Tuesday, 26 July 2011

New little owls at Wildwood

Wildwood has welcomed it's newest animals, a pair of young little owls.

Little owls are Britain's smallest owl and at just over 20cm in length, are only half the size of a tawny owl, our most familiar species.

The owls, a brother and sister, were found in a workshop and were the only surviving pair of their brood after their mother had sadly died. They were rescued by the owner of the workshop and brought to Wildwood where the keeper team have been taking care of them to build up their strength. The owls are in excellent health are now on public display, but won't be able to go back to the wild as after being hand-reared they won't be able to fend for themselves.

The pair, now around 14 weeks old, have been named Tip-Ex and Bostik, after the Wildwood keepers had to mark one of the owl's claws with a spot of Tip-Ex in order to tell them apart. They are both doing very well and are settling into their enclosure, where visitors can see them as they practice flying from perch to perch.

Head Keeper Paul Wirdnam said "We are really pleased with how the owls are settling in, it's hard to believe that they are almost fully grown as they are such small birds, but that's what makes them special."

Little owls are just one of the huge range of British animals that can be seen at the Wildwood Wildlife Park, for more information visit the website at www.wildwoodtrust.org or telephone 0871 7820087.

Wildwood 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, like the wolf, beaver, red squirrel, wild boar and many more.

Wildwood is situated close to Canterbury, on the A291 between Herne Bay and Canterbury. For more information visit our website at www.wildwoodtrust.org or telephone 0871 782008.




Fiona Paterson
Press Officer
Wildwood Trust

e-mail: fiona@wildwoodtrust.org

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.



Monday, 4 July 2011

Wildwood E-news July '11

Wildwood E-news July '11

1) Say hello to our new badger
2) Birthday parties at Wildwood
3) Drop slide opening hours
4) Animal of the month – Water Vole
5) Bushcraft & Zoo Keeper Experiences at Wildwood
6) New developments at Wildwood for 2011
7) Fundraiser of the month - Lydd Primary school
8) Fundraising for Wildwood
9) Limited spaces available - school Outreach & Education services
10) Donate to Wildwood via JustTextGiving
11) Equipment appeal - can you help? 

1) Say hello to our new badger!

Rodni the badger at Wildwood

Wildwood is proud to introduce our newest addition to the park, Rodni the baby badger.

Rodni, who got her name after being found abandoned in Rodmersham, nr Sittingbourne, was brought to Wildwood by the East Kent Badger Group in April. Before being officially re-homed at Wildwood, Rodni underwent a series of medical checks to confirm that she was healthy enough to join Wildwood's existing clan. During this time Rodni lived with Wildwood keeper Karen Price who enjoyed looking after her at her home.

"Rodni is quite boisterous as you would expect from a young badger, unfortunately after being abandoned she doesn't have the skills to go back to the wild so we have been getting her used to being around people."

Now that Rodni is at Wildwood she is currently living part-time in the badger enclosure until she is used to the environment and is able to hold her own with the other adult badgers. Karen said "As Rodni is a lot smaller than our other badgers we need to be sure that she will be able to look after herself so we are introducing her slowly to the enclosure and the other badgers. Once she is a little larger and at home with the clan then she will live with them full time."

Keep an eye out for Rodni on your next visit to the park, if you are lucky you may see her with the keepers on one of her visits to the badger enclosure.


2) Birthday parties at Wildwood

Birthday party at Wildwood 

Celebrate your child's special day with a Wildwood birthday party and give them a day to remember! A Wildwood party is the perfect way to celebrate with VIP treatment, your chance to meet an animal and a fantastic birthday meal in our restaurant, the birthday group can then run off some steam in the play area or around the park.

Wildwood Birthday Parties include:

  • All day admission to Wildwood
  • A birthday meal in the Beaver Lodge restaurant
  • A meet an animal session at an animal enclosure
  • Free colouring sheet for every child
  • A cuddly toy gift from our shop for the birthday child
  • Free entry for 2 adults accompanying the party group

Birthday parties cost £10 per child (£7 for members) and are for a minimum of 10 children. To remember your day, you can also choose to include birthday party bags from the Wildwood gift shop at a cost to suit you. 

For more information visit our website:www.wildwoodtrust.org or call Claire in the office on 01227 712 111.


3) Drop slide opening hours

Tree Top Drop slide at Wildwood

Don't forget that the Drop Slide's opening hours are:

Weekends & School Holidays:  All day
Mon-Fri during term time: 4pm – 6pm

If you haven't conquered the drop yet, get down to the play area (that includes all you mums & dads!) and don't forget you need to wear your socks to ride.


