Help save the giraffe in 2017!

Giraffe lovers, listen up! The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has announced that these wonderful tall-necked, long-tongued creatures have gone from being a species of ‘least concern’ to ‘vulnerable to extinction’.

This change in classification has happened because the giraffe population has decreased by nearly 40% in the last 30 years – dropping from an estimated 163,452 in 1985 to 97,500 in 2015.

This is an issue close to our heart because at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm we have our own herd of giraffes – fondly known as Gerald, Genevieve, George and Geoffrey.

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Did you know?

So, why do we think giraffes are so brilliant? Well, if they were up for an award, they’d win tallest mammal hooves down – they’re around 6ft when they’re born and grow to be a whopping 20ft.

The saying goes that a leopard can’t change its spots, and a giraffe isn’t much different in this sense: no two have the same pattern – meaning their markings are a little like fingerprints: unique.

And if you ever stick your tongue out at a giraffe, you’ll find it’s not much of a competition – their tongues are 18 to 20 inches long and a striking blue-black colour (which incidentally is to stop them getting sun burn while they’re munching away).

So, what can you do to support these beautiful beasts in 2017?

Help a wild giraffe

We’re committed to supporting conservation and each year on World Giraffe Day (21st June) we raise money for the Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF). With less than 100,000 giraffes left in the wild, these tall and sturdy beasts need you more than ever before. Why not donate to GCF to help support giraffes living in the African savannah? You could even adopt a giraffe living in the wild, or perhaps you could hold your own event to help raise money for giraffes on World Giraffe Day?

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Adopt one of our giraffes

As well as supporting wild giraffes running free on the African grasslands, there are plenty of ways you can support giraffes that live a little closer to home. For just £35, you can adopt a giraffe that lives at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm by purchasing an Animal Gift Box Adoption through our online shop. These boxes contribute to the cost of keeping these rare animals, meaning that you’re doing your bit to help out this dwindling species. It’s also educational as you get a factsheet all about these wonderful creatures.

Although you don’t get to take one home with you as part of an adoption (they do need lots of space to run around, you know), you’ll get an adoption gift box complete with a cuddly toy. As well as a certificate, you’ll also get your name displayed by their enclosure – what better way to show that you’ve made a difference? You’ll even get a free day ticket so you can come and visit your adopted animal whenever you like!

Come and say “hello”

The simplest way of supporting giraffes is by visiting Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm to say “hello”. Tickets are available online and you can see our opening times here.

Set in 110 acres of land, our giraffes can trot and frolic as much as they please. It might be a little chilly still, but luckily our giraffe house is heated so that they’re still toasty even in winter.

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Learn about giraffes

Each day at 2pm we have a talk about giraffes in the Giraffe House where you can learn more about these graceful and rare creatures. From what they eat (in the wild they eat shoots and Acacia leaves), to how long they live (up to 25 years), you’ll find out all the things you wanted to know about these animals from our experienced keepers.

Meet a giraffe

We offer close encounters of the tall kind, in the form of Giraffe Encounter experiences. For an additional £20 per person, one animal lover can meet and even feed our giraffes when they visit the zoo.

Book your encounter at the ticket office on the day of your visit before 1.30pm. This experience is available Monday to Saturday at 2pm after the Giraffe Talk and it’s first-come, first-served. Stand-in giraffe-feeders must be six years old or above, and under 16s must be accompanied by an adult.

Help support these wonderful creatures by visiting us at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm today!

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Christmas cheer at Noah’s Ark!

When you have a herd of reindeer wandering around, it feels a little like every day is Christmas Day. So how do we get into the Christmas spirit each year? Well, we pop on a Christmas hat and sing carols, of course. ‘Tis the season to be jolly, after all.

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What else have we been up to?

Our Reindeer Dash on 3rd December was a great success and the perfect way for us to start feeling festive. ‘What’s a Reindeer Dash’, you ask? Well, kids and grown-ups alike ran, walked and pranced along our one mile zoo track sporting the height of Christmas attire: antlers. Those that took part could even see how they’d look with real antlers in our designated selfie spot.

