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ZSL Whipsnade Zoo Review

Discussion in 'United Kingdom' started by ZooLeopard, 28 Oct 2009.

  1. ZooLeopard

    ZooLeopard Well-Known Member

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    Part 1

    After we had parked our car in the overpriced carpark and payed entry fee of £18, it was time for me and my parents to have a cup of coffee. We took our £3.50 each drinks to the Chimp House and admired the new facilities. Their old enclosure was currently being refurbished, while they were out exploring the island. I have to say I think this sort of enclosure design is a step forward for Whipsnade and the Chimpanzees with baby seemed contented and relaxed with thier surroundings.
    Next was the European Bison Herd of 3? I searched the paddock but could only find a Adult male and two females. Where have the others gone? For whipsnade, I found this exhibit slightly dated but still lots of room for the animals.
    We passed wolf wood and all of them were huddled at the far corner of the enclosure. It hasn't changed since I visited in 2006. But still a great enclosure.
    We walked up towards the Brown Bear enclosure and sittiing in the middle was only two bears, couldn't see anymore. What has happened to the others? This enclosure was a shocking one. I was hoping to find Whipsnade had improved the enclosure but sadly all there was was a small viewing hut comprising of a dirty opaque window. I also thought the concrete and steel railings may have been changed for a more natural look. The storks and Mara were abundant in the opposite exhibit.
    The Penquins were all out in the enclosure, but to my surprise there were no Kings? All we could see where three. Humbolts, Rockhoppers and new Gentoo penquins i think they were called? We moved up to the reindeer and saw a stags magnificent antlers and lots of Maras! Aslo an un-signposted American Bison Paddock was excellent. No one else seemed to notice it but I had a quick peek.
    Bongo were next on the map and three were out in the paddock. Opposite was the rhino house and Four of the seven Rhinos were snoring, huddled up in the corner. In the 1st Antelope House we saw a new arrival. A male Sitatunga. Next to him in the house were three Roan Antelopes, 1 Male and 2 females. In the main enclosure we saw two adult Rhino and last years baby? Also a small group of around six waterbuck were in there as well.
    In the basic Giraffe house we saw three Reticulated, One male, a female and a female youngster. They never ventured out on our visit which was a shame. This Giraffe House was a bit depressing as It had very small stalls and viewing bars right up against the Stalls, which meant the giraffes really had no privacy.
    Down to the otters where there were about five or six playing in the stream and eating some eggs. Opposite that was an unsign-posted Silvery Marmoset which had an incredibly small exhibit (More like Hamerton Zoo). The Lone female red panda was sitting high in her tree. This was such a disappointing enclosure as It was very out-dated and cramped. We only saw one red panda which I am guessing is the maximum occupancy for this exhibit which was good! Opposite the female red panda were two or three Black and White ruffed Lemurs.
    Near these the zoo had two large enclosures which housed four Ostriches and lots of Gemsbok. Also a lone Male Common Zebra was sat lonesome inthe middle. Is he elderly or just a breeding Male for Londons Zebras? Anyhow this was a great exhibit.
    Finally we made our way round to the noisy Wild Bite Cafe. Its so hard to choose your meal when a rush of Kids and worried parents bash past you! Inside seating was inadequate and terribly cramped. We hurridly sat outside with a lovely view of the lake. The prices were not too bad as we all had soup and a roll for £10.50 all in.The Jumbo Express passed by and that was our next visit...

    The comments made in this review are my personal opinions.
    More to come later...
     
    Last edited: 28 Oct 2009
  2. CZJimmy

    CZJimmy Well-Known Member

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    Good review so far and looking forward to reading the rest, but I can't agree with you on the brown bear enclosure :p

    I reckon it is one of the best bear enclosures in the UK despite the fact it is nearly ancient (in zoo terms!)
     
  3. ZooLeopard

    ZooLeopard Well-Known Member

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    It was good but just the fencing and abundance of concrete let it down.:(
     
  4. Maguari

    Maguari Never could get the hang of Thursdays. Premium Member

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    Agreed - Whipsnade's Brown Bear exhibit is excellent (much better than many newer bear exhibits).

    ZooLeopard - not sure why you were expecting Emperor Penguins - Whipsnade did have Kings fairly recently - perhaps you were thinking of these? Currently the Kings at Birdland and Edinburgh are the UK's only Aptenodytes.
     
  5. ZooLeopard

    ZooLeopard Well-Known Member

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    Sorry meant Kings, where did they go?
     
  6. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    What you actually saw in the Giraffe House was(I believe) 2 adult female Giraffe and the younger male calf of one of them, that's UNLESS a new male has arrived recently? The only 'calf' is a male. (Another older male born there was recently sent to Port Lympne).

    The Brown Bears number 4 (all female) They can all be seen at the public feeding- otherwise its a matter of luck how many you see. Although admittedly it is very old, this enclosure is still pretty good for the bears, don't you think?

    I believe the single Chapman's zebra is a 'bachelor' sent from another park.(but its not the old Marwell one, he has finally died)

    Why not stick with the original Whipsnade thread you started, instead of starting yet another?
     
  7. Nisha

    Nisha Well-Known Member

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    The female red panda is part of a new pair. She only arrived in the summer and is awaiting a partner.
     
  8. CZJimmy

    CZJimmy Well-Known Member

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    ISIS lists 2.2 still so it's either still listing the male who is now at PL or a new one has arrived

    Edit: Port Lympne aren't listed under Reticulated Giraffe, so Whipsnade's listing hasn't been updated yet
     
  9. ZooLeopard

    ZooLeopard Well-Known Member

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    Oh ok, the giraffes were not very active but had lovely markings. I thought one of the adult giraffes had a noticible male appearence (If you know what i mean!) Do you know why the male common zebra is on his own with the gemsbok and ostrich?
     