4) Animal of the month – Water Vole

Water vole

To celebrate our water voles moving into their new enclosure (next to the ravens), we will take a look at one Britain's most endangered animals, the Water Vole.

Water voles are the largest of Britain's voles and are often confused with brown rats. However, water voles have very small ears and a furry tail whilst rats have large ears and a bald tail. Water voles also have a blunt muzzle, unlike the pointed nose of a rat.

Water voles were once one of our most common mammals, but sadly they are now on the verge of extinction and need our help to come back to areas they once populated. Between 1987 and 1997, water vole numbers in Britain dropped by a staggering 97%.

Their greatest threat is the North American Mink, (an introduced species, native to North America and now widespread in England and Wales) which can pursue the water vole both on land and in the water, and can follow water voles into their burrows and eat their young. Sadly, where large numbers of mink occur, water vole populations are non-existent. Water voles are also threatened because of habitat loss. Poor riverside management has meant that there are often not enough plants to provide water voles with food and cover. Draining ditches to prevent flooding removes water vole habitat and flood defences often cause river levels to rise in winter, flooding water vole burrows so that the voles either drown or are forced to flee.

Water voles make their homes in the banks of rivers, streams, ponds and ditches. They like slow-moving water and banks with lots of vegetation to provide them with food and cover to hide from predators. They eat a huge variety of grasses and other aquatic and bankside plants. They dig their burrows into the soft earth of the bank and make a network of tunnels and chambers with lots of entrances, including some underwater.

Wildwood's water voles

At Wildwood we generally have 50-60 adult water voles during the winter. Most of these voles live in our special conservation area behind the scenes at the park. The numbers increase rapidly during the breeding season (April - September) as each female can give birth to a litter of 3-7 young every 4 weeks!

Many of our water voles are brought in from sites which are being developed to build houses, offices and shops, we trap the water voles and bring them to Wildwood to breed. When the development is finished, the descendants of the original voles are released, either back onto the original site if the developer has kept an area of suitable habitat, or elsewhere in the countryside. We will also exchange water voles with other zoos so that the population kept at each zoo does not become inbred.

Did you know? Water voles....

  • have been seen climbing up to 2.5m above ground in the branches of trees and shrubs, searching for food.
  • make a loud 'plop' noise when they dive into the water.
  • eat over 200 different kinds of plants.
  • live throughout Britain but not in Ireland and are only rarely seen in Scotland.


5) Experiences at Wildwood

Steve Kirk bushcraft

Bushcraft Experience: Sunday 24th July - Last few places available!

New to Wildwood for 2011, our Bushcraft Experience lets you see if you could survive in the wild wood.
How would you find food and shelter if you were stranded in the forest? You would be amazed at just how many uses there are for the plants and trees in the forest. Join our one-day bushcraft experience and get back to nature whilst learning basic bushcraft and survival techniques with our Natural Heritage Officer (and bushcraft expert) Steve Kirk.

The bushcraft experience is 10am-4pm (1 hour for lunch). £35 per person, min age 12years. To book please call the office on 01227 712 111.

Zoo Keeper Experience (Adult, Junior and Teenage)

Want to be a zoo-keeper? Find out what it's like to work at Wildwood with our amazing Zoo Keeper Experiences. Learn from our experts how we care for our animals and keep them healthy and happy with exclusive behind the scenes access for an unforgettable day at Kent's best British wildlife park. Zoo Keeper days also make a great gift idea!

Junior Zoo Keeper (ages 7-11 years) cost £50 per person. 10am -12pm.
Dates: Wed August 3rd / Wed August 10th / Sat November 12th

Teenage Zoo Keeper (ages 12-17 years) cost £100 per person. 10am - 4pm.
Dates: Wed August 17th

Adult Zoo Keeper. Cost £195 per person.
Dates: available by arrangement

For more information or to book please call the office on 01227 712 111


6) New developments at Wildwood for 2011

New conservation building at Wildwood

After the excitement of the new play park, it's time to look to the new projects that are keeping our ranger team out of trouble this year. Below are the first 3 projects to take shape (more are in the pipeline) so keep your eyes peeled when you visit the park to see how the projects are progressing.

New aviary for British Birdlife

We are very excited about our new aviary, which is being completely re-built this year. After being taken by surprise by its sudden collapse earlier in the winter we had to find a way to re-direct funds to accommodate this previously unscheduled project (the birds themselves were all fine). The new aviary will be home to a number of different species of native birds such as night herons, little egrets and spoonbills and will feature a varied environments. You can see the work taking place next to the fallow deer enclosure.