The first nine reindeer-dashers to cross the finish line nabbed themselves a medal, while the reindeer-in-training that trotted their way into first place won their very own reindeer adoption pack.

Stand-in reindeer even got to head to the fields and meet our own real herd of reindeer – Caspar, and the rest of the herd.

Although it’s a little chilly at this time of year, reindeer are built for the cold. With their outer layer of cosy fur and large feet for ambling through snow, they love nothing more than being outdoors.

Once all the reindeer were fed and watered, we all sat down for some crafting. Crafters made their own clay reindeer and willow stars to take home while members of the Nailsea Singing Project sang their hearts out in the courtyard, helping to bring an extra pinch of season’s greetings to the day.

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What’s coming up?

Join us for a family day of festive fun at our Rock Nativity on 17th December.

The Rock Project, a group of 7 to 18-year-old aspiring musicians, and Nailsea-based performance art group, The School, are joining forces for an off-the-beaten track take on the classic nativity. The show will feature some classic rock hits and is our first-ever rock concert here at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm.

There are three showings through the day: 12pm, 1.30pm and 3pm. Why not buy your tickets online so you don’t miss out?

And once you’re there, you get to meet the animals, too – from Santa’s favourite reindeer to nativity-themed animals, such as a donkeys and camels.

Looking for a last-minute Christmas present?

Haven’t finished your Christmas shopping yet? An Adoption Gift Box could be the perfect gift for your friends or family. As well as a pretty presentation box, you also get a factsheet, a soft toy and even a free zoo day ticket to go and visit your adopted animal. Along with a presentation certificate and your name displayed at the animal exhibit – what better gift could there be?

From a Bengal Tiger to a Nile Crocodile, there’s an animal for everyone – just make sure to order before 20th December if you want the box in time to wrap and put under the tree.

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Jumbo partnership with power company benefits elephants

Weston Power and Avon Wildlife Trust help supply trees for elephant food

Our elephants are benefiting from a new partnership with a regional power company and a local wildlife trust, getting daily access to freshly cut trees to eat.

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Always on the look to help develop the benefits of zoos and wildlife parks, we’ve promoted the change in zoo elephant diets with other industry leaders from high calorie treat foods, to their natural diet of branches and grass. This new partnership will help our eles M’Changa and Janu continue enjoying a steady supply of just that.

With the help of Weston Power and Avon Wildlife Trust who are both undertaking tree cutting work not far from the 20 acre elephant habitat, our Keepers spotted an opportunity to sustainably recycle the new waste wood.

Collected by our hard-working Grounds team who regularly coppice local woodland to supplement the diets of grazing animals at the zoo, trailer loads of tree branches are now collected several times a week from the new area in neighbouring fields and driven back by tractor to our 100 acre estate ready for elephants, giraffes and tapirs.

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The government’s Henley Report criticised the zoo elephant world in 2010 for the comparatively short life in captivity of elephants, with too many suffering from arthritis and being over-weight. Noah’s Ark’s Elephant Eden was built in response and has achieved international recognition since for its welfare-improving training, healthcare and nutrition routines.

Noah’s Ark has been recognised with industry awards for its sustainable practise and green tourism for visitors, including the national Gold from the Green Tourism Business Scheme and Silver from the 2016 Bristol, Bath and Somerset Tourism awards.

Our visitors are able to enjoy the interesting sight of Janu and M’Changa stripping bark from the fresh branches piled in their field, natural behaviours not commonly seen in zoos and an important educational experience. If you haven’t been to Noah’s Ark before, plan your visit this weekend for Half Term and see what you’re missing.

“These are fascinating natural behaviours, which very few people in the world get to watch” said zoo owner Anthony Bush. “It also means that the elephants are never bored, never show stereotypical behaviour”.

