knowsley-safari-park

A Trip to the Zoo

As a committee member of our university’s veterinary zoological society, I organised a behind-the-scenes tour of Knowsley Safari Park for thirty veterinary students. We had an amazing day with a guided tour of the drive-through park, a wild animal care workshop and we got to watch some giraffe training as well.

My notes on technicalities of keeping animals in safari parks:

  • Difference between safari park and zoo
    • Safari park has more space per enclosure
    • Safari parks are more likely to have mixed species in an enclosure
    • In zoos animals go into their houses routinely, therefore are easier to monitor
    • Harder to replicate specific habitats and climates in safari parks
  • Peer David’s deer have webbed feet to move on marshy ground
  • The Iberian wolf is harder to manage in captivity than the typical Grey wolf found in zoos, because of its different pack structure and limited knowledge about the specie
  • African Lions
    • Castrating a male –> no mane growth
    • Vasectomising a male –> mane remains
    • Vitamin A deficiency –> thicker skull bones –> press on brain –> ataxia, head tilt, neck ventroflexion
      • Giving cod liver oil and vitamin A capsules will reduce behaviour
  • Roan antelope are very prone to parasites and secondary infection
  • Infanticide is common in baboons, to confirm status in troop
  • Rhinos – problems with second generation breeding
    • In zoos worldwide, second generation breeding a problem (ie the second generation born at a zoo does not breed well)
    • This may be because of the female offspring staying too close to the mother
    • Separating males from females may help develop more natural behaviour
  • Controlling reproduction in lechwe antelope is difficult 
    • Ring castrating 3 day old males makes horns grow towards eyes, meaning surgery is required
    • Ideal is surgical castration at 8 months
  • Elephants
    • If not continually breeding and pregnant can develop pathologies that reduce likelihood of pregnancy later on
    • Sedation 
      • Inject sedative IV into ear vein on back of ear
      • Check sedation by amount of trunk movement
      • Major risk is falling down after sedation
      • Pressure on tusk while lying down on concrete floor – sand is better substrate
      • Post-anaesthetic myopathy can occur due to reduced blood flow to limbs
      • Elephants need equal lying-time on both sides of body
    • Steps involved in elephant translocation
      • Training beforehand with positive reinforcement – crate/truck/loading training
      • Work with the elephant during the time of day that the translocation will occur (eg evening) so that the elephant isn’t disturbed by the presence of keepers at an unusual time
      • Assessments made
        • Faecal samples to measure steroid levels
        • Tracheal lavage and culture to check for tuberculosis
          • Local anaesthetic into trunk
          • 5 meter endoscope entered into trunk
        • Rectal ultrasound to check reproductive status

today I’m taking Lucas to Yorkshire Wildlife Park.

we’re going to walk with the lions and feed the wallabies and play with the meerkats along with lots more other cool zoo type stuff!

I’m way excited! :D

I’m also doing a summer scrapbook full of all the exciting stuff we’re going to do this summer!

we’re going to go to Knowsley safari park, and swimming, and the park, and then this place and scrap book it all!

if anyone has any other ideas for places to go in or around Leeds with a three year old boy please tell me!

This summer is going to be wonderful and I’m going to spend as all of it with Lucas before he starts school!

so yeah :3

5

Knowsley Safari Park

Went again as we had such a great time for Afia’s birthday and they had an offer on. Well it would have been rude to not go.

Have to say it was an amazing day and I hardly stopped to take any photo’s as I was too busy on the Dodgems, watching the Bird of Prey Show, riding the Tea-Cups and nearly throwing up on the Pirate Ship!

It’s really hard to choose between Chester Zoo and Knowsley but they are both amazing places for different reasons.