Hello and happy world bee day for yesterday!
Over the past 10 years US and European bee keepers have been reported annual losses of at least 30%. In the UK alone 35 bee species are currently under threat of extinction and all bee species are facing serious threats to their survival. Destruction of habitats is a major factor in the decline of the bee – 97% of our vital grasslands and hedgerows have been lost in the past 60 years. It is estimated that 30% of the world crops (and 90% of the wild plants!) need a pollinating insect like a bee to thrive. Scientists estimate that it would cost over £1.8 billion every single year to manually pollinate UK crops by hand. And that’s just the UK! Think of the cost implications on your favourite foods if artificial pollination has to take place!
We are in the early days of an exciting project aimed at regenerating hedgerows and natural habitats for bees, other pollinating insects and native wildlife. We are looking for local people who would like to get involved – from giving advice on plants that will grow in certain areas, so sparing time (no matter how small) to help us with counts and observations. If you would like to be involved or would like more information please email Sam – firstname.lastname@example.org.
On to the zoo and this week we start to introduce our animal keeping and carer teams, starting with Emma. Emma is pivotal in ensuring the animals here at Safari Zoo have enriched environments. Enrichment enhances the quality of animal’s lives, keeping them interested, stimulated, alert and active and mimics natural habitats to encourage natural behaviours.
In the wild, a tiger will hunt for their food – The feeding poles you can see in Kumbuh and Cinta’s Tiger enclosure help the Tigers to behave like they would if they were living in the wild. They use their super-long, super-sharp claws and super-strong shoulder muscles and short bursts of energy to get up the poles, just like they would finding and catching their dinner in the forests of Sumatra. Our tiger keepers will sometimes use a feeding “bungee” which grabs on to the food and makes it harder and more of a challenge for them to get hold of their dinner. When you see the tigers sniffing around the enclosure, this is because the keepers have “scent marked” which means they’ve introduced a new scent (using the pooh of other animals, herbs, perfumes or spices – known as scent trailing) to keep the tigers alert.
Now, over to Emma;
Emma re-joined Safari Zoo in the role of animal carer 2 years ago after having 2 children, she has worked at the site for a total of 7 years starting originally on work experience and on to a volunteer position whilst studying to obtain her Diploma in Animal Management.
Primates have always been Emma’s main area of interest and she mainly looks after the primates here at Safari Zoo which include Gibbons, Spider Monkeys and Squirrel Monkeys along with our 4 species of Lemurs.
More recently, Emma has been the first member of the team to visit our sponsored orphan Rhino Arthur at Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary in South Africa.
Emma says; “The best bit of the job is working alongside some amazing and extremely rare species. A large part of our job involves cleaning, which I actually (and luckily) really enjoy! What makes it unique is that it is not everyday that you get to see some of the world’s most endangered animal……(the zoo) has been a huge part of my life”.