Noah's News Blog

Meet our latest baby gibbon at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm

The summer baby boom may be coming to a close but we’ve still got new arrivals swinging their way into our visitors hearts here at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm!

We’re happy to introduce the incredibly cute Siamang gibbon Seth!

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Born back in July, keepers have been monitoring the tiny primate’s development ahead of formally announcing his arrival.

He’s the most recent baby born to mum Salome and dad Samson. The fourth of their boys, Seth has joined Sultana, Sidney and Sam.

We offered a Bristol Post reader the chance to name our new arrival – sticking to the ‘S’ theme that runs in our gibbon family.

Keepers chose reader Calvin Agate’s name of ‘Seth’ for the little endangered baby gibbon and the lucky reader got the chance to come and meet his namesake.

Calvin visited the Siamang gibbons at the Wraxall zoo alongside primate keeper Clare Pearce.

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These black, furry gibbons hail from Malaysia, Thailand and Sumatra in South-east Asia, where populations are endangered.

Known for their distinctive, loud calls which can be heard up to two miles away!

Wild populations are facing a number of threats, principally from the loss of their habitat as forests are cleared by loggers – particularly in the palm oil industry.

Oil palm has replaced a great deal of rainforest in Indonesia and Malaysia. Forest fires and illegal logging have further reduced forest cover – as well as the destruction of forest for coffee plantations or developments and infrastructure.

Siamangs are also at risk of capture and poaching for the illegal pet trade, and in some cases also for illegal bush meat.

As such, breeding programmes like those run at Noah’s Ark are vital to maintaining the future of the species.

As part of his prize, Bristol Post reader Calvin Agate has adopted little Seth for a year.

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Our animal adoptions are a great way to support your favourite faces at Noah’s Ark.

You can support our wildlife conservation through your visits to Noah’s Ark and through adopting one of our animals for yourself.

Threatened animals like Bengal Tigers, Giraffes and Gibbons are all available for adoption and as part of the scheme you’ll receive a soft toy, certificate, your name displayed at the animal exhibit and a free zoo ticket to visit your adopted animals and everyone else at Noah’s Ark.

Little Seth can now be seen in our Primate section, alongside our lively Ring Tailed Lemurs, Tamarins and Marmosets.

With the recent arrival of our second elephant, Janu, who joins Buta in our 5 star elephant enclosure Eden, there’s all the more recent to stop by Noah’s Ark this month!

We are open from Monday – Saturday, 10:30am – 5pm. For more information please visit the Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm website or call 01275 852606.

Second elephant joins growing herd at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm

We are thrilled to welcome our second elephant to Elephant Eden at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm!

Gorgeous girl Buta now has a new companion, our latest arrival – nine-year-old African bull elephant Janu who has come to us from Port Lympne Reserve in Kent.

The lively young elephant is on loan to us from the Kent park and is the first of two males to join us from the centre.

Janu’s arrival sets the second phase of our ground-breaking Elephant Eden project in motion as we begin developing a sustainable herd which will provide for the complex social needs of each elephant within it.

Our £2 million state-of-the-art Elephant Eden habitat got off its feet in February when we took on beautiful Buta from Knowsley Safari in Liverpool.

Eden is currently welcoming African elephants, offering some important welfare advances for elephants already living in captivity in this specially designed new environment.

At 20 acres, Eden provides ample space for our elephants to roam – as well as being the biggest elephant habitat in northern Europe.

Janu – on loan to Noah’s Ark – will soon be followed by Kruger, Port Lympne Reserve’s remaining mature bull elephant who is owned by Knowsley Safari and is known to Buta, again as part of a loan arrangement. The elephants have been moved with their welfare as the priority for all parties involved.

Port Lympne Reserve (run in conjunction with The Aspinall Foundation, a conservation-led charity which also manages Howletts Wild Animal Park), has over 20 years experience managing the needs of African elephants and their expert keepers have been a huge help to Noah’s Ark in recent months.

Janu and Kruger will have an enriched, healthy environment to enjoy, with everything from extensive grazing areas, mud wallows and sand yards on offer. Noah’s Ark’s Elephant Eden also includes a state-of-the-art, environmentally-friendly heated elephant barn and enables elephants to roam naturally across sizeable fields.

Our expert Head Elephant Keeper Sandra de Rek keeps her watchful eye on our elephants. She brought more than 12 years experience to the role and has spoken of her pride in the project.

She said: “I’m really proud of what we are achieving here at Noah’s Ark, particularly how well Buta has settled in and now we are excited to welcome Janu, our first bull, and introduce him to his new home.