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We currently have 2 elephants and are in negotiation for receiving others soon – stay tuned for more details over the coming months.

We’re open Monday to Saturday from 10:30am – 5pm. For more information visit www.noahsarkzoofarm.co.uk

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Costumed Zooperheroes spotted at Bristol animal park

Hard-working zoo keepers celebrated with fun photoshoot at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm

 

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Surprised visitors to Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm had their heads turned by an usual sight; superhero-costumed figures going about their daily animal-keeping chores for elephants, rhinos and big cats.

In a light-hearted event, the hard work of our ‘zooperheroes’ was recognised in an amusing photoshoot with caped crusaders posing around the 100 acre estate captured on camera.

With a dedicated team of 22 keepers working with a range of animals from emus to elephants, we’ve grown considerably in recent years and the daily management of the zoo requires an experienced and committed team to ensure it runs smoothly and meets the needs of both the animals and visitors.

Working long hours, weekends and public holidays outside in all weather, the life of our animal keepers is often glamorised with the public only seeing the fun parts of the job.

Emma Lamport, Marketing Manager at Noah’s Ark oversaw the light-hearted event.

 “It’s great to recognise the hard work and tireless enthusiasm of our keeper team. They brave the elements, work long days and are 100% committed to their animals. They are real-life superheroes!”

Noah’s Ark has a long-standing training program taking on volunteers and giving practical husbandry experience, offering full time internship and employment opportunities to those showing potential. Some of the zoos current keepers began their career this way, working their way up to senior positions on the keeping team.

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The 100 acre animal park is not just committed to sustainable staffing, it holds the Gold award in the national Green Tourism Business Scheme for its green innovation and carbon-reducing activities. One of only 4 UK zoos with the kite-mark, Noah’s Ark also won the national ‘Innovation Award’ from the National Farm Attractions Network earlier this year in recognition of its novel energy-saving projects including the new bear habitat, Andean Adventure.

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The zoo is open Monday to Saturday from 10:30am – 5pm. For more information visit www.noahsarkzoofarm.co.uk

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Playful bears hang out in ‘green’ hammocks at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm

Award-winning sustainable zoo makes hammocks for Andean bears from recycled firehose

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Two Andean ‘Spectacled’ bears at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm in Wraxall, Bristol enjoyed relaxing today in new hammocks made for them by Keepers from recycled fire hose donated by Avon Fire and Rescue.

The 100 acre animal park, home to a host of big zoo animals including elephants, rhino and big cats holds a Gold award in the national Green Tourism Business Scheme for its carbon-reducing activities and is continuing its sustainable innovation by giving hammocks to its bears created from reels of the reclaimed hose.

The parks playful two year old Spectacled bears Tupa and Sonco, brothers from Frankfurt Zoo in Germany, were immediately inquisitive when they came out of their house and spotted their new aerial beds – both climbing up to test them out for comfort and seen visibly enjoying the new resting spots.

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In a new partnership with Avon Fire, Noah’s Ark took delivery of 40 reels of industrial fire hose no longer suitable for firefighting use and has found creative ways to use them around the zoo. Bears, gibbons, lemurs and big cats are all the lucky recipients of fun enrichment items made from the repurposed material – play balls, climbing lines and hammocks are just some of the clever designs made by the parks Keeper teams and volunteers.

Noah’s Ark Keepers have been grateful for extra hands in the construction process – particularly from Lloyds bank staff in Bristol who joined the zoo for team-building days and were invaluable in their enthusiasm and practical help cutting and joining hose to make toys for the animals.

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Zoo Curator Chris Wilkinson comments

“It’s great to provide extra enrichment for our bears, the pair are very inquisitive and love exploring their habitat and anything new they can play with. It’s good for them, and fun for visitors to watch so a positive all round for the park”.

The park also won the national ‘Innovation Award’ from the National Farm Attractions Network earlier this year in recognition of its green efforts and novel energy-saving projects. It now becomes the first farm park to hold sustainability awards under the two schemes.

