Monday, 27 July 2009

Wildwood e-news July 2009
In the July edition of Wildwood's e-newsletter we have:
1.   BABY PINE MARTENS -  Pandora produces kits
2.   PHOTO DAYS - Take photos of animals around the park
3.   LITTLE EGRET CHICKS - Youngsters proof of global warming
4.   MEMBERS WEEKEND - Behind the scenes and meet an animal
5.   BB COMES TO WILDWOOD - New Badger in enclosure
6.   BEE DAY - Learn all about Wildwood bees
7.   BABY POLECATS - Magic gives birth
8.   TODDLER CLUB - Summer picnic
9.   TENTH BIRTHDAY PARTY - Great day had by all
10. SUMMER HOLIDAY EVENTS - What is going on during the holidays
11. FOSSIL HUNT - Bronze age paddle found
12. ROAD SIGN DAMAGED - New sign graffitied
13. CAN YOU HELP? - Toddler club picnic needs an entertainer
14. FALLOW FAWN BORN - Mum gives birth
15. WILDWOOD ART COURSE - Painting and drawing in the park

1.  BABY PINE MARTENS - Pandora produces kits
Wildwood is celebrating this week the announcement that the park has successfully bred pine martens in captivity for the first time.
Wildwood Kent's award winning woodland discovery park has been trying to breed these threatened creatures for over three years and at last has been successful where many other collections have failed.
Pandora the proud mum produced two youngsters, but initially the keepers only had the evidence of unusual noises and more food being eaten.
A few weeks ago the kits were seen poking their heads out and have since then been seen regularly by both keepers and some visitors.
Pine martens are a very difficult species to keep in captivity, never mind to breed, so the park is justifiably proud of this achievement.
"The breeding centre has proved to be a real success" commented Paul Wirdnam Head Keeper at Wildwood "The team here has created a series of tunnels that allow us to manage the pine martens and copy wild behaviour and this is one of the reasons we now have these youngsters".
Until the 19th Century, pine martens were found throughout much of mainland Britain, the Isle of Wight and some of the Scottish islands. Habitat fragmentation, persecution by gamekeepers and martens being killed for their fur, drastically reduced this distribution. By 1926, the main pine marten population in Britain was restricted to a small area of north-west Scotland. Martens are now increasing their range in Scotland, but it is not known whether their populations in England and Wales are expanding, or even if they still exist.
"These new babies will be part of a scheme to reintroduce pine martens to the South east of England" commeted Peter Smith, Chief Executive of Wildwood "We a committed to restoring the pine marten to its former homes across the UK. Pine martens lived throughout the UK until they where trapped, poisoned and shot by gamekeepers in the 19th and 20th century."

More Facts about Pine Martens
Pine Marten Martes martes


Dark brown fur; yellow/white throat patch; long fluffy tail.
Head/body length: males 51-54cm; females 46-54cm;
Tail length: males 26-27cm; females 18-24cm. Weight: males 1.5-2.2kg; females 0.9-1.5kg.

General Ecology:

Pine martens are found in the Scottish Highlands and Grampian, with isolated populations in southern Scotland. In England and North Wales pine martens are probably on the verge of extinction although there may still be isolated individuals present in Northumberland and North Yorkshire.
Although they occur in a wide range of habitats, pine martens prefer well-wooded areas with plenty of cover. Marten dens are commonly found in hollow trees or the fallen root masses of Scots pines, an association that probably earned pine martens their name; cairns and cliffs covered with scrub are frequently used as alternative den sites.
Martens have a very varied diet, which changes with the seasonal availability of different foods. Small rodents are a very important food, but birds, beetles, carrion, eggs and fungi are also eaten. In autumn, berries are a staple part of the diet. Martens mostly hunt on the ground, although they are superb climbers and can climb with great agility.
Martens have territories that vary in size according to habitat and food availability. For males these are about 10-25 square kilometres and for females about 5-15 square kilometres. Martens mark their territories with faeces (known as scats) deposited in places where they are conspicuous to other martens; they are frequently left along forestry trails.
Young martens are born blind and hairless, in litters of 1-5, in early spring and stay with their mothers for about six weeks. Their eyes open at the end of May and by mid-June they begin to emerge from their den. Male martens play no direct part in rearing the young. Pine martens have lived up to 17 years in captivity, but in the wild most probably die before they are eight years old.


