor group.”

African elephants are the largest land mammals on earth and therefore expanding an established group is no easy task.

But Noah’s Ark is confident that their experienced elephant keeper team along with help from leading elephant specialist Alan Roocroft, can successfully introduce a new male to the group.
Noah’s Ark head elephant keeper Sandra de Rek said “We are excited at the prospect of introducing a new, much larger male to our bachelor group.

"This new male could act as a mentor figure for Janu and M’Changa to learn from.

"We have a fantastic facility here and we look forward to making it the home of a social bachelor group.”

Bull elephants are typically active and playful when living in bachelor groups.

They are extremely interesting to watch and offer great opportunities for observational behavioural research.

In the wild African Elephants are Vulnerable to Extinction according to the IUCN red list.

They are threatened by poaching for ivory and meat and habitat loss by continuing human population expansion.

Data released on UN world wildlife day shows that population numbers are still falling as each year more African Elephants are being killed than being born.

Love birds will be going in two by two for the Valentine Date Night at Noah's Ark zoo farm near Nailsea on Wednesday, February 14.

For animal lovers looking for something slightly different this Valentine’s Day, the zoo will be open late, for an adults only evening, so you can find out what its zoo couples get up to after hours.

Visitors will get starry-eyed with the following package:

  • 15 minute group feedings with giraffes, meerkats and tapirs as well as a feeding inside the Giant Tortoise House; and

  • Talks about mating couples including lions, animals from the Africa section, primates and vultures.

And it is all followed by a two course meal with a main course to chose from chicken dish, beef or vegetarian lasagne and delicious dessert.

Afterwards there is the opportunity to spread a little more love for The World Land Trust charity by taking part in our Valentine’s Raffle.

And from Saturday to Saturday, February 10-24 join the love trail and find our giant animal print love hearts.

The Valentine Date Night is 4-8.30pm.

Book onlline by clicking HERE at £69 per couple.

No plastic cups at zoo café

 

A café at Noah's Ark zoo farm near Nailsea is dumping plastic coffee cups for eco-friendly alternatives.

Noah’s Ark at Wraxall is taking its sustainable initiatives to the next level.

Each minute in the UK approximately 500 used coffee cups are thrown away, totaling waste of 2.5bn cups each year.

Even when these cups are recycled the UK has very few facilities that can split the paper and plastic components which line the cardboard cups.

This results in less than one in 400 coffee cups actually being recycled.

Noah’s Ark Zoo currently holds gold in the Green Tourism business scheme and has won gold award for its sustainable efforts in the Bristol, Bath and Somerset Tourism awards.

The zoo is now going even further in its green initiatives by taking steps to make sure none of its food packaging goes to landfill.

Noah’s Ark catering manager Chris Brookes, pictured top, said “It is my job to encourage and implement effective disposal of any by-product produced from the Food Barn Café and our other food outlets on the site.

"We therefore are very careful in what we use to package our homemade food and drink items in.

"We have taken steps to go that extra mile and only use compostable packaging to ensure that we do not send anything to landfill.”

Noah’s Ark’s will now be using products from the sustainable Eden Ware range.

The takeaway food containers are made from Bagasse, a recycled sugarcane fibre, an eco-alternative to polystyrene with 99 per cent less carbon.

The completely compostable coffee cups are made from sustainably sourced board and lined with plant-based Polylactic Acid (PLA).

PLA is derived from renewable resources like cornstarch or sugar cane and it is therefore biodegradable.

The cups have a low carbon footprint thanks to starting life as carbon-absorbing plants and any ink printed on the cups is made from soya based ink.

Even the lids are made from corn stalks, allowing the whole cup to be composted.

Single-use plastic straws are particularly bad for the environment, used once for about 20 minutes and then discarded to landfill.

Plastic straws take hundreds of years to break down and are ending up in the ocean by their thousand.

Not only that, but plastic straws often contain BPA a chemical that can seep into food or beverages and is associated with health risks including breast cancer, early puberty and infertility.

Noah’s Ark is making the move away from plastic straws and introducing a paper-based straw that is fully compostable.

Although the materials of these new products are compostable, they must be disposed of in a special way to aid the composting process.

Noah’s Ark will ensure these waste products are disposed of via commercial composting facilities with ideal composting conditions.

This allows the waste to fully biodegrade in only 120 days!

For more information on Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm’s sustainable practices click HERE.

World’s biggest birds born on Nailsea farm

Four ostrich chicks have successfully hatched at Noah’s Ark zoo farm near Nailsea.

Known by for its impressive running speed and giant eggs, Ostriches are one of nature’s iconic creatures.

Noah’s Ark zoo farm at Wraxall is celebrating the successful natural hatching of the ostrich chicks who live within the spacious African section of the 100 acre park.

Standing more than two metres tall, African ostriches are known for their strong territoriality and wild male mating display, along with common misconceptions like avoiding threatening situations by ‘burying their head in the sand’.

Ostriches have been living at Noah’s Ark for a decade, but successful rearing of young is not common in captivity.

Keepers were delighted to discover a brood of the large eggs in the field of the zoo’s ostrich pair Oscar and Octavia in June.

Monitoring the condition of the eggs in-situ rather than relocating them to an incubator and hand-rearing them, after a 35 day incubation period four fluffy chicks hatched naturally outside at the beginning of  August.

The largest land bird laying the largest eggs, ostriches are also the fastest ground-running birds alive today – reaching speeds in excess of 40mph.

Found across continental Africa, the Common Ostrich has a wide range and usually lives in small to medium sized flocks.

Unknown to most, the Common Ostrich is actually one of two species, the other being the Somali Ostrich which has distinctively different colourations in breeding males and is found in southern Ethiopia, north eastern Kenya and Somalia.

Summer visitors have been delighted to watch the ostrich family interacting together at Noah’s Ark, with the new hatchlings growing fast and seen chasing after their protective parents and exploring the world around them.

Home to elephants, big cats, rhinos and bears, Noah’s Ark is no stranger to exotic animals – the park has seen the successful breeding of four endangered Siamang gibbons and two giraffes in the past four years.

