2018, what a year it's been.
What a year 2018 has been at the zoo! 2018 was an unusual year with the Beast from the East hitting the country in February and another royal wedding in May.
2018 has been a year of protecting the planet and thinking sustainably at the zoo. At the start of the year compostable packaging was introduced in the Food Barn for all food and drinks prepared on site. This included compostable coffe cups, food boxes and even cutlery. In 2018 these efforts were rewarded with Silver Awards for Sustainable Tourism at the Bristol, Bath and Somerset Toursim Awards and from the South West Tourism Awards.
This year we've also had a number of exciting new animal arrivals at the zoo including Shaka, 23 year old African bull Elephant on 13th April. Shaka arrived from Vienna Zoo and settled in well with our keepers. He was subsequently introduced to our other boys Janu and M'Changa at the end of July. As a result Noah's Ark is working closely with the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP) as their premiere bachelor facility.
Only a month later and the newest member of our Giraffe family, a young male called Kito arrived on 17th May. He quickly bonded with Genny and took an interest in the other African animals he is now sharing his home with.
Another exciting zoo arrival, a town of Prairie Dogs joined us on 5th June. This greedy family loved their new home and quickly ravaged their grassy enclosure. Although it's tricky to count all 22 prairie dogs at once our dedicated team of keepers have taught the group to respond to a whistle in signal of food.
In amongst all the exciting zoo arrivals we have been celebrating some special birthdays. In March our zoo keepers caught glimpses of some little wallaby heads poking out from their mothers pouches. All of the young are now much bigger and bouching around with the rest of the group.
At the end of August cracks started to appear in the nest of Ostrich eggs and out popped 14 Ostrich chicks to proud parents Octavia and Oscar.
August was baby boom month at the zoo as Arusha gave birth to two little lion cubs on 20th August. Arusha has been a very protective mother keeping her two cubs safely tucked away in a bamboo bush den. The cubs were quickly out of the den and play fighting in the grass.
It was congratulations all round as on 19th September a healthy happy baby was born to another of our African animals. A young foal, since named Zenah, meaning princess, was born to mum Polly.
July 2018 was a busy month for new openings at the zoo. On 18th July female explorer Jacki-Hill Murphy opened our new Viva South America house. This state-of-the-art enclosure was built to house our Tapirs, Mara, Capybara and Agouti.
The Following week British paratriathlete, Andy Lewis was at the zoo to open our new Ark for All accessible play area and changing places toilet. This was stage one of our long term plan to improve accessabilty at the zoo.