Martens and their dens are fully protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981) and must not be trapped, sold or disturbed except under licence from Scottish Natural Heritage, the Countryside Council for Wales or English Nature. Despite this legal protection, poisoned baits and traps, often set for hooded crows and foxes, still probably account for many marten deaths each year. Others are also shot at hen houses, and some are killed when mistaken for mink.
Until the 19th Century, pine martens were found throughout much of mainland Britain, the Isle of Wight and some of the Scottish islands. Habitat fragmentation, persecution by gamekeepers and martens being killed for their fur, drastically reduced this distribution. By 1926, the main pine marten population in Britain was restricted to a small area of north-west Scotland. Martens are now increasing their range in Scotland, but it is not known whether their populations in England and Wales are expanding, or even if they still exist.
Prime habitats for pine martens seem to be well wooded areas, with high densities of voles that are their principal prey. Female pine martens with young are extremely sensitive to human disturbance, which can cause a female to move her young from a den or even eat them.
Increased forestry and enlightened estate management are likely to help pine martens recolonise their former haunts in the future. In areas where pine martens currently occur, practical management methods may also assist survival. Important measures that can be taken are planting connections between suitable habitats to prevent further fragmentation; creation and maintenance of cover particularly along streams, to provide travel routes and shelter and management of habitats for voles and other food items
(Photo credit Cali Bebbington)

2.   PHOTO DAYS - Take photos of animals around the park
Wildwood is offering the opportunity to take photos of our animals with our resident phtographer Ryan Ladbrook.
These days will allow photographers of all skills levels the chance to get close to and photograph British animals, at the same time Ryan will be on hand to give help and advice on how to get those special shots.
Different animals will be photographed across the day.
Days will run from 10:30 – 12:30 and 1:30 – 3:30 allowing an hour for lunch when you can make use of our restaurant or bring your own packed lunch.
The days will have a minimum of four people up to a maximum of 10.
The cost will be £75 per person.
This unique day is on Saturday September 19th with further dates later in the year.
If you would like to book or would like more information please contact Martyn on 01227 712111 or e-mail
All information and booking form available on download
(Photo credit Ken Blackwell)

3.  LITTLE EGRET CHICKS - Youngsters proof of global warming
Little Egrets have successfully hatched chicks at the park, this is further proof of the effects of global warming on Britains climate, warming it enough so that these birds can breed effectively. Wildwood is the first carbon zero zoo in the UK using a 20kw wind turbine, solar thermal and Photovoltaics to run the park ensuring that the Little Egrets upkeep within the park is does not contrivbute to global climate change.
The Little Egret (Egretta garzetta) is a small white heron with plumes on its head and chest which frequents marshes and shallow fresh and coastal waters, over the last few years has made its home on British shores.
Unfortunately the plumes of the Little Egret and other egrets were in demand for decorating hats in Europe. They had been used for this purpose since at least the 17th century but in the 19th century it became a major craze and the number of egret skins passing through dealers reached into the millions.
Hunting had reduced the population of the species to dangerously low levels (concern about this stimulated the establishment of Britain's RSPB in 1889). Now conservation laws protect this species, and the population has rebounded strongly in their traditional haunts but they are now successfully breeding in the wild in the UK too.
Peter Smith, Wildwood Trust's Chief Executive said:
"The Little Egret is another example of a creature brought almost to extinction by man yet we have been able to conserve and build the populations by proper conservation and the birth of these chicks demonstrates that the Wildwood Trust, as a charity, is committed to restoring our native and once native species".

More Facts about Little Egret
The adult Little Egret is 55-65 cm long with an 88-106 cm wingspan. It weighs 350-550 grams. Its plumage is all white. It has long black legs with yellow feet and a slim black bill. In the breeding season, the adult has two long nape plumes and gauzy plumes on the back and breast. The bare skin between the bill and eyes becomes red or blue. Juveniles are similar to non-breeding adults but have duller legs and feet.
Little Egrets are mostly silent but make various croaking and bubbling calls at their breeding colonies and produce a harsh alarm call when disturbed.
The Little Egret nests in colonies, often with other wading birds, usually on platforms of sticks in trees, shrubs, reed beds or bamboo groves. In some locations such as the Cape Verde Islands, the species nests on cliffs. Pairs defend a small breeding territory, usually extending around 3-4 m from the nest. The three to five eggs are incubated by both adults for 21-25 days to hatching. They are oval in shape and have a pale, non-glossy, blue-green colour. The young birds are covered in white down feathers, are cared for by both parents and fledge after 40 to 45 days.
Little Egrets stalk their prey in shallow water, often running with raised wings or shuffling their feet. They also stand still and wait to ambush prey. It eats a variety of small animals including fish, amphibians, crustaceans, and insects.
(Photo credit Phil Houghton)

