Thursday, 16 November 2017

Badgers on the Move

Remember the badger cubs we had earlier this year?.. Well they have been growing well and quickly off display over the last few months, all while our maintenance team have been busy expanding our outside badger enclosure.

By taking a little area of the Copse, hardly used by the squirrels, we have been able to link a new digging area to our existing outside badger enclosure via a tunnel which passes underneath the boardwalk.

An inside area provides a sleeping area for the new badgers, and having been introduced at the weekend, they now have access to the grassy area for the first time. As you can see, they are having a great time destroying all the hard work put in by doing what badgers do best.

Over the winter we will be alternating who has access to each outside area, between our new badgers and old, swapping bedding materials and allowing them to talk to each other through a divide system. Over time we are hoping we will be able to allow them all to live together. Easier said than done, but it would be nice for them all to have free roam of both enclosures!

The winter time has always been the best time of year for us to catch up on some of the bigger jobs and plans we have for the Centre, and this year is no different. Finishing the badgers is a start, and a few other things are in line which we will be able to share with you soon.

Monday, 6 November 2017

Photo of the Month: October 2017

"Red Squirrel" By Brett Watson

We are now entering our quieter time of year, with the evenings drawing in and the temperature dropping. For a lot of our animals this means they will be a little less active, but on the plus I think that most of them are far more photogenic. Nice thick winter coats, bushy tails and vibrant colours.

Last month the photographs seemed to cover a real range of our animals, with more being shared of our animals in the "Barn and Hedgerow" section which was great to see. We did see quite a few wide angle photographs too, and it was the photo above taken by Brett Watson of one of our friendly red squirrels which we chose to be in our coffee shop gallery next year.

As with the others, Brett's photo will be in with a chance of being selected to win him a photo day here at the wildlife centre.

Here are a couple of other photos that were shared by our visitors last month.

"House Mouse" by Zena Saunders

"Stealth Otter" by Jeni Bell

"Red Squirrel" by Gary Chisholm

As always, click on the link in the names above to see more of their photographs.

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Goodbye to Little Tom

Last week we said goodbye to one of our keepers, Little Tom, who after nearly four years of being with us has decided to move on for a new challenge. If you don't recognise him above, then try picturing him with a beard... and seeing him through tears of laughter as you try to control yourself during one of his hilarious keeper talks... no?,.. oh, tough crowd.

Tom was a great asset to us over the years, and helped the Centre to develop and grow throughout that time. He will be missed, as will Des and Troy, his jokes, and his singing.., eh, well maybe not his singing.

We wish him all the best in his new role at Godstone Farm, and the new challenges and skills that will offer. Being just down the road, I am sure he will keep pop in and keep in touch.

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Keeper Vacancy

This weekend, (until midnight Monday 30th October), is the final weekend that we are accepting applications for our "Keeper" position we currently have open. 

Are you passionate about British Wildlife?..

Can you pretend to be a tree?..

Can you teach the savage wildcat to dance in synchronization?..

Are you a pro at taking selfies?..

Well if you can say yes to the above, or at least the bit about being passionate about British Wildlife, and think you can get along with this crazy bunch of people, head over to our website to find out more details for the position available and how to apply.

Monday, 23 October 2017

Red Squirrel Releases

A few weeks a go we supplied a dozen more squirrels to Caldey Island for their releases over there. These joined the few we sent previously over the last couple of years, and it is hoped they will establish a healthy little population with the help from the island residents. 

We are well known for our island releases, working closely with other conservation groups to establish pockets of wild red squirrels where they are safe from grey squirrels. We couldn't do all the hard work ourselves though in terms of breeding the animals, and do this with the help of several other holders. 

We manage a breeding group, including many local agricultural colleges and private holders, who look after squirrels for us and breed them to supply kittens for the releases. This along with the many we breed here on site are the basis of keeping the group going, helping out other groups around the country with swapping bloodlines, and of course providing squirrels for our releases. 

Above you can see three squirrel kittens that were bred this year at the Berkshire College of Agriculture, this lovely bit of footage taken by Nick Shelley. Once old enough and fending for themselves, kittens like these come back to us before they move on to their new life.

So, how are our ones doing on Caldey at the moment?.. Well it is still very early days of course, but so far signs are good. Here are a couple of photos we got sent last week to show how they have been settling in and finding their way  around.