Thursday, 11 August 2011

Wildwood e-news August 11

Wildwood E-news August '11

1) Summer fun at Wildwood
2) Free August events
3) New little owls
4) Sign the petition to stop the badger cull
5) Animal of the month - Lynx
6) Sign up to save the BBC Wildlife Fund
7) Supporter of the Month - Herne Bay Mobility
8) How you can help Wildwood

1) Summer fun at Wildwood

Steve Kirk bushcraft

Summer is here at last and it's the perfect time to visit Wildwood.
There's loads going on around the park this summer so check the "What's On" board and join in the fun on your next visit!

  • FREE talks and feeds at enclosures every day.
  • Meet our experts around the park with roving demonstrations and info about our animals
  • Go wild in the adventure play area and drop slide - open every day for all you thrill-seekers!
  • See our new animals: Baby badger, polecats, wild horse foals and little owls.


2) Free August events

Storytelling and craft event 18th August

Thursday 18th August – Wildlife stories and activities day - Free event

Come and meet local authors Jacqueline Nicoll and Pamela K Rees for a day of story telling and craft activities in our Education Centre.

Each session, based around the authors' books, encourage children's awareness and involvement in our natural environment. Come and hear a story, watch art demonstrations, make paper frogs, animal masks, bookmarks and much more.

Jacqueline is author of children's books 'Born To Love Frogs' and 'Oceans Calling.' Pamela is a botanical and wildlife artist, author of 'Wild About East Kent.'

Signed copies of both author's books will be available to buy on the day. More information can be found at and 

 Thursday 18th August

  • Frogs and Ponds – 11 am
  • Frogs and Ponds – 12 pm
  • Ocean Life – 2pm
  • Ocean Life - 3pm

These events are free (membership or park entry fees must be paid), and there is no need to book, just attend at the start of you preferred session. Suitable for all ages, but all children be accompanied by an adult.


Friday 26 August – Wild Fruits Walk

Wild Fruits day

Friday 26th August - Wild Fruits Walk - Free event

Learn all about the edible wild fruits (and perhaps taste a few) on a woodland discovery walk with our Natural Heritage Officer, Steve Kirk who will be on hand with recipe ideas and homemade preserves for you to try.

2-3pm Free event (membership or park entry fees must be paid). Must Book (call the office on 01227 712 111) – Please note that this event is not suitable for young children or children in pushchairs.


3) New little owls

Little owls at Wildwood


Wildwood has welcomed its newest animals, a pair of young little owls. Little owls are Britain's smallest species of 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 and are now on public display, but won't be able to go back to the wild as after being hand-reared they are unable to fend for themselves.

The pair, now around 15 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."

Don't forget to look out for the new pair next time you visit the park!


4) Sign up now to stop the badger cull

Sign the petition to  
badger cull

Following the recent announcement that the government intends to press ahead with a badger cull to combat bovine tuberculosis (bTB), Wildwood has joined the fight to stop the cull.

Wildwood agrees that bovine TB is a problem that needs to be addressed. It has blighted cattle farming in the UK for decades and costs the taxpayer millions of pounds every year in destroying cattle and compensating affected farmers.  However, we believe that a culling badgers is a short-term and unsustainable approach that will do little to address the problem in the long run whilst needlessly slaughtering thousands of healthy animals.

Rather than a cull of badgers, the issue of bovine TB needs a long-term, scientific approach that deals with the problems of modern, industrial cattle farming.   Our government and farmers need to work together to find long term, evidence-based solutions that include badger vaccinations, better farming practices and improved cattle welfare.

For more information on the proposed cull and bovine TB please watch our short video:

If you agree that a badger cull is not the solution to bovine TB, please click here to sign the 38 Degrees petition


5) Animal of the month - Lynx

Wildwood's lynx

The lynx, or 'European tiger' was native to Britain until the middle ages, when it became extinct due to hunting and habitat destruction. Lynx were hunted for their highly prized, soft, glossy fur and much of their forest habitat was cleared to make way for agriculture. They were the first of Britain's large carnivores to disappear, followed by the brown bear and the wolf. Today it is still found in more than 25 countries in Europe and Asia but it has also become extinct in many other countries where it was once native. Eurasian lynx are not classified as endangered, although in some parts of their range they are very rare, living in small, isolated populations. By contrast, its cousin the Iberian lynx, is the world's most endangered cat.


Lynx are characterised by their stubby tail, tufted ears, short back and long legs. Some researchers believe that the ear tufts help the lynx to hear well, others believe that they use them like whiskers to feel things. Lynx are officially classed as small cats, unlike lions and tigers which are big cats. As they are small cats, lynxs' pupils close to a vertical slit whereas big cats' pupils close to a circle.