4.   MEMBERS WEEKEND - Behind the scenes and meet an animal
On Saturday and Sunday July 11-12th Wildwood is holding it's annual members weekend.
For children there is a meet the animal session at 10:30, 11:00, 11:30. 12:00 and 12:30. These are 15 minutes long and children will be introduced to one of our small animals, this is for children of members only and they must be accompanied by an adult.
For adults there will be a behind the scenes with dormice session at 2:00 & 3:30. Members (18+) can spend an hour learning about dormice and our breeding & conservation programmes.
These events must be booked so please contact the office on 01227 712111
(Photo credit Veronika Lenarth)

5.   BB COMES TO WILDWOOD - New Badger in enclosure
Wildwoods very own Big Brother is playing out in the badger enclosure. Just over two weeks ago Wildwood introduced a new badger in to the enclosure containing our two hand reared animals Big and Medium Boar
Rhoda a wild badger is living in her own purpose built cage within the existing enclosure so that the three can become acquainted.
Rhoda was caught by East Kent Badger Group members in the Lyminge area after a farmer discovered her inside his chicken run. She had killed several chickens but instead of shooting her the farmer contacted the Badger group.
When the team arrived at the farm they found Rhoda asleep on top of some hay and realised that there was something wrong with her.
After capturing her she was examined and found to be lactating but after a thorough search of the area no cubs could be found. Rhoda was transported to a secret location and the vet prescribed antibiotics and vitamins as well as a building diet and transferred to Wildwood on the 28th May. Wildwood is very pleased to give Rhoda a home (unfortunately once a badger becomes a chicken killer they repeat the behaviour) in the hope that she will become part of our badger family.
"We are so pleased that the farmer called us" commented Martin Newcombe founder member of the East Kent Badger Group "Even though he had the right to shoot her because of the damnage she had caused he asked us for help and we were more than pleased to assist"
It is hoped that the two boys will get to know Rhoda and that they will all be able to live happily together and that there will be no evictions from the Badger Big Brother enclosure.
Wildwood is setting up a camera to keep an eye on the goings on and to see how well they are getting on before Rhoda is allowed to get out of her enclosure.
"This is always a bit fraught" commented Ally Bennett Wildwood Keeper, "we are hoping that they will all get on well together and that this time to get acquainted will really pay off"

More Facts about Badgers
Black and white striped face. Body grey, black fur on legs.
Head/body length: about 750mm, tail 150mm
Weight: average 8-9kg in spring, 11-12kg in autumn.

General Ecology:

Badgers are nocturnal and rarely seen during the day. When not active, badgers usually lie up in an extensive system of underground tunnels and nesting chambers, known as a sett and are used by successive generations of badgers. This involves the excavation of tons of earth.
Badgers live in social groups of four to 12 adults. Only one female badger in a social group normally breeds, although occasionally two or more may do so. Litters of two or three cubs are usually born in February.
Badgers are widespread in Britain but are most common in the south west, rare in East Anglia and only thinly distributed in Scotland.
Badgers are omnivorous feed on earthworms(up to 200 per night), frogs, rodents, birds, eggs, lizards, insects, bulbs, seeds and berries.
Badgers are less active during winter months but they do not hibernate.
Badger prints are broader than they are long with five toes and five long, non-retractable powerful claws that they use for digging.
In 1988 there were estimated to be around 42,000 social groups of badgers, and just under 200,000 adult badgers. By 1997 this had risen to just over 50,000 social groups and 310,000 adult badgers. The population is now probably stable. Mortality is high, with around one-fifth of adults dying each year. Road traffic accidents are a major cause of death. The maximum life expectancy of a badger is about 14 years, though very few survive so long.


