Paignton Zoo bird keeper Lisa Jones freely admits that she has an interest that borders on obsession. She’s fascinated by feathers.
“During the summer months, lots of birds at Paignton Zoo start to moult… I think feathers are among the natural world’s most incredible adaptations. While I was cleaning out the Ural owls, who are moulting heavily now, I wondered if anyone else would be as interested in feathers as me!”
Two vets from Indonesia are the first to benefit from a unique new scholarship programme run by a Cornish vet charity. OVAID – Orang utan Veterinary Aid – is run by Nigel and Sara Hicks, based in Launceston. They help hard-pressed orang utan rescue centres and sanctuaries with veterinary support and donations of equipment.
The new OVAID Bronwyn Scholarship meant that two South East Asian vets were able to make the 12,000 kilometre (7,500 mile) journey to the UK to exchange techniques and information on the care and welfare of orang utans.
Three new animal experts have boosted the team at Paignton Zoo this summer.
Dr Kirsten Pullen, the new Director of Conservation and Education, started in June.
Curator of Mammals Lisa Britton took up her post in July. And Jay Redbond, Assistant Curator, Lower Vertebrates & Invertebrates, arrived in August. Together they bring nearly 60 years of professional experience to the charity.
Money spent by guests having a great day out in South Devon is directly helping to protect some of Southern Africa’s most iconic animals.
Wild Planet Trust is the charity that runs Paignton Zoo, Living Coasts in Torquay and Newquay Zoo in Cornwall. It helps fund conservation on the ground in one of the hardest countries in the world to work in - Zimbabwe.
Naomi the grey gibbon, one of the oldest residents of Paignton Zoo, has died.
Animal staff and in-house vets took the difficult decision to put her to sleep after she became seriously ill. Zoo spokesperson Phil Knowling: “She went downhill quickly. Clinical signs suggested she might have had a urinary tract problem, which can lead to complications such as kidney failure in older animals. With an animal of that age, you have to be realistic about their quality of life, their ability to recover and their resilience.
One of the most striking birds in the world has bred at Paignton Zoo. The scarlet ibis (Eudocimus ruber) is famous for its bright red feathers – although, as you can see, the chicks are anything but scarlet.
There’s no other wading bird as scarlet as a scarlet ibis, but it takes time for juveniles to grow into the colour. It’s not until their second moult that the birds begin to take on that extraordinary rosy sheen. It can take two years or more for the dazzling change to be completed; the colour comes from the red crustaceans in their diet.
Zoo keepers at Living Coasts in Torquay are naming and shaming their naughtiest penguins. They’re writing the names of mischievous birds on a chalkboard for guests to see - and singling out others for their good behaviour.
The 63 African penguins and 12 macaroni penguins at Torquay’s coastal zoo mix freely with guests. But some penguins are better-behaved than others.
The charity zoo has its very own branded blend – Zoorabica. It’s the first time the charity has offered its own named coffee. The new beverage is supplied by Coffeeworks, based in Exeter, an independent company with over 20 years’ experience.
Paignton Zoo Group Catering Manager Jennifer Proctor, who helped choose the final blend, said: “We have gone for this new blend because of taste, price, the support that Coffeeworks offer and the training they provide.” She visited the family-owned roasting business in Bristol to select the coffee.
The matriarch of Paignton Zoo died at the age of 49. Born in 1970, she came to Paignton Zoo in 1977 and for many years lived with female Asian elephant Gay. Duchess collapsed in her enclosure on Sunday 14th July and had to be put to sleep.
Zoo spokesperson Phil Knowling said: “The enormous, immediate and heartfelt public response prompted us to think about how we should remember her. Duchess was here for over 40 years; she was the matriarch of Paignton Zoo.