Lynx are woodland predators and the Eurasian lynx is the largest of the four lynx species found worldwide. Lynx are smaller and lighter than wolves and are lone hunters, so they generally do not hunt very large prey. Their main prey is roe deer (Britain's smallest native deer) as well as rabbits, hares and large birds. Lynx have very effective camouflage and their large padded paws allow them to approach their prey very quietly. Like all cats, lynx are very good at jumping, using their powerful hind legs (see our amazing video ) and are also excellent climbers, gripping with their sharp claws. The lynx is a stalk-and-ambush hunter, and hunts by slowly sneaking up on its prey, while the prey is busy eating and then pounces on its victim. Lynx rarely chase after prey, instead they will hide behind tree stumps or rocks and wait until a potential meal walks by.


Lynx are solitary animals and males and females only come together for breeding. During the breeding season, between February and April, a male and a female may be seen hunting together for a few days. Lynx kittens are born in May or June in dens found under fallen tree branches, large tree roots or piles of rocks. Lynx have 1-5 kittens in a litter and the mother raises the kittens by herself. Lynx kittens are born with their eyes closed and their ears folded shut and will nurse for four to five months, before being weaned from milk to meat. Young lynx can fend for themselves at the age of 10 months, but they usually stay with their mother for up to a year and don't reach adult size until they are 2 years old.


Recently, several European countries have reintroduced the lynx very successfully and their possible reintroduction to Britain continues to be debated. If lynx reintroduction were to go ahead in Britain, it is likely that it would take place in Scotland first of all, as there are fewer urban centres and more suitable habitat there than elsewhere. Lynx are not a threat to humans as they are too small to prey upon us and in the wild they are naturally shy and solitary animals which are rarely seen. Lynx also pose less of a threat to farm animals such as sheep than might be thought, preferring to prey upon rabbits and roe deer wherever possible.


Did you know... lynx

  • have large paws that act like snowshoes for walking across snow.
  • are the third largest predator in Europe after the brown bear and the wolf.
  • get their name from the Greek word meaning light, possibly in reference to their shining eyes.
  • can purr continuously because they are small cats, unlike big cats such as lions and tigers which can't.

Watch our video of our lynx performing her amazing jump here.


6) Sign up to save the BBC Wildlife Fund

Sign up to save the BBC Wildlife Fund

Wildwood is urging its members to sign the online petition to save the BBC Wildlife Fund from closure. The recent announcement by the Beeb that they intend to close the fund has left wildlife charities and conservation groups reeling and in some cases, worried for their future.


The BBC Wildlife Fund was set up in 2007 as a charity to raise money to conserve the wildlife and environments made famous by its wildlife documentary films.  Since its inception, the fund has raised nearly £3 million in donations, the entirety of which has been used to support 87 British and global conservation projects.


Wildwood received a £15,000 donation from the fund in 2009 to support our water vole captive breeding programme, which is helping to protect the UK's most threatened mammal from extinction.


Beth Flowers, Wildwood's fundraising manager said "We are extremely concerned by proposed closure of the BBC Wildlife Fund, as a legally separate charity from the BBC itself, it is financed entirely by donations so it's closure will not save the BBC any money. With its world famous wildlife programmes, the BBC is perfectly placed to raise awareness of conservation issues around the world and the loss of the fund will be a huge blow to many charities such as Wildwood who are working to save wildlife."


To sign the petition to save the BBC Wildlife Fund, click here.


7) Supporter of the month - Herne Bay Mobility

Sign up to save the BBC Wildlife Fund

This month we would like to say thank-you to an unsung hero of Wildwood, our friends at Herne Bay Mobility, who are also based at the Wealden Forest Park.


By kindly loaning Wildwood a mobility scooter for visitors to use free of charge, Herne Bay Mobility has been helping people with walking difficulties get the best from their visits to Wildwood.

We are very grateful to the team at Herne Bay Mobility for their assistance, it's thanks to the the combined actions of local supporters such as them that we can make Wildwood a special place for all of our visitors.


If you would like to use a mobility scooter on your next visit to Wildwood please contact the shop on 01227 712 111 (24hrs notice required). Please note that we have limited availability so book early to avoid disappointment.


If you would like to learn more about Herne Bay Mobility, visit their website here.


8) How you can help Wildwood

Water vole

As a conservation charity we rely on donations to help keep our conservation work going and look after our animals during times when the park is quiet (i.e. winter months). We also rely on donations of goods and services to help run the park and preserve our funds for our vital conservation work.

To help Wildwood's work to save some of Britain's most threatened wildlife please donate today or see if you have any items we can use:

1) Donate by text - You can donate by text via the Vodaphone Text Giving service. To donate simply 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. 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%).

2) Donate online - You can donate any amount via our website, simply click here to go to our donation page on our website.

3) Donate goods & services - We love to recycle and we can make use of many items that would otherwise go to landfill. At the moment we need the following items:

  • Laptops (less than 5 years old) - for use by our conservation and keeper teams when visiting other sites and around Wildwood.
  • Flat-Panel TVs - To enhance our educational facilities.
  • Large plastic storage boxes with lids - for use in our new conservation building to store equipment safely out of the way of small creatures such as dormice and water voles should they get loose.
  • Wicker baskets with handles - for the keeper team to keep tools and equipment in, and hang up out of the way of animals (and wildlife in the park).


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



Fiona Paterson
Wildwood Trust
Tel 01227 712 111



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