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The end of 2018 draws a close to another successful year in Tayto Park. Some of the most important and memorable moments of the past year included the birth of Eka, a critically endangered Sulawesi crested macaque, the hatching of 3 critically endangered Edward’s pheasant chicks, along with the birth of 6 South American bush dogs. These species are of high conservation value which is why they are part of the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP). Towards the end of the year we also welcomed Tayto Parks first female Goeldi’s monkey. Again, based on breeding recommendations by the Goeldii EEP co-ordinator, she was paired with our male, who’s been resident in the zoo since 2015.
For our zoo keeping team however, September was a month that began with sadness. If you have visited the zoo before you’re sure to have seen our two amazingly athletic mountain lions. On the morning of Friday 7th, one of our big cat keepers had the unfortunate experience of finding Belle, our female mountain lion, lying motionless in her habitat. As fate would have it, all those that cared for Belle since her arrival in 2011, were all working that day so each one got to say their goodbye. Even those who did not care for her directly were visibly upset. Following post mortem examination, the definitive cause of her death remains unclear.
Like many professions, it is essential to keep up to date with all new research and practices within your field and zoo-keeping is no different. In 2018, our keepers attended a range of certified training programmes and conferences based both in the UK and here in Ireland all of which are part of Tayto Park’s Continued Professional Development programme. Both BIAZA and EAZA offer a large variety of training workshops, some of which are open to the public but are primarily aimed at zoo professionals including veterinarians, curators and of course zoo-keepers.
So far, 2019 has already proven to be a busy one, we are in full swing building and preparing a specially designed exhibit for a brand new species who will call Tayto Park home. I don’t want to give too much away but I do think you’ll be leaping with joy when you see our new friends – leaping with joy….has a certain ring to it don’t you think?