Playful bears hang out in ‘green’ hammocks at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm
Award-winning sustainable zoo makes hammocks for Andean bears from recycled firehose
Two Andean ‘Spectacled’ bears at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm in Wraxall, Bristol enjoyed relaxing today in new hammocks made for them by Keepers from recycled fire hose donated by Avon Fire and Rescue. The 100 acre animal park, home to a host of big zoo animals including elephants, rhino and big cats holds a Gold award in the national Green Tourism Business Scheme for its carbon-reducing activities and is continuing its sustainable innovation by giving hammocks to its bears created from reels of the reclaimed hose. The parks playful two year old Spectacled bears Tupa and Sonco, brothers from Frankfurt Zoo in Germany, were immediately inquisitive when they came out of their house and spotted their new aerial beds – both climbing up to test them out for comfort and seen visibly enjoying the new resting spots. In a new partnership with Avon Fire, Noah’s Ark took delivery of 40 reels of industrial fire hose no longer suitable for firefighting use and has found creative ways to use them around the zoo. Bears, gibbons, lemurs and big cats are all the lucky recipients of fun enrichment items made from the repurposed material – play balls, climbing lines and hammocks are just some of the clever designs made by the parks Keeper teams and volunteers. Noah’s Ark Keepers have been grateful for extra hands in the construction process – particularly from Lloyds bank staff in Bristol who joined the zoo for team-building days and were invaluable in their enthusiasm and practical help cutting and joining hose to make toys for the animals. Zoo Curator Chris Wilkinson comments “It’s great to provide extra enrichment for our bears, the pair are very inquisitive and love exploring their habitat and anything new they can play with. It’s good for them, and fun for visitors to watch so a positive all round for the park”. The park also won the national ‘Innovation Award’ from the National Farm Attractions Network earlier this year in recognition of its green efforts and novel energy-saving projects. It now becomes the first farm park to hold sustainability awards under the two schemes. The new bear habitat, Andean Adventure has been praised for its sustainable design with low energy lighting and heating, with recycled water built into an educational exhibit for visitors. This follows on from the opening of the 20 acre internationally recognised Elephant Eden in 2014, built with the integration of renewable solar, heat power and recycling waste water and animal dung through natural processes. The zoo farm has been praised for its public promotion of green issues and projects to visitors, with investment to provide useful displays and posters explaining the importance of green tourism and sustainable practise to families and schools. Tupa and Sonco can be seen outside in Andean Adventure throughout the week, the zoo is open Monday to Saturday from 10:30am – 5pm. Find out more and plan your visit here to see them this week.