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ZSL Whipsnade Zoo Red river hogs and Bird Garden

Discussion in 'United Kingdom' started by ShonenJake13, 18 Jan 2015.

  1. ShonenJake13

    ShonenJake13 Well-Known Member

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    Hello everyone,
    I was recently out and about in Whipsnade for the first time in close to seven years. It was great to see all the animals that were once kept in the far closer to home London; sloth bears, rhinos, bongos, gemsbok, elephants of course, and the wonderful chimps :)
    However, if my memory doesn't fail me, weren't the red river hogs moved from London to Whipsnade? It's just that I spent a solid hour and a half driving around trying to find them, and I couldn't find them! Is it possible they were once near where the new Hullabazoo exhibit has been built? Was hoping that someone could shed some light on this.
    And also, was a shame to drive past the rheas and see that the bird garden seemingly had no entrance. Was hoping to see the turacos, hornbills and wattled cranes, though I was happy to get a glimpse of the blue or Stanley cranes through the screen. Is the bird garden off limits to the public now?
    Many thanks :D
     
  2. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    The Red River Hogs are in two small connected paddocks on the left as you walk between the Giraffe outdoor paddock and the 'back' entrance to the Lion display. Whipsnade had some themselves before London's arrived also. There was a litter of piglets a year or so ago.

    The Bird Garden has been closed to the public for some years now- I think its used as an offshow breeding area now.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 18 Jan 2015
  3. IanRRobinson

    IanRRobinson Well-Known Member

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    Am I the only person to think that it's mildly bizarre that in a park with so much unused space - much of it largely inaccessible- the excellent idea of an offshow breeding area has been realised by closing existing exhibit space....:confused:
     
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  4. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    I am not sure if there were other reasons for its closure- was it deemed 'unsafe' in some way? It was a really nice little bird garden and an asset to the Park. Odd indeed if that was the only reason why they closed it.
     
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  5. ajmcwhipsnade

    ajmcwhipsnade Well-Known Member

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    What ever the reason for closing the bird garden, I'm sure it was not just made without any reason what so ever. Personally I never found this part of the zoo the most interesting (but that's just me!)

    General upkeep of any site must always be taken into consideration, and im just speculating but maybe finiancialy in the long term it was best to have it off-show for the moment. Besides maybe the species there prefer being off-show
     
  6. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    It's all the more a shame when one considers the hornbills are an unusual type only otherwise held at Plzen and Walsrode, being off-show at the latter.

    As far as the reason for closure goes, if memory serves the official word initially was that it was being redeveloped to make it more suitable for the inhabitants and visitors, and that the more unusual species would be placed on-show elsewhere in the collection in the interim. The latter point was soon forgotten entirely, and the former point changed to "off-show for breeding purposes indefinitely".......
     
  7. IanRRobinson

    IanRRobinson Well-Known Member

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    Must admit that I don't remember that, but it does sound very much like standard ZSL cover for any project being pushed onto the back burner.

    in a park dominated by huge paddocks and large mammals , an area like Cotswold Wildlife Park's Walled Garden would surely be a very nice addition holding smaller animals. If the display animals were held off show elsewhere, the whole area might make a very good Oriental animal garden, entirely in keeping with the area's proximity to "Asia". As a suggestion, Chinese Alligators might be kept in an adapted penguin rearing area, and the chelonians held at the entrance of the Discovery Centre in the old Pet centre.

    Birds might include (for instance) waterfowl like Baikal and Falcated Teal and Mandarin Duck; a good display of pheasants (such as Mikado, Elliot's, Brown-eared, Swinhoe's and Cabot's Tragopan); Black-billed Stork; Steller's Sea Eagle; a crane species or two in addition to the Japanese taxon already held near the Sloth Bears (Black-necked or White would be wonderful, White-naped more realistic but still very pleasing); and nearby Waddesdon Manor would doubtless be pleased to have a near neighbour with whom to co-operate in Laughing Thrush management.

    Mammalian occupants that very easily spring to mind include Pallas' Cat, Yellow-throated Marten, Red Panda, and Tufted Deer. More ambitiously, there are a good number of Golden Snub-nosed Monkeys held in Chinese zoos. Whipsnade's climate would probably be very congenial for them.

    As that canny operator Shorts has posted elsewhere, it is entirely possible that one means of ZSL getting more revenue from their zoos would be by increasing the number of exhibits and diversity on both sites, which would lead to people spending more time there and thus spending more money....
     