  10. John Dineley

    John Dineley Well-Known Member

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    I agree when you also consider it is apparently the oldest surviving exhibit in the zoo; Whipsnade opened in 1931. I do however concur that the aesthetics of the fencing isn't to good but that hardly affects the bears themselves.
     
  11. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    There was no adult male at Whipsnade in September but two young males, one of which has now transferred to Port Lympne.
     
  12. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    The more recently arrived female Giraffe(Nia?) is very big and tall so you probably presumed it was the male. (She has a lumpy damaged horn on one side of her head from an old injury) The smaller female (summer?) is the breeding female.

    The Chapman's zebra male joined the other male which came from Marwell some years ago- when that one died quite recently he was the oldest Chapman's in captivity. The current one is now a 'single' like the other was. Whipsnade used to have a group of common Zebra but not for many years now.
     
  13. Shorts

    Shorts Well-Known Member

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    Exactly, it's just a bit jarring for some modern sensibilities. Personally I like it as it's a visible piece of "zoo history" in an enclosure which is still being used without any detriment to the animals. All Whipsnade need to do is to put up a sign to explain this perspective to the visitors.
     
  14. ZooLeopard

    ZooLeopard Well-Known Member

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    Sadly I am still away until Saturday, so I cannot continue the review till then. :(
     
  15. bongorob

    bongorob Well-Known Member

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    The king penguins left about 5-6 years ago. Nice to hear they have gentoos again as there were none when I visited in September. I saw all the bears on my visit at around 10.15am, they were being fed by two keepers and a small group of child helpers eagerly throwing fruit over the fence while the staff dealt with the carrots.
     
  16. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    They certainly all appear for the feeding. It was about 11 a.m when I went. The keepers ask the kids in the audience to guess how many buckets of food each bear eats. I think they name/identify the four bears as well.
     
  17. ZooLeopard

    ZooLeopard Well-Known Member

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    Review Part 2

    As we left the station, the Jumbo express steamed past the childrens zoo which showed The Highland Cattle and a pair of donkeys on holiday form london. Also the Emu are now near the Llamas. Past the elephants we saw Emmet on his own and the others happily playing in their yard. Past the Indian Rhino paddock was the best bit. We saw around three all standing close to the track and then the big male admiring the train. Past the large group of camels and yak we came across the the large herd of pere david deer. After lots of other deer and antelope we travelled through the tunnel and into the Gemsbok paddock with the lone male common zebra in.

    After we got off the rain we watched the Sealion show only to find that there was only Salt the elderly female Californion Sealion performing. We watched her perform in her rather out-dated pool, balancing balls on her nose and juming hoops. She seemed really well cared for. Did the big male die as a new two year old male has now arrived?

    Next we walked up to the tigers and there was a female tiger happily sitting in her den. This was a lovely enclosure for them. Next we saw a lone male Gaur which was a shame. Is he new or just a breeding male? Then the Przewalski Horses and Onagers. Both had foals and its great to see they are still breeding well at Whipsnade. The Sloth Bears from London were feeding in their enclosure as we approached. Being from London they seemed really well suited to this vast enlcosure.

    After seeing the magnificent Chilean Flamingoes we all decided to check out the new Cheetah Rock. I have to say it was very Dissapointing in my view. A lot of land was wasted on ponds and pathways. The hut was fantastic for the visitors but I am not sure about the Cheetahs. Anyway, behind the left hand side cheetah enclosure was a group of what looked like deer or antelope. Any ideas on this? Looked like Blackbuck but much bigger.

    Onto the Lions and it was well laid out and really looked like an african village. Again the glass was a bit ugly and kids seemed to be able to tease the lions sitting near the hot glass windows. There were around seven Lions in the enclosure. Are they last years cubs or new arrivals?. The meerkat exhibit was good and well thought out. I have some questions about this area as I saw two Red River Hogs behind it. Any ideas where they came from or why they are at Whipsnade? Also some unidentified Deer where next to the Hogs. What are they?

    We moved onto the Hippos. One pygmy was outside and one indoors. Suddenly two of the Common Hippos rushed into their pool indoors covered in slurry water. I had to tell people around me not to go yuck as it is a natural. It doesn't mean that the hippos are not looked after. On the map it says that there is nothing opposite the Oryx but we found a large collection of female Greater Kudu. They were lovely to watch. Have the Arabian Oryx left? Also the pygmy hippos were not on the map.

    Thats it, I think :)
     
  18. John Dineley

    John Dineley Well-Known Member

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    Yes 'Barcley' died in June this year followed later by the old female 'Liz'. Do they have a new male or was it 'Dom' who was born to 'Liz' in 2007?

    Of course, the pool was the old dolphin pool: ZSL stopped displaying dolphins in 1988. Apparently the design is the result of studying other dolphin facilities in Europe at the time of it's construction in 1972.

    One well know zoo director with a good knowledge of dolphin keeping wryly commented that they must have taken every bad design feature from European dolphinaria and incorporated into the Whipsnade pool. :D
     
  19. Kifaru Bwana

    Kifaru Bwana Well-Known Member

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    Which are the current Indian rhino at Whipsnade?
    The 2 Nepal cows + 1.1 offspring.
    Who is the male and where from?

    Onager:
    Breeding group composition: 1.1 ... just a pair (?) + 1 foal?
     
  20. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    Indian rhino bull is 'Hugo' (born Rotterdam?)

    Onagers; 1.1 original stock + 0.2 newcomers(from Europe?)
    No new foals in September- now?
    1.0 born last year now held in seperate paddock.