More information on the park can be found at www.noahsarkzoofarm.co.uk

Noah’s Ark is open Monday-Saturday 10.30am – 5pm.

Bear joins fire brigade

Bristol Airport fire department has been working with Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm, to set up a recycling project with a difference by donating old and unwanted lengths of fire hose.

In time, firefighting hose can become damaged and worn and is then no longer suitable for its intended use. 

Rather than destroying old hoses, the fire department donate them to good causes where alternative uses can be found.  

For example, local zoos and animal sanctuaries can use the redundant kit to create interesting surroundings for animals.

This year, hundreds of metres of soft collapsible fire hose and metres of hard fixed hose have been donated to Noah’s Ark Zoo where it will be used to create various toys and hammocks for use in the bear, giraffe, rhino and primate enclosures.

Bristol Airport fire department spokesman Matthew Kilyon said: "We are delighted to support Noah’s Ark by contributing the old, unwanted and damaged lengths of fire hose.  

"It is great to see kit that has served us well continue to be put to such good use.”

Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm is an award-winning animal park and education centre based locally in Wraxall, North Somerset.

The zoo is home to a variety of animals including species of international conservation importance and contributes to European breeding and research programmes.

Committed to sustainable business and using green technology through innovative development, Noah’s Ark holds a gold award for internationally recognised Green Tourism Business Scheme.

A  Noah’s Ark spokesman said: "We’re grateful to the Fire Department at Bristol Airport for their generous supply of hose – it is a useful material for our keepers to make a variety of climbing and swinging arrangements for our more active animals.

"Our endangered Siamang gibbons and Andean bears in particular get real enrichment from these in their enclosures, and the visitors can enjoy watching them using them.”

Sights and sounds of Africa near Nailsea

You have until Saturday, August 19, to catch the beats, dance and outdoor learning at Noah's Ark zoo farm African Carnival Week.

The seven days of festive fun ends this weekend at the Wraxall wildlife attraction.

Focusing the spotlight on a different African species each day, highlighting the need for conservation and introducing interesting animals facts to visitors African Carnival Week is proving a great success.

Knowledgeable keepers have been giving daily talks and demonstrations.

The event culminates with an educational lion presentation on Saturday.

Noah’s Ark is supporting a selection of conservation-focused animal charities during the week and showcasing a range of iconic African species including powerful elephants Janu and M’Changa and white rhinos Rumbull and Rumba.

Visitors purchasing online can enjoy discounted entry to the zoo.

Click HERE for more information.

Proving spots and stripes do go together

Gus the baby giraffe has made a new BFF called Zebedee the zebra.

The cute calf was born last month at Noah’s Ark zoo farm near Nailsea and has been pictured nuzzling up to neighbour Zebedee on his first advertures into the big outddors.

The birth of the baby giraffe was captured live online and when posted on social media attracted more than hits 60,000 making Gus a minor celebrity.

Gus’s late father Gerald was also an international star when the story of his quest for love led to some unusual male bonding namely with lonely bachelor Eddie the goat and the aforementioned Zebedee.

Giraffes are a protected species of conservation concern classified as ‘vulnerable’ by the IUCN.

Wild populations are suffering from a continuing decline and since 1985 the total giraffe population has fallen by 35 per cent.

Noah’s Ark is home to mum Gennry, newcomer Gus and his siblings George, four, and Geoffrey, two.

Noah's Ark is also home to a diverse range of animals including elephants, big cats, rhinos and bears.

More information on the park can be found at www.noahsarkzoofarm.co.uk

Noah’s Ark is open Monday-Saturday 10.30am-5pm.

A baby giraffe is born

Unfortunately dad Gerald died before his son Gus made an appearance at Noah's Ark zoo farm near Nailsea but the birth leave a lasting legacy to the decreased celebrity.

Internationally known and lonely for love Gerald made global news coverage of his unlikely bachelor friendship with Eddie the goat.

Gerald, aged 12, was one of the first ‘big zoo’ animals to arrive at Wraxal, joining Noah’s Ark in 2006.

He passed away in March this year, attracting more than 70,000 views on Facebook and interaction with visitors from all over the world sending memories and photos of the popular character.

Eight-year-old mum Genny had been carrying his unborn baby boy under close monitoring by the zoos dedicated keepers and gave birth during Thursday evening, May 11, to the calf in the quiet privacy of the parks spacious Giraffe House.

Giraffes are a protected species of conservation concern classified as ‘vulnerable’ by the IUCN, under more threat than many people realise.

Wild populations are suffering from a continuing decline, with 97,500 estimated in Africa in 2015.

Since 1985 the total giraffe population has fallen by 35 per cent.

The current family of three giraffes at Noah’s Ark has become fouragain; the new arrival now a sibling to brothers George, four, and Geoffrey, two. 

Africa section head keeper Emma Green was on hand during the birth.

She said: "“I’m really happy for Genny and her family, a real positive after the sad passing of dad Gerald earlier this spring and a lasting legacy for our special family.

"Gus in very cute and has taken his first shaky steps, we’ll monitor him and mum during the next few days.”

Home to a diverse range of animals including elephants, big cats, rhinos and bears, Noah’s Ark is no stranger to exotic births – the park has seen the successful breeding of four endangered Siamang gibbons in the past four years.

World Tapir Day

 

Visitors to Noah's Ark zoo farm helped mark World Tapir Day at the end of April.

The conservation of lowland tapirs has been supported by the wraxall wildlife haven for more than a decade.

World Tapir Day gave visitors the chance to take part in a range of fun activities and educational talks. 

Noah’s Ark is also celebrating a special milestone – 10 years since the first tapir arrived at the zoo.

The park has two adult tapirs, 15-year-old male Toby and female Tara, aged 17.

Visitors had the chance to learn about tapir ecology and behaviour from their keepers while watching the zoos adult tapir pair being fed at close quarters.

Lowland, or Brazilian tapirs are large, gentle mammals which live in sheltered forested areas.

With a diet comprised mostly of fruit and veg, the animals can eat up to 40kg in a day.

At risk of human-caused habitat loss and hunting for bushmeat, tapir conservation looks to educate local people are protect habitats.