New conservation building

Our dedicated Conservation Centre (pictured) is a specially designed building in which our Conservation and Keeper teams will carry out conservation work with endangered wildlife.

At present Wildwood works with a number of other organisations such as Kent Bat Group to care for endangered animals, which often requires staff to keep animals at home which in turn makes travel to and from Wildwood with the animals difficult. Wildwood has created this dedicated centre to allow us to care for more injured and endangered creatures in a specially designed space where the animals can stay 24 hours a day.  You can see the new building next to the adder enclosure shortly after you enter the park.

New nocturnal building

Regular visitors to Wildwood will know that we do a lot of work to save the dormouse, but have you ever seen one? The answer is probably "no" as being nocturnal they are rarely seen during the day. Bring on Wildwood's new nocturnal building, which is being built close to the Rat Barn (you can already see the foundations). The enclosures in the new building will simulate night time conditions during park opening hours to encourage the inhabitants to behave as they would do at night. It is part of Wildwood's charitable objectives to educate as many people as possible about our native creatures and the new enclosure will allow visitors a rare chance to see a dormouse during daylight hours.


7) Fundraiser of the month - Lydd Primary school

Lydd Primary school Yr2 with Oakley

Our fundraisers of the month are the Yr2 children from Lydd Primary school.

Inspired by an earlier visit to the school by a member of the Wildwood outreach team, the children decided to raise money to adopt an animal at Wildwood for their enterprise project.  After voting on which animal to adopt the children decided to hold a cake sale,and organised the whole event.  The children and the parents were amazingly supportive and managed to raise over £200.

Originally the children has wanted to adopt dormouse and hedgehog, but after all their effforts thay had raised so much money that they added a weasel, konik horse, otter and a tawny owl!

We are extremely grateful to the children and would like to thank them for all of their hard work, all of the money raised will go towards caring for our animals and our conservation projects, and we hope to see you at the park again soon!


8) Fundraising for wildwood

Are you part of a school, group or organisation that would like to raise funds for Wildwood? We already work with local groups and schools who arrange raffles, quiz nights, cake sales, dress-down days, competitions and much more to raise funds for Wildwood's animal costs and conservation programmes.

You can raise any amount (everything helps!) and how you do it is up to you! If you are part of a local group that are up for the challenge and would like to help please contact our Fundraising manager, Beth Flowers on 01227 712 111 for more details.


9) Limited spaces available - school Outreach & Education services

Award-winning CSI:Wildwood

It's not too late to book a school trip to Wildwood before the holidays! Our highly experienced education team can provide a varied range of exciting, curicculum-based educational activities and workshops (including the award winning CSI: Wildwood, pictured) for students of all ages.

Plus we have teamed up with Kent Top Travel to offer £20 off any coach booking to Wildwood, valid for bookings now or after the start of the new year.

Can't get to Wildwood, no problem! We can come to you via our excellent Outreach service. Our dedicated Outreach team visits schools and organisations to give talks and hold workshops that bring the magic of British wildlife and ecology to you.

For more information visit our website at:www.wildwoodtrust.org or phone our Education team on 01227 712 111 or email anne@wildwoodtrust.org


10) Donate to Wildwood via JustTextGiving

Text donations to Wildwood

Wildwood has joined Vodaphone's JustTextGiving service, so it'n now even easier to make donations towards our work to save British wildlife. The service is completely free on all networks and Wildwood receives 100% of your donation. 

To donate via text just follow these simple steps:

1) Send a text to 70070 - with WILD02 and the amount you would like to donate (for example WILD02 £10), you can input any amount from £1 to £10

2) Once your text has been sent you will receive a text with a link to a Gift Aid form (if you are a UK tax payer, Gift Aid boosts your donation by 25%).

Every penny you give goes towards the upkeep of the park and our animals and our conservation programmes to save some of Britain's most endangered animals. Without your help we wouldn't be able to keep on breeding animals such as red squirrels and water voles to save them from extinction. Your generousity is greatly appreciated.


11) Wildwood equipment appeal - can you help?

As a conservation charity, Wildwood needs to watch the pennies and we love to recycle, so if you have any of the following items that you would like to donate please let us know:


 Large plastic storage boxes with lids - For use in the new conservation building. We need large plastic storage boxes with lids to keep equipment in, so that if a tiny mouse or lizard escapes the boxes can be moved quickly to locate it!

Laptop computers less than 5 years old - for use around the park by our keeper and conservation teams.


If you can help at all please contact the office on 01227 712 111, many thanks.



Fiona Paterson
Wildwood Trust
Tel 01227 712 111