Badgers are protected by a number of laws. Badgers may not be deliberately killed, persecuted or trapped. Where badgers pose a problem, licences can be issued to permit certain activities. Badger baiting (using dogs to fight badgers) has been outlawed since 1835. The Badgers Act 1973 afforded limited protection against badger digging, but this practice was not finally outlawed until 1981.
The Protection of Badgers Act 1992 consolidates past badger legislation and, in addition to protecting the badger itself, makes it an offence to damage, destroy or obstruct badger setts.
About 80 local groups have been formed by enthusiasts wishing to protect and study badgers. There are many positive ways to help badger conservation. These include protecting badgers from diggers and baiters by re-inforcing setts, helping with care and rehabilitation of injured badgers, having tunnels and badger proof fencing added to new road schemes and giving advice about setts in the way of developers.
(Photo credit Chris Noble)

6.    BEE DAY - Learn all about Wildwood bees
Sunday July 19
11am-1pm & 2-4pm
Learn all about these fascinating insects with bee keeper John Holmes.
You can also buy honey made by Wildwood bees at the shop.
This is a free event but ususal admission or membership must be paid.
(Photo Credit - Papillion)

7.    BABY POLECATS - Magic gives birth
Magic (proud mum) and Colwyn (who is on breeding loan to the park) have produced a litter of babies.
The pair had been getting on like a "house on fire"  and the litter is proof of just how well they have got along!
"Magic is being a great mother" commented Karen Price - a Wildwood Keeper, "she is still keeping the babies hidden but as they get bigger over the coming weeks we will see them venturing out on their own".
Polecats are the wild ancestors of the domesticated ferret. They have a distinctive "Robber" style mask face markings. These animals have largely disappeared from much of Britain thanks to the heavy persecution gamekeepers.
Polecat populations have seen some recovery in their stronghold in central Wales, and they are beginning to repopulate eastwards. The babies are part of a breeding scheme and members of the public may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of them at the park.
Peter Smith, Wildwood Trust's Chief Executive said:
"Polecats are slowly recovering from the persecution that almost wiped them out, and Wildwood is pleased to be so actively involved in breeding them"
Photos are of Polecat babies born in 2007.

More facts about European polecat
Mustela putorius
Domestic ferrets are closely related to polecats and the two species sometimes interbreed.
Life span: Up to 5 years.
Statistics: Head and body length: male: 35-46cm, female: 30-40cm. Weight: 600-900g.
Physical description :Polecats have long cylindrical bodies, with short legs, short blunt faces and small, rounded ears. They have buff-coloured underfur, and dark brown guard hairs covering the body. Polecats have white markings on the muzzle and around the eyes and ears. Their tails are short and furry.
Distribution: They range across Europe. In Britain, polecats are restricted to Wales due to heavy persecution by humans in the past.
Habitat: Polecats prefer forest habitats.
Diet: They mainly hunt rabbits, small rodents and birds, but polecats also feed on amphibians, carrion and bird eggs. They stalk their prey, and after seizing it, they kill with a quick bite to the neck.
Behaviour: The size of polecat ranges vary according to habitat, season and food availability, but the mean area is 100 hectares. They build dens among rocks and tree roots, or sometimes in old rabbit burrows.
Polecats are solitary and are predominantly nocturnal. They produce a strong smell from their anal glands that is used to mark their territories.
Reproduction: They breed once a year, producing litters of 5-8 kits after a gestation period of 40-42 days. The kits are weaned after 4 weeks.
Conservation status: Polecats were once almost extinct in Britain. They are considered to be a pest of games and poultry, and have been persecuted for this. They were formerly killed for their fur. Despite diminishing populations, they are not considered to be endangered.
Carnivorous mammal of the Weasel family.
The name refers especially to the common Old World polecat, Mustela putorius, found in wooded areas of N Eurasia and N Africa.
Similar to weasels, but larger and with longer fur, polecats grow to nearly 2 ft (60 cm) long, including the 6-in. (15-cm) tail. The fur, sold under the name fitch and much used in the early 19th cent., is dark brown above, with yellow patches on the ears and face. The belly, feet, and tail are nearly black.
Like other members of its family, polecats have a scent gland under the tail which emits a fetid secretion used for territorial marking; the gland is most active when the animals are alarmed. In fact the North American Skunk is a member of the same family.
Polecats were nicknamed in French 'poule chat', meaning 'chicken cat', because of their well-earned reputation for killing chickens. Don't be fooled by the name, however, they bear no relation to cats.
Solitary, nocturnal animals, they spend the day in dens.
They feed on small animals and eggs and are quite destructive to poultry and small game.
A male polecat is called a Hob, and the female a Jill
(Photo Credit - Kent News and Pictures)