Home to elephants, big cats, rhinos and bears, Noah’s Ark is no stranger to exotic animals – the park has seen the successful breeding o three endangered Siamang gibbons and two giraffes in the past four years.

Babies bask in Easter sunshine


Baby meerkats have been seen exploring the big wide world for the first time at Noah’s Ark zoo farm near Nailsea this week.
The tiny trio were born on February 10 and spent the first five weeks below ground in the security of a warm burrow, guarded instinctively by the protective adult males.
Following the removal of her contraceptive implant, this is the first litter of pups born to seven-year-old mum Mia since 2013. 
Meerkats, who live in a structured social grouping known as a mob or clan, have an 11 week gestation and give birth to altricial young which are born with their eyes shut and are helpless for the first few days. 
While the newborns are being watched by other members of the group, mum Mia is busy foraging for food for the little ones.
The Meerkat mob at Noah’s Ark is five adults, with one female and four males, and three as yet unsexed pups.
Home to a diverse range of animals including elephants, big cats, rhinos and bears, Noah’s Ark is no stranger to exotic births – the park has seen the successful breeding of four endangered Siamang gibbons and two giraffes in the past four years.
For more information on the park click HERE.
Noah’s Ark Is open Monday-Saturday 10.30am-5pm.

Girl or boy baby wallaby?

A curious baby wallaby has been spotted peering out at the world for the first time from the security of his mums pouch at Noah’s Ark zoo farm near Nailsea.

The seven-month-old joey is seemingly enjoying the warmer March weather and is proving a popular attraction for vistors.

With a gestation of only 30 days but spending much longer with mum after, the wallaby is unusual in the length of time the joey spends in pouch before becoming independent.

On average it can be nie months after birth until it will leave the security of its warm hideaway and stand on its own two feet in the outside world.

Born to parents Wendy and Winston, this is the first joey the pair have had at the zoo.

Mum and dad joined the park in 2009 and are part of a four strong group including their recent addition.

Visitors should be able to see the joey more frequently as the weather continues to get warmer and will soon see it bounding around the field with mum.

Keepers will be able to name the new arrival as soon he it emerges properly from pouch and they can determine the sex.

Home to elephants, big cats, rhinos and bears, Noah’s Ark is no stranger to exotic births – the park has seen the successful breeding of three endangered Siamang gibbons and two giraffes in the past four years.

Do you know the difference between kangaroos and wallabies?

Well they are are very similar marsupials that belong to the same family (Macropodidae) and genus (Macropus).

Their native territories often overlap, but wallabies are generally much, much smaller than kangaroos with a color pattern that is much more varied.

The lifespan of a kangaroo is much longer, and these larger animals take longer to grow, and become more independent than their relatives.
Noah’s Ark at Wraxall is open Monday-Saturday 10.30am-5pm.

For more information on the park click HERE.

Images courtesy of and distributed by Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm™

Elephant playtime in Garden of Eden

Two African elephants, 11-year-old Janu and eight-year-old M’Changa, were spotted by amused visitors enjoying a rough-and-tumble at Noah’s Ark zoo farm near Nailsea – bringing smiles to faces on an otherwise grey February day.

Janu, a boisterous bull elephant originally from Port Lympne Reserve in Kent and M’Changa, the energetic youngster from the Swedish Boras Zoo, were spotted doing what boys do best; letting off steam with a shoving match.

Clearly having fun the duo tussled with their trunks, wrapping them round each other.

The elephants live in the parks well-known Elephant Eden habitat, a ground-breaking facility opened in 2014 and the largest in the UK at 20 acres.

The latest zoo Inspection (2016-7) siad Noah’s Ark’s 'well considered facility, sets the benchmark for modern elephant housing in the United Kingdom'.

The images were captured by regular park visitor Bob Pitchford.

Noah’s Ark is open Monday-Saturday 10:.0am -5pm.

Come and see what is new at Noah's Ark

Take a walk in the park at Noah’s Ark zoo farm 

Special guided tours to view its most  famous animal couples are running until Saturday, February 25.

Free for visitors to join in with, the twice daily tours at noon and 2pm showcase white rhinos Rumba and Rumbull, African lions Masai and Arusha and Toby and Tara the tapirs amongst others, with a fun and informative commentary by the zoos presenters.

A perfect quirky first Valentine date, or as a family activity for children  and their parents, visitors will learn interesting facts about the species and funny anecdotes about the zoo couples temperaments and odd habits. Meeting the giraffe family, and a chance to feed the tapirs, will be highlights for some on the tour.

The 100 acre park has recently launched new food outlets for visitors, offering more choice for hot lunches and snacks across the zoo.

Based on public feedback requesting more queue-beating eating options, the new Food Barn, play barn café and improved outdoor kiosks will ensure mealtimes become a popular part of a visit to the zoo.

Visitors during February can make the most of a daily program of events including The Animal Show and popular elephant and big cat keeper talks, a chance to get closer to a range of interesting animals and learn about their biology and behaviour.

Tickets to the park can be purchased online for a discount or at the gate on arrival.

Noah's Ark nail it for giraffe

Every watched a giraffe getting his toenails clipped?

Okay not strictly toenails but if you click on the video top you can watch a pampered male giraffe at Noah’s Ark being given a pedicure.

Known from global news coverage of his unlikely bachelor friendship with Eddie the goat and his international quest for love Gerald’s doting keepers began the foot care routine to treat small cracks in his front hooves to prevent future problems from developing.

Using a special training technique based on the close bond with his keeper, Gerald was taught how to present his front feet on a pad for him and allow his keepers to work on his hooves.Free to wander off at any time, the routine relies on Gerald wanting to take part, giving him control over the activity and ensuring he’s relaxed at all times.

After just a month’s training Gerald now presents both feet on request, knowing the difference between his left and right.

Bears and coatis cohabit at Noah's Ark

A posse of  furry brown-nosed coatis have caused a stir moving in with the spectacled bears living at Noah’s Ark zoo farm at Wraxall near Nailsea.

Bear brothers Tupa and Sonco now have new playmates in their South American paradise, with seven bright-eyed coatis adding energy and a new sight to the Andean Adventure territory.