“Establishing a good social unit with elephants is very important and this is a crucial time. We are all working very hard to do this right and ensure the best of care is given to each of our elephants as they arrive and get used to their new surroundings.”

Our new elephants all receive modern Protected Contact (PC) training which maximises welfare benefits for elephant and keeper. This positive, reward-based method involves interacting with elephants through a training wall.

Buta has been thriving in her new surrounds at Elephant Eden

Buta has been thriving in her new surrounds at Elephant Eden at Noah’s Ark

Expert elephant consultant Alan Roocroft has been involved in every step of the design and development of Eden. In a recent report Mr Roocroft praised the care Buta has received in the past six months living at Noah’s Ark, saying:

“Summing Buta’s health up, one can only use the word fabulous. She has in all directions developed, the husbandry detailing that Sandra and the team are instituting has really brought out the best in her physically and mentally.”

We think Eden heralds in a new dawn for elephant keeping, making the lives of these elephants more stimulating, rewarding and helping express as much natural behaviour as possible.

Just like Buta, we’re giving Janu some time to settle into the elephant barn before the public can come in and meet him. Buta and Janu will be kept separate initially while they adjust to the sight and smell of each other.

Our indoor viewing gallery will be closed on Thursday allowing him to get used to his new surroundings, but visitors may get a chance to see Janu from outside if he is exploring the private sand yard.

Once he has settled in, visitors will be able to see him inside the elephant barn and bring children along for a great day out in Bristol. We’re expecting to reopen the elephant house on Friday.

For more information about Elephant Eden and when Janu will be on public display please visit the Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm website or call 01275 852606.

Musical animals – audio enrichment at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm

As a video of two elephants enjoying some classical music has gone viral, we’ve been thinking about the ways in which we’ve used music at Noah’s Ark to enrich our animals’ lives.

Two gorgeous ellies enjoyed Bach’s Concerto in D Minor when violinist Eleanor Bartsch broke away from the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra to give them a private rendition.

Kelly and Viola, aged 44 and 45, seemed to react positively to the soothing concerto.

The impact music has on animals has been well documented and can therefore be used to enhance the day to day lives of zoo animals.

Last year we did a musical experiment at Noah’s Ark and found that, like these elephants, our tigers were partial to a spot of classical music.

Classical makes the big cats feel relaxed

Keepers at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm in Wraxall experimented with a variety of audio enrichment for our big cats, rhinos and giraffes.

The big zoo animals got the chance to listen to different radio stations, with keepers monitoring the effects this had on their behaviour.

Classic FM proved to be a roaring favourite for the felines, who rolled around, relaxed and napped when the station was played.

It’s important to keep our residents engaged and stimulated and we play with a whole range of alternative enrichment activities to add variety to their lives.

Audio enrichment is something we use alongside activities catering to other natural behaviours, from adding interesting-textured trees to enclosures through to food foraging.

Just as animals react to tone of voice and the sounds around them, so they show an interest in different kinds of music.


While the tigers and lions loved classical music, our White rhinos Rumbull and Rumba seemed to prefer the more up-beat pop and dance played on Kiss and Heart FM.

They often stood with their heads through their fence to get closer to the radio and their favourite songs!

Auditory enrichment is a great way to promote good physical and mental health by keeping our animals stimulated.

Keepers also engage the other senses – such as visual, olfactory or smell, taste and touch. These can be stimulated in scent trails or task-orientated feeding challenges, both of which encourage animals to think and work for food and rewards, as they would in the wild.

Tiana the tiger Classic FMWe’re always thinking up new creative enrichment ideas which add complexity to the big zoo animals’ habitats.

For the recent Elephant Day, we gave some lucky visitors the chance to hide treats for Buta our African elephant to find.

These kind of activities also give keepers a fantastic opportunity to learn more about the animals’ personalities and behaviours.

With all the amazing big zoo animals here at Noah’s Ark, there is a wealth of opportunity to study the behaviour of some of the world’s most fascinating creatures.

We’re currently planning several exciting research projects into animal behaviour on the Ark.

Working with inter-zoo research groups allows for wider groups of animals to be studied and Buta the elephant will be considered for an upcoming study.

Noah’s Ark is also in discussions with a university to form an undergraduate and postgraduate research link, which would allow students to base their dissertations and research projects on the farm.

Lions enjoy the Xmas trees at Noah's Ark

If you have any fun, new ideas to introduce play and learning into our animals’ lives, get in touch on our Facebook page!

For more information on our animals please visit the Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm website or call 01275 852606. You can book your day tickets online today where you’ll receive an extra 5% off!