8.  TODDLER CLUB - Summer picnic
Monday July 20
Join the toddler club for their annual picnic (bring your own food) outside if the weather allows.
Please note that this is open only to members
(Photo Credit - Mollychicken)

9. TENTH BIRTHDAY PARTY - Great day had by all
On Friday 12th June Wildwood Kent's award winning woodland discovery park celebrated its tenth birthday.
The park invited those involved with the original setting up of the park, trustees of the charity, staff, as well as current members.
Keepers had made a special birthday cake made of sugar free sponge and covered in dog food icing, and decorated with dog biscuits and peanuts.
This was presented to our two hand reared badgers - Big and Medium Boar, who with no encouragement tucked in to the birthday cake.
"Wildwood proper came in to existence ten years ago" commented Peter Smith Chief Executive of Wildwood " and became a charity a little while later, over the years we have given many visitors great pleasure as well as making a positive difference in the conservation of British species"
Wildwood Trust is developing a unique understanding of British wildlife and its conservation, and our expertise is being utilised by nearly all the government and non- governmental organisations concerned with protecting our natural environment.
More Facts about Wildwood
Wildwood is a unique charity which promotes nature conservation. We do this from our unique Woodland Discovery Park which allows people a chance to see British wildlife past and present in an ancient woodland habitat.
Wildwood Trust is developing a unique understanding of British wildlife and its conservation, and our expertise is being utilised by nearly all the government and non- governmental organisations concerned with protecting our natural environment.

Many of the wild animals that we work with at Wildwood are in urgent need of protection, and are listed in local and national Biodiversity Action Plans (BAPs). These species include the water vole, red squirrel, pine martin and harvest mouse and the hazel dormouse. The water vole, which was until recently widespread in lowland Britain, is now the most endangered mammal in the UK. These critically endangered species need to be rescued, trans-located and captive bred if we are to ensure their survival. 

Wildwood has developed a highly successful water vole breeding and reintroduction programme over the past few years. We now want to continue this successful conservation programme across other Endangered UK BAP registered species.

The mission of Wildwood Trust is to conserve wildlife and involve people. Wildwood Trust has a membership of over 39,000 and an active volunteer base of over 30.

An independent charity, Wildwood Trust was formed in March 2002 with the aim of bringing the joy of wildlife to everyone through practical nature conservation and inspirational education. Wildwood Trust can trace its roots back to when one of its founders started a nature reserve for people to visit in 1978 and then from that developed a British wildlife park at Wildwood’s main site. The park was attached to a woodland industry site dating back many hundreds of years and has been historically linked to the management of the surrounding Blean Woods complex, England’s largest ancient woodland.

The aims of Wildwood Trust are twofold.  We work to protect British wildlife and wild places for current and future generations and we aim to provide the means by which everyone can enjoy and understand the wildlife we seek to protect.  The only way we can achieve this is to work in partnership with a diverse range of stakeholders including local authorities, landowners, statutory agencies and the business community.
(Photo Credit - Phil Houghton)

10.   SUMMER HOLIDAY EVENTS - What is going on during the holidays
During the whole six weeks of the Summer Holiday

11am-1pm & 2-4pm:
Get hands on! - See and handle artefacts like antlers, skins and skulls.
Summer Holiday Trail - collect the special trail sheets from the shop.
Animal Talks & Feeds - check the notice boards.
Animal Encounters - Look out for one of our tutors who may be carrying an animal for you to meet.
These are free events just drop in, normal admission or membership must be paid

THURSDAY July 23, Aug 6 & 20
10am-12noon or 2-4pm:
Junior Zoo Keeper (7-11yrs) - Short course on life as a zoo keeper - prepare animal feed & treats and meet an animal. £50 per child, MUST?BOOK.

THURSDAY July 30, Aug 13 & 27
Junior Zoo Keeper (12-17yrs) - See what it is like to be a zoo keeper for a day at Wildwood. £100 per child, MUST?BOOK.
Please call 01227 712111 to book the Junior Keeper event.