Rehomed within the park to create a special mixed exhibit, the three male and four female coatis have certainly got the attention of the bears, with the pair not being sure quite what to make of them yet.

On first look it was the bears that seemed to have new-friend nerves rather than the much smaller coatis, the brothers keeping their distance and not being as bold as their appearance would suggest.

The three year old bears, originally from Frankfurt Zoo in Germany, have been at Noah’s Ark for almost a year and have quickly become one of the park’s most iconic residents.

In arguably the best enclosure in the UK for Andean Bears, designed to give plentiful enrichment in a natural setting; Tupa and Sonco will now share home with a creature they haven’t set eyes on before, also from their native South America.

A member of the racoon family, brown-nosed coatis are fast and curious mammals, enjoying nothing more than rooting around on the ground and in low-lying foliage for food.

With both species found in Peru, and coatis more widespread in South America, the pairing has worked well in other European zoos.

Sharing a similar omnivorous diet, the bears also enjoy fruit and a small amount of meat - five per cent of their intake -  whereas the coatis eat mostly vegetables.

Andean bears live for approximately 20 years in captivity and coatis for 15 years so the new community should enjoy many years together.

The zoo is now offering Bear Encounters to visitors at 2pm daily, with a chance to hand-feed Tupa and Sonco and see them from a private roof top platform overlooking the enclosure.

Both the bears and coatis can be seen during the Encounter.

To book, visitors can register on the day of their visit before 1pm at the ticket office.

The zoo is open Monday to Saturday from 10.30am-5pm.

Images courtesy of and distributed by Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm.

Noah’s Ark which attracts more than 200,000 visitors a year is home to more than 100 different types of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates at Noah’s Ark, including several important species classified as ‘endangered’ or ‘vulnerable’ on the IUCN Red List.

These include Siamang Gibbons (Endangered), Andean Bears (Vulnerable), African elephants (Vulnerable) Cotton Topped Tamarins (Critically Endangered), White Rhinos (Near Threatened) and Brazilian Tapirs (Vulnerable).

Started in 1999, animals include lions, giraffe, zebras, rhinos, tigers and gibbons.

As well as the longest hedge maze in Europe, visitors can enjoy huge indoor and outdoor adventure playgrounds.

For more details click HERE.

Playtime for elephants

Elephants at a popular North Somerset animal park are enjoying a novel play experience thanks to their keepers.

Elephants Janu and M’Changa were keen to investigate the special wooden wobble-pole installed in their sand field within the bespoke 20 acre Elephant Eden habitat which has been running successfully for two years at Noah’s Ark zoo farm near Nailsea.

Using their strength the pair were quick to test the strange object standing tall from the sand, with both boys giving their fair share of pushes and pulls with their trunks.

In fact, due to the close attention by Janu in particular it wasn’t long before the pole snapped; proof of the success of the play value and that a more sturdy Mark 2.0 version now needs to be built!

Zoo owner Anthony Bush said: "These are fascinating natural behaviours to watch, the elephants using their instincts to investigate objects in their environment, which very few people in the world get to see.

“Displaying these behaviours shows that the elephants are not bored, we work hard to keep them active and monitor them carefully to ensure there aren’t signs of stereotypical behaviour.”

The elephants also enjoyed messing around with recycled Christmas trees, a fun ‘green’ use for the leftover festive firs.

The government’s Henley Report criticised the zoo elephant world in 2010 for the comparatively short life in captivity of elephants, with too many suffering from arthritis and being over-weight.

Noah’s Ark’s Elephant Eden was built in response and has achieved international recognition since for its welfare-improving training, healthcare and nutrition routines.

Noah’s Ark has two elephants and is in negotiation for receiving others soon.

The zoo is open Monday to Saturday from 10.30am-5pm.

Images courtesy of and distributed by Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm.

Zooper-heroes spotted near Nailsea

Hard-working zoo keepers celebrated with fun photoshoot at Noah’s Ark zoo farm pre-Halloween.

Surprised visitors to Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm in Bristol had their heads turned by an usual sight; superhero-costumed figures going about their daily animal-keeping chores for elephants, rhinos and big cats.

In a light-hearted event, the hard work of the parks ‘zooperheroes’ was recognised in an amusing photoshoot with caped crusaders posing around the 100 acre estate captured on camera.

With a dedicated team of 22 keepers working with a range of animals from emus to elephants, the park has grown considerably in recent years and the daily management of the zoo requires an experienced and committed team to ensure it runs smoothly and meets the needs of both the animals and visitors.

Working long hours, weekends and public holidays outside in all weather, the life of animal keepers is often glamorised with the public only seeing the fun parts of the job.

Noah’s Ark marketing manager Emma Lamport said: "It’s great to recognise the hard work and tireless enthusiasm of our keeper team.

"They brave the elements, work long days and are 100 per cent committed to their animals.

"They are real-life superheroes!”

Noah’s Ark has a long-standing training programme taking on volunteers and giving practical husbandry experience, offering full time internship and employment opportunities to those showing potential.

Some of the zoos current keepers began their career this way, working their way up to senior positions on the keeping team.

The 100 acre animal park is not just committed to sustainable staffing, it holds the gold award in the national Green Tourism Business Scheme for its green innovation and carbon-reducing activities.

One of only four UK zoos with the kite-mark, Noah’s Ark also won the national ‘Innovation Award’ from the National Farm Attractions Network earlier this year in recognition of its novel energy-saving projects including the new bear habitat, Andean Adventure.

The zoo is open Monday to Saturday from 10.30am-5pm.

PHOTO: Images courtesy of and distributed by Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm

Bear playtime necessities

Playful bears living at a zoo farm near Nailsea have a new pastime made with old fire hoses. 

The two Andean spectacled bears at Noah’s Ark, at Wraxall, are enjoying hammocks made for them by their keepers from recycled fire hose donated by Avon Fire and Rescue.

The 100 acre animal park which is also  home to elephants, rhino and big cats holds a gold award in the national Green Tourism Business Scheme for its carbon-reducing activities and is continuing its sustainable innovation by giving hammocks to its bears created from reels of the reclaimed hose.

