We wish zoo a smelly Christmas!

Authored by Paigntonzoo
Posted: Mon, 12/17/2018 - 6:50pm

What do zoo gardeners get each other for Christmas? A plant, of course – but not just any old plant. Gardeners at Paignton Zoo in Devon have given their colleagues at Marwell Zoo in Hampshire a Titan arum – one of the largest and smelliest plants in the world.

Titan arum (Amorphophallus titanum) blooms can be up to 3 metres high and 3 metres in circumference and smell like rotting meat. To be honest, this one looks a bit underwhelming right now – there’s no foliage, just the tuber, the swollen food store found underneath the soil. Big plants need big tubers – this one is more than...

Green lighting gets the green light

Authored by Paigntonzoo
Posted: Wed, 12/12/2018 - 10:58am

Pete is the Environmental Officer for the Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust, the charity that runs Paignton Zoo Environmental Park, Living Coasts in Torquay and Newquay Zoo in Cornwall.

He’s busy overseeing a green revolution to save energy and save money. The charity is installing environmentally-friendly lighting in key buildings, with halogen and compact fluorescent lamps being replaced by high-efficiency LED lights.

Dozens of public buildings at all three zoos in the charity group have been upgraded, including shops and cafes. Over 200 bulbs have been changed in...

Rock and roll flirting is a fishy first

Authored by Paigntonzoo
Posted: Thu, 11/29/2018 - 11:02am

Fish at Living Coasts in Torquay have been observed performing a mating behaviour that zookeepers think has never before been recorded. Animal experts filmed female four-eyed fish (Anableps anableps) rocking from side-to-side; this appeared to attract the male to come and mate.

Sharp-eyed aquarists Tom Fielding and Sam Worthington noted and eventually videoed the curious behaviour. Clare Rugg, curator of the Devon coastal zoo, has a theory: “One possibility is that the movement of the female fish is releasing pheromones into the water to signal that she is ready for mating. She...

Rare toads arrive at Devon zoo

Authored by Paigntonzoo
Posted: Tue, 11/27/2018 - 10:58am

Paignton Zoo Environmental Park has become the only institution in the UK to keep a rare and special type of South American toad. The Devon zoo is now home to around 30 harlequin toads, Atelopus spumarius, after adding more individuals from Manchester Museum to its existing group. Atelopus is a genus – a group of species – of small, attractive true toads from Central and South America. Atelopus are just a few centimetres long, with narrow pointed heads, smooth skin and beautifully-coloured patterning. They live on the tropical rainforest floor and in the leaf-litter near streams; breeding...

Paignton Zoo keeper hatches conservation success

Authored by Paigntonzoo
Posted: Sun, 11/11/2018 - 11:34am

This is the extraordinary moment the hatching of a rare Mauritius pink pigeon chick was caught on video – and the moment the hard work started in earnest for Paignton Zoo bird keeper Tom Tooley.

Senior Bird Keeper Tom is currently 6,000 miles away on the island of Mauritius. But if you think he’s dodged the English winter to relax on a tropical island, think again.

He’s spending time with local conservationists to help bolster the population of this bird, classed as an Endangered Species. That means hand rearing – and THAT means long days: “The first feed is at 6.00am, then...

Living Coasts’ global plastics pledge

Authored by Paigntonzoo
Posted: Sat, 11/10/2018 - 10:10am

Torquay’s Living Coasts is part of a new global movement to raise awareness about plastic pollution. The coalition goes under the banner of "World aquariums #ReadyToChange to #BeatPlasticPollution". The aim is to set a good example over the use of plastics and to encourage changes in behaviour. Living Coasts was the first aquarium in the UK to sign up and is one of seven in this country supporting the initiative. The coastal zoo and aquarium stopped selling single-use plastic drinks bottles in 2017. The new movement, launched at the fifth #OurOcean conference, held in Bali, has signed up...

Giraffe death shocks zoo

Authored by Paigntonzoo
Posted: Thu, 11/08/2018 - 11:46am

Staff and volunteers at Paignton Zoo Environmental Park have been left shocked by the sudden death of male giraffe Yoda. The 14-year-old northern giraffe was found collapsed in the giraffe house early this morning.

Zoo spokesperson Phil Knowling said: “This has come as a huge shock. He was a noble animal, one of the best-known and best-loved characters in the Zoo. There was no warning. People are in tears.

“It’s a big blow, but when you work with animals you have to deal with the low points as well as the highs.” A post-mortem examination will be carried out by the Zoo’s...

Wildlife and habitats off the Devon coast set for conservation boost

Authored by News Desk
Posted: Thu, 07/05/2018 - 6:47am

If all eight sites get better protection we'll all feel the benefit too, says Marine Conservation Society

Eight marine sites around Devon, from ones right on the coast to others miles offshore, could get a special protected status by 2019, but only if the public gets behind them now, says the UK's leading marine charity.

The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) says the third and final round of proposed Marine Conservation Zone designations, currently the subject of a public consultation, could result in 40% of English seas being protected. However, the charity says the...

Fish soup five times a day…

Authored by Paigntonzoo
Posted: Sat, 05/05/2018 - 10:15am

Are there any tricks to rearing a penguin? Clare: “Patience, dedication – and not being put off by the smell of fish…!”

A sickly African penguin chick has been nursed back to health with fish soup by dedicated zoo keepers.

Staff at Living Coasts, Torquay’s coastal zoo and aquarium, have been feeding the chick every 3 hours from 7.30 in the morning to 7.30 at night. The only thing on the menu is fish; at first this was blended into a liquid soup, but the chick has now moved on to solids.

The chick hatched in February to penguin parents Eddie and Diamond....

Zoo’s UK tortoise first

Authored by Paigntonzoo
Posted: Thu, 05/03/2018 - 6:23am

The spider tortoise is one of the world’s smallest tortoises – and one of the rarest. Now, Paignton Zoo has become the first in the UK to breed the species.

Paignton Zoo has become the first zoo in the country to breed a tiny tortoise on the edge of extinction. The secret? A fine blend of driving passion and cool-headed science.

The spider tortoise (Pyxis arachnoides) is one of the world’s smallest tortoises – and one of the rarest. A burrowing species, it’s found around the south western coast of Madagascar. The adults are only around 6 inches long. Their popular name...