11. FOSSIL HUNT - Bronze age paddle found
On Sunday June 21st Wildwood hosted a Kent RIGS (Regionally Important Geological and geomorphological Sites) fossil day. In the morning members of RIGS brought their fossil road show to the education centre. Visitors were able to see examples of many of the fossils that can be found in the local area, like sharks teeth, mammoth bone, ammonites and sea urchins.
In the afternoon with the expert guidance of RIGS members, there was an opportunity to look for fossils at Long Rock at Swalecliffe. This year was a great success with bronze age bone (which showed signs of being butchered, lots of fossilised wood, a bronze age gold ear-ring and most exciting of all a bronze age paddle was also found. There are only about six of these recorded in the UK. The paddle has the central shaft missing but is otherwise in a remarkable state of preservation.
The paddle is currently awaiting the county conservator to have a look at it and is in the care of Wildwood stored in water.

12. ROAD SIGN DAMAGED - New sign graffitied
When Keepers arrived at work on Wednesday 17th June they noticed that the large road sign had been defaced by vandals using spray paint.
The maintenanace crew with advice from the sign manufacturer got straight on to cleaning the sign and have successfully removed the offending additions. Though it has damaged the surface, which may now weather differently from the rest of the sign.
The signs were put at last year to replace very old ones and cost the park a considerable amount money.
"It is annoying that this mindless type of vandalism happens" commented Chris Towner, Head Ranger of Wildwood "A member of my team spent a whole day repairing the damage done by someone in only moments and I need all my people working on essential projects around the park"
Wildwood hopes that this was a one time event and will not have to spend valuable money on preventing it happening again, as the charity is here to conserve and protect wildlife not clean up after vandals.

13. CAN YOU HELP? - Toddler club picnic needs an entertainer
Are you a childs entertainer?  may be a magician or a balloon modeller or something else.
Could you help out the toddler club by entertaining toddlers, mums and other kids at the annual toddlers club picnic?
The event will be taking place at Wildwood on Monday 20th July betrween 10:30am and 12:30pm.
If you think you could help then please contact Penny on 01227 712111 or
(Photo Credit - Pete Jolson)

14. FALLOW FAWN BORN - Mum gives birth 
On Friday 19th June visitors were entranced by one of the hinds giving birth to a fawn.
The doe gave birth just as a number of school groups were walking around the paddock and when the youngster made its way to its feet (some what shakily) the crowd gave a great cheer which caused the little one to fall down again but he soon got up and was getting fed by mum.
"It was magical" commented Judi Dunne "so often the doe's give birth at the back of the paddock but she chose to do it in full view of visitors, the children loved it".
Mum and fawn are doing well and more births (though probably not as public) are expected over the coming weeks.