Bears Tupa and Sonco, brothers from Frankfurt Zoo in Germany, were immediately inquisitive when they came out of their house and spotted their new aerial beds – both climbing up to test them out for comfort and seen visibly enjoying the new resting spots.

In a new partnership with Avon Fire, Noah’s Ark took delivery of 40 reels of industrial fire hose no longer suitable for firefighting use and has found creative ways to use them around the zoo.

Bears, gibbons, lemurs and big cats are all the lucky recipients of fun enrichment items made from the repurposed material – play balls, climbing lines and hammocks are just some of the clever designs made by keepers and volunteers.

Curator Chris Wilkinson said: "It’s great to provide extra enrichment for our bears, the pair are very inquisitive and love exploring their habitat and anything new they can play with.

"It’s good for them, and fun for visitors to watch so a positive all round for the park.”

The park also won the national ‘innovation award’ from the National Farm Attractions Network earlier this year in recognition of its green efforts and novel energy-saving projects.  

It now becomes the first farm park to hold sustainability awards under the two schemes.

The new bear habitat, Andean Adventure has been praised for its sustainable design with low energy lighting and heating, with recycled water built into an educational exhibit for visitors.

This follows on from the opening of the 20 acre internationally recognised Elephant Eden in 2014, built with the integration of renewable solar, heat power and recycling waste water and animal dung through natural processes.

The zoo farm has been praised for its public promotion of green issues and projects to visitors, with investment to provide useful displays and posters explaining the importance of green tourism and sustainable practise to families and schools.

Tupa and Sonco can be seen outside in Andean Adventure throughout the week, the zoo is open Monday to Saturday from 10.30am -5pm.

PHOTOS: © Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm/Bob Pitchford

Two million visitors for zoo

Noah’s Ark zoo farm near Nailsea has welcomed its two million visitors since it opened.

The 100 acre big zoo animal park at Wraxall, home to elephants, rhinos and big cats, has grown rapidly since its first full season in 1999.

Originally a small North Somerset petting farm open to the public it is now an internationally recognised zoo involved in European research programmes.

It has many high profile animal exhibits many built and opened in the past five years including the 20 acre Elephant Eden which is one of the largest habitats for African elephants in the UK and the specially landscaped Andean Adventure home to its bears.

In its first season it attracted 25,000 visitors - it is now fortyfold that number. 

The two millionth visitor was father and daughter Dave and Lili who were the 67th and 68th throught the gate on Wednesday, September 14.

The pair hadn’t visited the park before and enjoyed taking in the big zoo animals and using the adventure play.

The zoo has a history of sustainable development, winning 'gold' in the Green Tourism Business Scheme in 2016 for the second time in recognition of its energy-saving and carbon reducing activities.

Noah’s Ark celebrated a record-breaking summer with a busy August seeing visitors enjoying the parks popular Elephant Trail event, part of the world’s biggest elephant art trail created by the charity Elephant Parade.

Noah’s Ark is open Monday-Saturday, 10.30am-5pm.

PHOTOS: © Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm

Noah's Ark skunk house

 

A lucky skunk called Guinness has taken up residence in a special eco-house created for him at Noah's Ark zoo farm near Nailsea.

The black and white male skunk is a firm favourite with the keepers at the 100 acre animal park due to his inquisitive and friendly nature.

The five-year-old small mammal took in the sights and smells of a new house made using reclaimed materials in the zoo's North America section.

Gold award-winners in the Green Tourism Business Scheme, Noah's Ark is not new to the idea of sustainable practise.

In the past two years the park has installed two of the UK's highest profile 'green' zoo habitats; Elephant Eden, a 20 acre paradise for nature's biggest mammal and Andean Adventure, a South American landscaped playground for spectacled bears.

Using the skills of their experienced ground team who are used to building naturalistic and carbon-reducing enclosures, Guinness now has everything a skunk could wish for in his new home: a warm wooden house, uniquely insulated with sheep's wool cavity filling and built from recycled timber, a dry yard and a spacious grass area to explore once he's settled in.

The new development was constructed using a range of re-purposed materials, including metalwork and hinges leftover from the recently completed bear habitat and wooden panelling from sheds saved from previous projects.

Noah’s Ark deputy grounds manager Mike Bradly said: "We’re glad to give this new home to Guinness and see him enjoying his new surroundings.

"Our team are keen to be sustainable in these projects and we’re used to being inventive in reusing materials and harnessing natural products from the environment around us.

"Guinness is pretty inquisitive, so we’re sure visitors will enjoy the opportunity to see him”.

Situated in the North America section on the main visitor route around the zoo, Guinness will be neighbours to a growing family of Prairie Dogs.

Keepers hope to find a mate for Guinness soon, with the new home being more than big enough for two!

Noah’s Ark celebrated a record-breaking summer this year with a busy August seeing visitors enjoying the parks popular Elephant Trail.

Noah’s Ark is open Monday-Saturday, 10.30am -5pm.

The park is home to elephants, rhinos, giraffes and big cats.

Snake, rattle and roll

 

Rattlesnakes, saw-scaled vipers, king cobra and the world’s most venomous snake the Australian taipan are slivering their way to Noah’s Ark zoo farm near Nailsea.

With venom toxic enough to kill 100 fully grown men in one bite, the Australian taipan tops the list of the world’s deadliest snakes – and is just one of the exciting species to appear at the zoo farm for a special fortnight of educational reptile shows.

One of the attractions most popular annual events Reptile Fortnight runs from Monday to Saturday, August 1-13.

Presented in a safe, fun format by experienced snake handler Pete Blake, visitors can watch demonstrations with notorious snakes like the South American fer-de-lance, monocled cobras, rattlesnakes and king cobras from safely outside a specially constructed bullet-proof Perspex presentation room.

Celebrating more than a decade of partnership between the Reptile Zone and Noah’s Ark this summer will see twice daily venomous shows and the special chance for a framed photo with safe, friendly non-venomous snakes and reptiles – including a big friendly Burmese python who loves meeting new people, and four snappy alligators.

