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So, 2018 has arrived and January kicked off with birthday celebrations for our two female tayra who were 1 year old on January 1st. Tia and Esme are already as big as their Mum and Dad. These arboreal acrobats are incredibly playful and inquisitive and have become a favourite with their keepers.
Zoo-keepers have a busy build up to spring with many of our birds getting ready to nest. Once again our zoo maintenance team joined up with our bird keepers to build specially made, species specific nest boxes for a few of our newest arrivals, our black-cheeked lovebirds. Keepers were delighted when shortly after hanging them in their aviary, the pairs began bringing nesting material back to their new nests. This is an excellent indication to our bird keepers that pairs have bonded and have started making preparations to breed and rear their young. To help with this, keepers will continue to provide them with a range of natural items such as grass, twigs and straw to help them with their build. Black cheeked lovebirds can breed between mid-January and May so will keep you updated in the coming months with how their getting on. But if you can’t wait until then and would like to read more about them now, click here
For those of you who got the opportunity to visit our World of Raptor display in 2017 and got to see some of our amazing avian species, you’ll be interested to know that construction is currently underway for 8 new eagle aviaries. These birds will still be part of our demonstration but will now also be visible to all our visitors. Free-lofting eagle’s which are part of free-flying demonstrations is a testament to us not only continuing to meet existing husbandry and welfare guidelines; but a testament of our ambition to exceed them.
One new arrival in January sent a lot of excitement through our team – a white headed vulture.
White headed vultures are critically endangered with the captive population being managed and monitored by EAZA’s European Endangered Species Programme (EEP). Vultures are at grave risk of becoming extinct and action is needed now to help raise awareness of their plight to ensure their survival. Our pair of white-headed vultures will hopefully form a strong bond in their new home and will breed in the future.
For some of our keepers however, caring for animals doesn’t stop when we get home. Lisa, who has been part of our zoo keeping team since 2014 and spent time working in the US with many crane species, also volunteers with Seal Rescue Ireland. Lisa is a qualified Wildlife First Responder and very selflessly gives up her free time to respond to calls from concerned members of the public. Her volunteer work regularly requires her to travel long distances in all weather conditions to find and locate injured or sick seal pups and transport them to Seal Rescue Irelands rehabilitation centre.
As January was nearing to an end, our mammal keepers were busy preparing for a group (or should I say troupe?) of new arrivals that will no doubt keep them busy!!
Until next month….
Aisling (Head Keeper)