More Facts about Fallow Deer

Dama dama
Recognition. Intermediate in size between roe and red deer. There are four main variations in coat but many minor variations also exist including a long-haired version found in Mortimer forest, Shropshire. The common variety is the familiar tan/fawn colour with white spotting (becoming long and grey with indistinct spots in winter) on the flanks and white rump patch outlined with characteristic black horse-shoe. The Menil variety is paler, lacks the black bordered rump and keeps its white spots all year. The black variety is almost entirely black with no white coloration anywhere. Finally, the white variety can be white to sandy coloured and becomes more white at adulthood. This is a true colour variety and not albinism, which is rare. The fallow is the only British deer with palmate antlers.
Adult size. Bucks (males): 84 to 94cm at shoulder, 46 to 94kg. Does (females): 73 to 91cm at shoulder, 35 to 56kg.
Antlers. Palmate in adult (>3 years), increase in size with age, up to 70cm long.
Life span. Exceptionally, 16 years, bucks (males) rarely exceed 8 to 10 years. Status. Non-native but considered naturalised. Locally abundant and increasing.
UK distribution. Widespread in England and Wales, patchy in Scotland.
Habitat. Mature broadleaf woodland with under-storey, open coniferous woodland, open agricultural land.
Food & feeding. Preferential grazers of grasses although trees and dwarf shrub shoots will be taken during autumn and winter.
Origins & history. The extant species of fallow deer found in Britain was introduced by the Normans in the 10th century although some would suggest that the Romans attempted to introduce it here much earlier. Fallow deer were prized as ornamental species and were protected in Royal Hunting "Forests" for royal sport. During Mediaeval times many deer parks that held fallow deer were established and these and more recent park escapees have given rise to the free-living populations in Britain today.
Social Organisation. Group sizes as well as the degree of sexual segregation varies according to population density and habitat. Groups of adult males and females, usually with young, remain apart for most of the year in large woodlands, only coming together to breed. Sexes freely mix in large herds throughout the year in open, agricultural environments. 
Vocalisation. During the rut bucks groan tremendously and does with fawns give a short bark when alarmed.
The rut. Behaviour is dependent upon the environment and population density. In most populations bucks maintain a traditional, defended rutting stand. In others a temporary rutting stand is maintained to attract sufficient does to herd them into a harem. In areas with very high buck densities a lek may be formed. In lower density areas bucks may simply seek out receptive females. During conflict, the escalation of display behaviour in bucks, from groaning and parallel walks to fighting, is in common with other larger species of deer.  Follow this link for an amateur film of Fallow in the rut: 
Breeding.  Adult does give birth to a single fawn in June after a gestation of 229 days.
Activity. Fallow deer are active throughout the 24-hour period but make more use of open spaces during the hours of darkness in populations experiencing frequent disturbance.
Peak times of activity are at dawn and dusk. Most hours of the day time are spent "lying up", which is where the deer lies down to ruminate between feeding bouts.
Economic factors. Browsing of tree shoots and agricultural crops puts fallow deer in conflict with farmers and foresters due to the potential economic damage. Their propensity for reaching very high local densities can result in high local levels of damage. Conversely, many country and forest estates can gain substantial revenue from recreational stalking and/or venison production. Fallow deer are also farmed for their venison and are one of the most important ornamental park species in the UK. Whether in conflict or used as a resource, fallow deer populations require careful management to maintain health and quality and ensure a sustainable balance with their environment.

15. WILDWOOD ART COURSE - Painting and drawing in the park
This is an opportunity for artists of all levels to paint and draw the animals and and landscapes of Wildwood. With on site tuition and critique from local artist Sonia McNally.
Sonia McNally is a professional artist specialising in landscape painting and drawing, she graduated from Canterbury Christ Church University with a first class Fine Art Degree and co-ordinates and teaches on landscape painting trips to Dartmoor.
The days will run from 10am - 3:30pm (a little later during summer months) and will cost £75.00 per person.
The dates available are:
Wed 9th September
Tues 6th October
Wed 4th November
Wed 2nd December
Thurs 7th January
Thurs 4th February
If you are interested then please contact Sonia on or on 07971 212191
(Photo Credit - Lauren Lank)

Martyn Nicholls
Press Officer
Wildwood Trust
Tel: 01227 712111
Wildwood Trust
Herne Common
Herne Bay
Registered Charity No 1093702
Wildwood Trust is Kent's unique 'Woodland Discovery Park', a visitor attraction with a difference.
Wildwood is not only the best place to bring the family for a day out, but it is also a bold and innovative new charity, backed by the UK's leading wildlife conservationists. As a new charity Wildwood needs everyone's support in its mission to save our native and once native wildlife from extinction.
Wildwood Trust's vision is to bring back our true 'wildwood', a unique new way of restoring Britain's land to its natural state. This involves releasing large wild herbivores and developing conservation grazing systems to restore natural ecological processes to help Britain team with wildlife again.
The Wildwood 'Woodland Discovery Park' is an ideal day out for all the family where you can come 'nose to nose' with British Wildlife. Wildwood offers its members and visitors a truly inspirational way to learn about the natural history of Britain by actually seeing the wildlife that once lived here.
Set in a sublime 38 acres of Ancient Woodland, Wildwood offers visitors a truly unique experience. Come Nose to Nose with our secretive badgers, experience what it is like to be hunted by a real live pack of wolves, watch a charging wild boar or track down a beaver in his lodge.
Wildwood Trust runs a highly successful programme of Conservation Projects
- we are the UK's leading experts in rescuing and re-establishing colonies of Britain's most threatened mammal, the water vole. Wildwood Trust has pioneered the use of ancient wild horses to restore nature reserve. Wildwood Trust has been at the forefront of efforts to re-establish the European Beaver back in Britain where they belong. European Beaver have been proven to help manage water ways to bring back a huge range of plants, insects and animals.

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