The fortnight is designed to quash some of the unfair reputation often given to snakes, explaining how they usually avoid confrontation where possible and have incredible biological design which is helping advances in modern medicine benefiting humans.

The daily shows are included with normal admission to the zoo, with the park open 10.30am-5pm, Monday-Saturday.

Framed photos are £7.50 and the shows are at 12.30pm and 2pm.

Noah’s Ark is home to elephants, rhinos, giraffes and big cats.

PHOTOS:  © Noah’s Ark zoo farm

Rhino romance gets technical!

Two popular loved-up rhinos in Noah's Ark may finally produce the patter of not-so-tiny feet, helped by cutting-edge reproductive science.

Calling on the expertise of two German rhino fertility specialists from Berlin’s Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, white rhinos Rumbull and Rumba now have a better chance of conceiving after years struggling to produce a calf naturally – thanks to dietary supplements which have helped improve male Rumbull’s sperm count.

The iconic rhino couple were the first ‘big zoo’ animals to join the park back in 2005 and although close companions and now 14 years old, have proved rhino mating is a hit-and-miss-affair.

Doctors Robert Hermes and Frank Göritz travelled to North Somerset to work with Wraxall keepers to re-assess the South African rhinos and carry out AI (artificial insemination) last week.

Having visited last year and recommended a beta-carotene food powder to help improve Rumbull’s semen, examination of a fresh sample shows a marked improvement.

Rumbull’s sperm showed increased count and motility, a great sign which will boost the chances of a successful pregnancy.

Keepers at the zoo took part in the procedure and filmed a rare clip of the improved rhino semen sample being analysed under microscope.

The Leibniz Institute uses the latest scientific developments and conservation research to support wild and captive populations of important species, including reproductive management.

Classified as ‘near threatened’ on the IUCN Red List (the International Union for Conservation of Nature) white rhinos are an important species to protect and offer a unique educational opportunity for zoo visitors who may never see them in the wild.

With a gestation of 16-18 months, it will be six months before keepers at Noah’s Ark will know the result of insemination and a further 10 months until birth if the procedure was successful.

Overseeing the visit by the German team, Noah’s Ark’s Curator Chris Wilkinson said: “We’re pleased with how the procedure went and that Rumbull’s semen quality is improving.

"This, combined with the precise timing of the AI procedure should give us the best chance of a confirmed pregnancy.”

With only 11 collections in the UK holding a total of 49 white rhino it is hoped Noah’s Ark can help global conservation efforts for the species by managing a healthy growing family at the park.

Visitors can see Rumbull and Rumba in the Africa section at Noah’s Ark zoo farm, the park is open daily from 10.30am-5pm Monday to Saturday.

Click HERE for more details.

Images and video which shows an interview with zoo curator Chris Wilkinson and rare footage of rhino semen sample analysis © Noah’s Ark zoo farm

Ding dong trunk call

 

Two playful bull elephants at a popular ‘big zoo’ animal park in North Somerset have been caught on CCTV playing with a giant set of wind chimes put up in their home.

Keepers at Noah’s Ark zoo farm near Nailsea i- home to 10-year-old Janu and M’Changa, aged seven,  – were amused to see the boisterous pair inquisitively exploring the hanging wooden chimes with their trunks and having fun.

The chimes were made by keepers Tom Lindley and Adam Douglass at Noah’s Ark Elephant Eden as useful enrichment to encourage the elephants to explore their environment.

The wooden chimes were coated in peanut butter, molasses and apple juice as an extra incentive, the smells and tastes adding to the attraction.

Hung from specially installed feeding hoists built into the modern elephant barn which opened at the park in 2014, the elephants had to reach up to explore the new objects, encouraging physical activity and dexterity with their trunks.

Tom said: “Janu and M’Changa are full of energy and it’s important we stimulate them to keep them active and engaged with their habitat.

"Enrichment like this is perfect to tap into their inquisitive nature and get them thinking.

"We made the chimes as they give sensory enrichment as well as being good fun for them”.

Janu and M’Changa are the current residents at the 20 acre Elephant Eden habitat, one of the largest in Europe and described by international elephant consultant Alan Roocroft as a 'five star facility for elephants'.

The technologically-advanced complex includes hot and cold showers, computer-controlled feeding systems and a mix of extensive grass fields and sand yards to roam each day.

Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm has also recently welcomed Spectacled Bears, opening one of the largest bear habitats in the UK which has drawn visitors from across the country.

Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm is open 10.30am -5pm, Monday to Saturday.

Photos © Bob Pitchford/Noah’s Ark zoo farm

Mane attraction

 

A popular North Somerset ‘big zoo’ animal park is hoping to breed its lions for the first time.

Noah’s Ark near Nailsea is already home to elephants, rhinos, giraffes and big cats.

Now keepers are keen for a lion pair to become parents.

Their hopes are on seven-old-Masai and mate Arusha, aged five.

If successful, this will be the first time lions have bred at the animal park and will give visitors the opportunity to see cubs at the Big Cat Sanctuary.

Keepers and visitors have seen the affectionate lion pair showing increased interest in each other and attempting mating in recent weeks.

African lions first arrived at Noah’s Ark in 2010, with brothers Zulu and Masai joining the park from Linton Zoo. Lionesses Arusha and Wilma joined the zoo in 2013 from Heythrop Zoological Gardens in Oxon and were paired with the lions.

Zulu and Wilma moved as a pair to Borth Zoo in 2015, with Masai and Arusha staying at Noah’s Ark – a firm favourite with visitors.

Considering Arusha’s age and size when she arrived at Noah’s Ark, her keepers wanted to allow her to mature in her own time.

She was put on a two year contraceptive which is now wearing off naturally.

With a gestation of 110 days, if Noah’s Ark’s lions breed successfully it won’t be a long wait before visitors will hear the patter of padded furry paws.

The park will keep the family together as a group, giving two joined paddock areas with more space for the growing pride.

Big Cat head keeper Emma Godsell said: "When Arusha first arrived here in 2013 she was a bit small and young to have cubs so we gave her a two year contraceptive treatment before introducing her to Masai. 

"This contraceptive is now wearing off naturally, so we're just waiting for her to enter her first oestrus and then it's up to the lions how quickly things proceed from there.

