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South Lakes Wild Animal Park South Lakes Review

Discussion in 'United Kingdom' started by stubeanz, 11 Apr 2011.

  1. stubeanz

    stubeanz Well-Known Member

    26 Mar 2008
    hertfordshire, england
    Whilst on holiday in the Lake District, I was allowed (by the wife) one zoo trip (however I did manage to wrangle another zoo visit on the way home!). I chose South Lakes Wild Animal Park.

    After traveling an hour and half to get there it literally poured with rain! But rain hasn’t put me off visiting a zoo before, in fact I love it as it tends to put off the crowds.
    I’m still not sure whether I love this zoo or hate it. The entrance wasn’t the most exciting I’ve seen, with a tiny car park however once we were inside the gates, we found they had some uncommon species that i ticked off my mental species list.

    The first exhibit you see are Mandrill and Pygmy Hippo which are both mixed together, I only saw the Mandrill outside throughout the day and could just about spot the two hippos indoors. This set the scene for the rest of the zoo… Almost every exhibit is a mixed species walkthrough.

    The first we went through was called “Madagascar”. It is a very large walk through enclosure taking up roughly one quarter of the zoo. It was a brilliant amount of space for all the animals to free range and many species had the run of the entire zoo (Macaws and lemurs) but was in my mind unfortunately over stocked.
    It had about 7/8 species of lemur which were about the only Madagascan animals in there.

    Here is a list of species kept together.

    Squirrel Monkey
    Cotton-topped Tamarin
    Ring-tailed Lemur
    Black Lemur
    Aloatran Gentle Lemur
    Mongoose Lemur
    Red Ruffed Lemur
    Black and White Ruffed Lemur
    White-fronted Brown Lemur
    Parma Wallaby
    River Sand Wallaby
    Swamp Wallaby (I didn’t see these although there were signs)
    Western Grey Kangaroo
    Red Kangaroo
    White Stork
    Sacred ibis
    Little Egret
    Caribbean Flamingo
    Coscoroba Swan
    European Spoonbill
    Black-tailed Prairie Dog
    Muntjac Deer

    So that’s at least 29 species and there were plenty of other native and non-native water fowl, around. Around this walkthrough there is the tropical house, which houses the indoor Vulture and condor aviary, Fruit bats, kangaroo house and believe it or not an open anaconda enclosure! There is a small farm towards the end of this house.

    Other walkthroughs are the Vulture and Andean Condor walkthrough (was shut during our visit) and The Penguin walkthrough.

    As everybody knows on this forum, this zoo has some unusual mixed exhibits including the ‘south American’ paddock. The Tapir and Capybara were kept from the main enclosure on our visit but the spectacled bear/short clawed otter/ capuchin monkey were free to roam together. I didn’t spot any aggressive behaviour as each species tended to stay away from each other.

    Unfortunately it was so wet that I couldn’t spend all the time I wanted to at the zoo and missed out on the Tiger feed, where the meat is placed high on poles for the tigers to clamber up.

    In all I would say there are some really good parts to South lakes especially the large size enclosures and that the zoo had plenty of uncommon species including a pair of Giant Otters, a group Peralta giraffe (and a very large male Rothschild) and a nice mix of marsupials.
    I did ask a keeper about the Tayra and was told it’s currently in quarantine.
    But I would also say it had the feeling of a zoo that wants to push the boundaries of mixed species exhibits and seems to just throw animals together to see how it goes.

    And if you were wondering about the other zoo I visited on the way home it was Trentham Monkey Forest.