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  #16
Old 08-12-2011

An interesting discussion reminiscing of collections that are long gone, just wondering, I wonder what this discussion would be like in forty years time,would people be discussing the time when zoos had elephants, naming the last ones to reside in the U.K. and what year they left?, could animal collections disappear from the likes of Chessington, Drayton Manor and Flamingland as they decide to concentrate on the amusement park side of the business only.What concerns me is that two well known major collections in the U.K. have a chance of becoming history only in the future, that is if their current managements don't buck their ideas up!
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  #17
Old 08-12-2011

[QUOTE=TARZAN;505174] Regarding Belle Vue, Manchester. I have heard various descriptions of this zoo, some good, some not so good, a good book on Belle Vue is At Home in the Zoo by Gerald Iles, he comes across in the book as someone who had the well being and welfare of the animals at heart, however, quite a few times in this book he states that he could have done better with certain animals if they had better facilities[QUOTE]

I have this book nowadays, but I first read it (from a Library) long before I ever visited the Zoo. It made the place sound very exciting and interesting from many of the anecdotes in the Book. So I was totally unprepared for how antiquated and run down many of the exhibits were in this most 'urban' of urban zoos. But that didn't stop me making several more visits as it was such an interesting collection.
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  #18
Old 08-12-2011

[QUOTE=TARZAN;505189] could animal collections disappear from the likes of Chessington, Drayton Manor and Flamingland as they decide to concentrate on the amusement park side of the business only.[QUOTE]

Chessington have already been through one animal 'bottleneck' some years back when during one of their several changes of ownership it was mooted all the animals would leave. The Gorillas were rumoured to be heading to Chester, who would build an enclosure for them- but obviously nothing happened. But it only takes another change of ownership /policy for something like that to really happen. Same for Drayton Manor and Flamingoland I guess.
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  #19
Old 08-12-2011

Quote:
Originally Posted by TARZAN View Post
going to the West Country will never be the same without a visit to Cricket St. Thomas,
I used to visit there not infrequently for many years, then a long gap to a final couple of visits shortly before it(unbeknown to me) closed. I really didn't notice much difference in the animal collection over all that time, apart from the Elephants leaving and generally a slight reduction in species.
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  #20
Old 08-12-2011

I wish Whitson was still there. I only ever there once, when i was about 6 and can't really remember much about it, but it was only about 6 miles from where i live now. I go to Bristol about once a month, but i'd go a lot more if it wasn't for the Severn Bridge toll fees.

Penscynor was another i only ever visted once, when i was a child and would have visited more now if it were still open.

I never visited Crickets St Thomas, despite driving past it's gates many, many times. The leaflet they used to put out that i'd come across whilst on holiday wasn't very inspiring.
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  #21
Old 08-12-2011

Another closed collection is the Loch Lomond Bear Park also latteraly known as the Cameron Wildlife Park. Does anyone have any photos they can post of the park, especially the original drive-through polar bear enclosure?
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  #22
Old 08-12-2011

The one I miss is Winged World. I had a holiday in Morecambe in 1976 and managed to visit three times in one week. There were so many interesting birds, but I did not have the equipment to take decent photos.

I also got pecked by a Bali Starling in the free flight area.
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  #23
Old 08-12-2011

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Originally Posted by Pertinax View Post
IMO definately the biggest loss of a Zoological Collection in the UK in the last fifty years(maybe ever?) I was fortunate enough to visit there several times in the late 60's-70's, the last time being in 1974- it closed three years later.
I'm sure you're right. For most of its history Belle Vue probably had the second biggest collection of any zoo in the UK (second only to Regentís Park obviously).

Although in some respects it was the sort of zoo that I generally donít like very much (i.e. commercialised, associated with a fairground / amusement park) it was such a historically important collection that I very much regret never having visited it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Parrotsandrew View Post
........ The collection I miss most is the Tropical Bird Gardens at Rode. ....... I made only one visit to Gatwick, but I think it was excellent and a big loss. ...... I think Cricket St. Thomas was a major disappointment especially as it was in such a beautiful setting.
I agree with you about Gatwick and Rode; both were very nice little collections and I much enjoyed all my visits there. However, I cannot honestly say that I greatly miss them now that theyíve closed; on the whole I much prefer large comprehensive collections (which is why the two Berlin zoos are, without doubt, my all time favourites).