"We're hoping their first litter may arrive this year, Arusha is now a good size and age for her first cubs."

The park has also recently welcomed Spectacled Bears, opening one of the largest bear habitats in the UK which has drawn visitors from across the country.

Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm is open 10.30am – 5pm, Monday to Saturday.

PHOTOS: © Bob Pitchford for Noah’s Ark

Giraffe Gerald is 12

 

A celebrity giraffe from Noah’s Ark zoo farm near Nailsea celebrated his 12th birthday with a big party.

Gerald is one of the original ‘big zoo’ animals to join the park at Wraxall.

With partner Genny they are parents to George and Geoffrey.

Gerald arrived in 2006 at the 110 acre site and was the the second African species to join the zoo after the South African white rhinos took up residence in 2005.

An instant favourite with visitors 15ft Gerald became synonymous with the parks brand and featured in television animal documentaries, national and international news with an amusing story of his unlikely friendship with goat Eddie.

The pair shared the giraffe field with Eddie acting as a companion for Gerald while the zoo sourced a female giraffe as a future mate.

Gerald made international news again in 2010 when Genevieve made an epic trip of 1,000 miles across Europe to become his mate.

Happily the pair hit it off  and their whirlwind romance resulted in the birth of George in 2012.

On Friday Gerald’s keepers held a fun birthday tea party for him making a special birthday cakefrom feed pellets, carrots and apples.

Staff wore party hats and visitors watched on as Gerald enjoyed the attention and fuss.

Noah’s Ark is open 10.30am -5pm, Monday to Saturday.

For more information click HERE.

PHOTOS and VIDEO: Courtesy Noah’s Ark zoo farm

Andean bears at Noah’s Ark

 

We can bearly contain our excitement as a bear species of important conservation interest has arrived at Noah’s Ark zoo farm near Nailsea.

Characterful bear brothers Tupa and Sonco from Frankfurt Zoo, Germany, explored their new home for the first time this week.

The energetic Andean bears, both two years old, were watched by delighted visitors as the pair pawed their way around the newly completed state-of-the-art two acre Andean Adventure habitat which includes its own running-water stream, pool, climbing frames, trees, hills and dens.

North Somerset Council chairman Charles Cave officially welcomed the bears with Noah’s Ark’s director Anthony Bush for zoo visitors, and school children from St. Mary’s Primary, Portbury took part in the brief ceremony which was dedicated by the Rev Fran Binding of Wraxall Parish.

The Spectacled bears, native to the mountainous Andean region of South America are already a big hit with visitors who were captivated watching Tupa and Sonco splashing in their pool and climbing trees in their field.

With an important bear conservation message to tell to its visitors, Noah’s Ark is delighted to partner with Paddington in educational displays which help inform families about the threats to the species in the wild and the important work being done to protect them.

 

PHOTOS:  © Bob Pitchford/Noah’s Ark zoo farm

How to train your giraffe at Noah's Ark

 

A big-zoo animal park near Nailsea has been carrying special healthcare-led training exercises with a family of four giraffes to provide cutting-edge welfare.

Moving on from the more mundane cleaning-and-feeding routines essential to daily care of all zoo animals, keepers at Noah’s Ark zoo farm have successfully developed a close relationship with these iconic African giants to encourage close trust and enable useful medical treatments to be performed without the need for sedation or stressful restraint.

Dedicated training sessions are held with the giraffes several times a week to build the important trust-relationship between keeper and animal.

Training methods used are strictly positive reinforcement, with the giraffe receiving something good for providing a specific behaviour.

The reward the animal receives reinforces the action and the keepers can use this to help with everyday care of the animal – including weighing, inspection of hooves and even microchipping.

 

  • Target training – a keeper directing a specific behaviour using a simple touch-target (usually a ball on a stick) - can usefully help move giraffes safely around an enclosure to allow visual health checks, manoeuvre gates safely, and lead the animal into a chute (enclosed inspection bay); and

  • Chute training is carried out at least once a week, where the giraffe can be weighed, receive foot care or any other procedure or check needed.

 

Weighing giraffes is vital to monitor health, and also helps keepers plan an appropriate diet.

Weighing can indicate whether they are gaining, maintaining or losing weight – weight loss can be a sign of illness or stress.

Weights however must be used along with a body condition scoring system because animals come in different heights and shapes – there’s no such thing as a ‘standard’ giraffe!

The body condition scoring system works by giving each individual a score between 1-5 (1 being emaciated and 5 being overweight).

Keepers are looking for an ideal score of around 3.

All four giraffes at Noah’s Ark are target-trained, which visitors can see and help with in the parks ‘big zoo keeper experiences’.

Training is not only helpful for daily activities but it is enjoyable for the giraffe.

The animals have the free choice to participate in training, and can walk away anytime they want.

However, they always stay because the reward is motivating for them and training keeps them mentally stimulated, acting as a form of enrichment.

Foot care and hoof maintenance is vitally important to giraffes – training exercises at the zoo mean that keepers can apply hoof oil and even perform hoof trims. Keepers have previously carried out x-rays, physical examinations and preparation for microchips.

African section head keeper Emma Green said: "Being an animal keeper is far more than picking up muck or simply feeding the animals.

"Building a strong bond with the giraffe is key to successful training, allowing us to provide the best husbandry and the highest standards of animal welfare.

"Since starting the training programme the giraffe have become far more trusting and comfortable within their environment, I am so proud of them.

"It is almost like a game for them and they are always happy to participate.’

Visitors to the Noah’s Ark this year also have the opportunity to meet the giraffes in a personal short ‘giraffe encounter’, a popular cheap treat bookable from the ticket office during a visit.

A great deal of training has recently been focused on the preparation for transport of the two young male giraffes, George and Geoffrey.

The brothers are soon to be moving on to a new home later this year, helping start a new giraffe group at a European zoo.

Training them for their transport crates has gone well and will make the process far more relaxed.

Education, and the sharing of husbandry ideas within the animal care industry, is important in the continuing improvement of welfare standards within zoos and animal parks across Europe.

Noah’s Ark keepers frequently attend professional workshops to keep them up to date with the latest research and practises in giraffe management.