  8. ShonenJake13

    ShonenJake13 Well-Known Member

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    They have many other species of crane; Crowned, Blue, Wattled...it's just that they're kept off-show.

    Thanks a lot Pertinax, I will keep an eye out next time!

    I truly think it is such a shame that the Bird Garden is off-show...but through the fence it looked like it was on-show. Let me explain. At London Zoo in the 'caecilian room' that you can see behind the Surinam toads (which is obviously closed to the public) it is very obvious that the signage for each tank is not the same as it is for on-show exhibits; it says how many there are and of which gender, and it states the species and Latin name.
    However, in the Bird Garden I could see signs that looked remarkably similar to the on-show signs used in both zoos!
    Perhaps they're planning on reopening it at some point? I so hope that they do; Sulawesi tarictic hornbills, Visayan hornbills, blue and wattled cranes, turacos...these are species that should be on-show, not something that should be hidden away!

    I am hopefully returning there this weekend, if I do I will update the situation here.
    Thanks a lot!
     
  9. ShonenJake13

    ShonenJake13 Well-Known Member

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    And I would very much like to see snub-nosed monkeys outside of Asia, though I doubt they'd be able to successfully keep them...Dublin tried and failed, and the conditions are far better there!
     
  10. ShonenJake13

    ShonenJake13 Well-Known Member

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    Also, Pertinax, do you know where the Asiatic lions, Francois langurs and gibbons are being kept while London is busy with construction of Land of the Lions? Last I heard the langurs and lions had been moved to Whipsnade, but a) I have no idea where they are being held, and b) the gibbons seem to have disappeared without a trace? Jimmy and Yoda were big favourites of mine :) thanks
     
  11. pipaluk

    pipaluk Well-Known Member

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    I have noticed the signs on the enclosures too. I remember seeing one on the ground hornbill one, which was probably left behind from when the garden was previously open about 10 years ago.

    I agree with those who Suggest that this area should be open, whether for birds or/and mammals. The more animals on show the better!
     
  12. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    Other people on here have posted that the Asian Lions are being held in an enclosure built for them somewhere behind the building above the Kudu field i.e. on the right of the road leading down to the Hippos. I don't know about the Primates.

    Re the Bird Garden. Labels are sometimes left on enclosures indefinately long after exhibits have closed- even permanently if the area has been closed off.
     
  13. ajmcwhipsnade

    ajmcwhipsnade Well-Known Member

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    I guess the fact the bird garden is shut is something that will not change in the short term. Its been shut for quite a while now and what ever everyone's opinions on it, I guess with the new entrance, butterfly building and elephant house it Is not a priority.

    For me the bird garden never really took off (pardon the pun!) and it is not a great loss to the overall collection. Who knows what the future holds? But we have exciting things to look forward to and that is the best part. But that's just my opinion!
     
  14. Crowthorne

    Crowthorne Well-Known Member

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    Happened to catch a glimpse of the gibbons today. If you stand with your back to the far-end hippo paddock and look towards the staff buildings opposite there is a square enclosure with ropes just visible next to the building. The gibbons are in there. Shame they're off show, they were very active the few minutes I watched them!
     
  15. zooman64

    zooman64 Well-Known Member

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    My guess (and it is only a guess) for why Whipsnade's bird garden was closed to the public is because someone in management decided the aviaries were not of a high enough standard as public aviaries, but are adequate as breeding aviaries. As enclosures and aviaries get bigger and bigger in zoos everywhere, so the public come to expect every enclosure and aviary to be enormous, and complain when the enclosures at one zoo suffer in comparison to newer/larger enclosures at another zoo.
     
  16. Zooplantman

    Zooplantman Well-Known Member

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    Read the subject of this thread and immediately thought "What a bad idea."
     
  17. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    Not sure if you mean the Bird Garden itself, or closing it.

    I think the Bird Garden was quite a nice area to visit. It was built on the site of their old (derelict) Children's Zoo and there was a low stable block that had been converted for bird incubation/chick rearing/bird hospital etc. There weren't that many aviaries and what there were were quite adequate. One large one for Military Macaws was a good large size. So I don't think it was closed because they weren't sizeable enough.

    Its possible it wasn't visited by the public very much, so the cost of running/staffing it wasn't economical, plus there may have been some issues with the buildings etc too.
     
  18. Zooplantman

    Zooplantman Well-Known Member

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    No, simply that the combination of RRH and a bird garden was a bad idea. :p