I also entirely concur with your opinion about Cricket St. Thomas. It was a lovely setting for a zoo, probably one of the most attractive sites of any UK animal collection. Unfortunately, though, I was always somewhat disappointed after my visits as, in my opinion, it never really seemed to fulfil the potential provided by such a nice setting.
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  #24
Southport Mandrills
Old 08-12-2011

[QUOTE] I remember seeing the mandrills at Southport and buying porcupine quills in the shop.[QUOTE]

Last edited by Pertinax; 08-12-2011 at 09:17 PM..
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  #25
Old 08-12-2011

Sorry, DassieRat, I've obliterated your post mistakenly by pressing 'edit' instead of 'Quote'. It happens occassionally...


[QUOTE=Dassie rat;505465][QUOTE] I remember seeing the mandrills at Southport and buying porcupine quills in the shop.
Quote:

PERTINAX;
I never managed a visit here but Southport's most prominent species was probably its Mandrill group. In the 1970/80's era, they were one of very few Zoos in the UK to be successfully breeding them. They started with just one pair which came (I think) from Ravensdon (dealers) and which they only took by chance because they were offered to them. From this pair(Packy and 'No 1 wife') they built a large group, then later imported 2 pairs of unrelated ones from America to add fresh blood and also split the group into two seperate ones. They were also awarded a zoo 'meritorious breeding' award for the number they had bred. Males had previously also been swapped with London's group (the other main breeding group at the time) and other individuals were sent to found/add to groups at Paignton and Colchester. So most (but not Paignton's anymore) current Mandrill groups in the UK have some 'Southport 'blood' in them.

When Southport closed the remaining Mandrills seem to have been dispersed to just two centres; Trotters World of Animals and the private Heythrop zoo. I'd be interested if anone knows of any other places that got any from Southport at the time it closed.
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  #26
Old 09-12-2011

[QUOTE=Potamogale;505177]
Can`t say I miss the little Children`s Zoo at the same place ( Heysham Head ) though ...

Sorry, I bodged that by deleting the second "quote".

Was this the little indoor place? I visited an indoor zoo in the Morecambe area with my parents in the 1970s and it was poor. Even now with my rose-tinted view of the zoos of yesteryear I'd say it was poor. The first exhibit on entering was a single Himalayan/Asiatic Black Bear in a small, bare (no pun intended) cage. Not long after our visit it was in the national press that this unfortunate creature had escaped and been shot, which was probably doing it a favour.
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  #27
Old 09-12-2011

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim May View Post
on the whole I much prefer large comprehensive collections (which is why the two Berlin zoos are, without doubt, my all time favourites).
These days I much prefer small collections, particularly bird gardens or predominantly bird collections. If I could choose an era I missed at a particular zoo, it would be the late 1960s at Flamingo Park. Oh to go back there with my current cameras.

I never visited Belle Vue, but I wish I had.
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  #28
Old 09-12-2011

@ Pertinax one of the female Southport Mandrills ended up going to the wonderfull South Wales Primate Rescue Centre,that also took their Chimps,in fact she may well still be there,when I last visted she was being kept with a Spider Monkey of some type.
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  #29
Old 09-12-2011

Quote:
Originally Posted by hedigerfan View Post
Another closed collection is the Loch Lomond Bear Park also latteraly known as the Cameron Wildlife Park. Does anyone have any photos they can post of the park, especially the original drive-through polar bear enclosure?
Yes I would be grateful of any photos/information anyone would have of this park, I unfortunately never visited,a drive through polar bear enclosure, sounds amazing!
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  #30
Old 09-12-2011

Yes vis a vis several comments on that strange little childrens zoo at Heysham..it was shockingly poor particularly when Winged World next door was so brilliant..to this day the best bird house this country ever had.More on Belle Vue and in particular the book "At Home In The Zoo"..this was merely the successor to a radio show and,yes, a BBC television series of the same name hosted by zoo manager Gerald Iles in the early to mid-fifties beating Attenborough by some years i might add.As far as is known no recordings of either exist.I tracked the man down to his Montreal home 10 years ago[he was 93 then and has since died],although decrepit in body his mind was razor-sharp..oh what stories!He knew them all...Grzimek,Hediger,my hero Katharina Heinroth,Bob Bean,Peter Scott-he even let Durrell house the animals from his first South American collecting trip at BV,he was more than helpful to a new little zoo down the road at Chester too....Lest we forget.
 


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