Emma regularly attends ABWAK (Association of British Wild Animal Keepers) giraffe keepers workshops.

Keepers from different zoos exchange first-hand information and experiences.

Social networks including Facebook also allow keepers from across the globe to discuss and exchange ideas – this has become an increasingly important knowledge-sharing resource.

JUMBO ICE: Elephants experiencing ice cold weather conditions for the first time at Noah’s Ark zoo farm are caught on visitors mobile phone video munching on ice from their pool during cold snap. The two African elephants Janu and M’Changa were seen amusingly making a cold snack out of ice from their frozen bathing pool. Nine-year-old Janu in particular was fascinated by the solid surface and was watched breaking the ice with his foot before picking up chunks with his trunk and then eating it. Not a commonly seen behaviour, visitors were surprised and delighted to watch the animals explore the new conditions in their sprawling 20 acre habitat, the largest in Europe. Zoo visitor Nicola Ball caught the action close up on her phone. Thank you for sharing Nicola.

Recycling treat
Recycling treat
Recycling treat
Recycling treat
Recycling treat
Recycling treat

Elephant and tiger playtime with recycled Christmas trees

 

African elephants Janu and M’Changa and Bengal tigers Tiana and Khan enjoyed recycled Christmas trees at Noah’s Ark zoo farm near Nailsea.

Donated by Almondsbury Garden Centre for behavioural enrichment post-Christmas, keepers at Noah’s Ark let their animals enjoy playtime with the trees prepared in different ways.

For the elephants, trees were decorated with fruit and veg treats and hung from a winch in the ceiling of the Elephant Eden barn.

Ten-year-old African elephant Janu had fun picking off the treats from below, watched by six-year-old M’Changa.

At the Big Cat Sanctuary, 13 year old Tiana  played like a pussy cat with two trees in her field – freshly sprayed with a scented perfume the tigers go wild for.

Big male Khan, 11, next door enjoyed jumping on to a 12ft tree and exploring the branches.

Using novel objects and scents like this is a useful tool in a zoo keepers armoury to keep their animals active and interested in their environment, with Christmas trees in particular being a favourite.

Click on slide show to see all images.

Elephant Eden
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Princess at Elephant's castle

 

There was no flooding but it was wet and overcast when Princess Royal visited Noah's Ark zoo farm near Nailsea for the official opening of Elephant Eden.

HRH the Princess Royal hotfoot from Bristol Airport came to the Wraxall zoo on Thursday afternoon, December 17, to officially open the 20 acre Elephant Eden habitat – the largest of its kind in northern Europe.

Because of the overcast weather the scheduled arrival by helicopter didn’t happen but she did go airborne after her visit.

Described as a ‘five star hotel for elephants’ by international elephant management specialist Alan Roocroft, Elephant Eden saw the arrival of its first African elephant in 2014 and has had finishing touches to the complex completed this year along with the arrival of further elephants.

Peter Hancock, the Bishop of Bath and Wells joined the Royal visitor to officially dedicate the event.

Now home to two characterful bull elephants Janu and M’Changa, Elephant Eden has been celebrated as offering welfare improvements to the industry and has been used as a helpful model for other collections to base their own building plans on, including international zoo colleagues from as far afield as Japan.

Owner Anthony Bush said in his introduction they were particularly pleased the Princess accepted their invited as the former Olympic horsewoman and Gloucestershire farmer is known for her lifelong interest in animal welfare.

Anthony thanked divine intervention when he told of the trials and tribulations of establishing the elephant house from the sudden death of a female elephant, the one tusk ‘killer’bull, fears for a young elephant insomniac, runaway Jeep and the record rainfall during the build.

The Princess thanks everyone for a warm welcome and talking about how people are becoming more detached from the natural world thanked those at Noah’s Ark for establishing a much needed educational facility.

Esther, the two-year-old daughter of Noah’s Ark curator Chris Wilkinson, presented the Princess with a small posy in front of an enthusiast audience of invited guests and media people.

The weatherwise 65-year-old Princess came suitable dressed in a maxi length cream gabardine-style raincoat and knee high boots.

Double click slideshow top to see all the images.

Photos © www.nailseapeople.com additional images courtesey of © Phil Williams and Noah’s Ark zoo farm

A royal visitor days before Christmas

 

The Princess Royal is to officiate at the grand opening of Elephant Eden and elephant play zone at Noah’s Ark zoo farm near Nailsea.

It was confirmed this week that HRH The Princess Royal will visit the zoo on Thursday afternoon, December 17, to officially open the 20 acre elephant habitat which is the largest of its kind in northern Europe.

Described as a 'five star hotel for elephants' by international elephant management specialist Alan Roocroft, Elephant Eden saw the arrival of its first African elephant in 2014 and has had finishing touches to the complex completed this year along with the arrival of further elephants.

The Bishop of Bath and Wells will join the Royal visit to officially dedicate the event.

Now home to two characterful bull elephants Janu and M’Changa, Elephant Eden has been celebrated as offering welfare improvements to the industry and has been used as a helpful model for other collections to base their own building plans on, including international zoo colleagues from as far afield as Japan.

HRH The Princess Royal will tour of the elephant barn and facilities, meeting staff and visitors before officially opening the area.

Noah’s Ark will also unveil its new Elephant Play Zone for children next to the elephant barn, which will include an impressive 4m high scale model elephant with built-in slide.

Noah’s Ark will be open as usual on the day of the visit.

With more than 80,000 square meters of enriched habitat, Elephant Eden is designed to give African elephants space to roam and novel daily feeding programs to promote physical and mental activity.

Uniquely built with sand yards throughout the indoor and outdoor environments to promote foot health, hot and cold showers and computer-controlled timed winch feeders to lower food on hoists encouraging natural feeding behaviour; the habitat has been carefully designed to offer excellent welfare.

The habitat has the built-in capacity to house up to 10 elephants in the future, using a second phase extension facility.

The aim of the project is to provide top level care and management to a sustainable breeding herd, with educational benefits for visiting public and research opportunity for the European zoo community.

Zoo owner Anthony Bu