The new bear habitat, Andean Adventure has been praised for its sustainable design with low energy lighting and heating, with recycled water built into an educational exhibit for visitors. This follows on from the opening of the 20 acre internationally recognised Elephant Eden in 2014, built with the integration of renewable solar, heat power and recycling waste water and animal dung through natural processes.

The zoo farm has been praised for its public promotion of green issues and projects to visitors, with investment to provide useful displays and posters explaining the importance of green tourism and sustainable practise to families and schools.

Tupa and Sonco can be seen outside in Andean Adventure throughout the week, the zoo is open Monday to Saturday from 10:30am – 5pm. Find out more and plan your visit here to see them this week.

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2,000,000th visitor welcomed to top Somerset attraction

Sustainable home of the ‘big zoo’ animals celebrates record visit

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Dave and Lili, the 67th and 68th visitors to Noah’s Ark on 14th September.

 

Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm in Wraxall is celebrating a visitor milestone, having welcomed its 2 millionth visitor through the gates.

The 100 acre big zoo animal park in Somerset, home to elephants, rhinos and big cats has grown rapidly since its first full season in 1999. Originally Noah’s Ark Farm Centre, a small petting farm giving the public a chance to see where their food comes from, Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm is now an internationally recognised zoo involved in European research programmes.

With a series of high profile new animal exhibits built and opened to visitors in the past 5 years including the 20 acre Elephant Eden, one of the largest habitats for African elephants in the UK and the specially landscaped Andean Adventure; Noah’s Ark has seen visitor numbers surge to over 200,000 a year.

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From humble beginnings with 25,000 visits in its first full season, the 100 acre animal park has invested significantly in annual improvements to visitor facilities and adding new exhibits and play zones to provide new attractions and raise its profile.

The 2 millionth visitor was father and daughter Dave and Lili on 14th September, the 67th and 68th visitors through the gates on the day. The pair hadn’t visited the park before and enjoyed taking in the big zoo animals and using the adventure play.

The zoo has a history of sustainable development, winning Gold in the Green Tourism Business Scheme in 2016 for the second time in recognition of its energy-saving and carbon reducing activities.

One of only 4 UK zoos to have achieved the kitemark, Noah’s Ark has invested heavily in green energy projects including biomass heating for visitors (and animals!), solar panelling, wind turbines and rainwater recycling.

Noah’s Ark celebrated a record-breaking summer with a busy August seeing visitors enjoying the parks popular Elephant Trail event, part of the world’s biggest elephant art trail created by the charity Elephant Parade™.

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A house fit for a… Skunk! Guinness gets an eco-house at green award-winning zoo

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Keepers at Noah’s Ark transporting an inquisitive Guinness to his new home.

A lucky skunk called Guinness has this week taken up residence in a special eco-house created for him at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm, the South West’s green-award winning zoo.

The stripey 5 year old male skunk, a favourite of Keepers at the 100 acre animal park due to his inquisitive and friendly nature, took in the sights and smells of a new wooden house made using reclaimed materials in the zoo’s North America section.

Gold award-winners in the Green Tourism Business Scheme, Noah’s Ark is not new to the idea of sustainable practise – in the past two years the park has installed two of the UK’s highest profile ‘green’ zoo habitats; Elephant Eden, a 20 acre paradise for nature’s biggest mammal and Andean Adventure, a South American landscaped playground for Spectacled Bears.

Using the skills of their experienced Grounds team who are used to creating naturalistic and carbon-reducing enclosures, Guinness now has everything a skunk could wish for in his new home. A warm wooden house, uniquely insulated with sheep’s wool cavity filling and built from recycled timber, a dry yard and a spacious grass area to explore once he’s settled in.

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The design of the new development was fabricated using a range of re-purposed materials, including metalwork and hinges leftover from the recently completed bear habitat and wooden panelling from sheds saved from previous projects.

Noah’s Ark Deputy Grounds Manager Mike Bradly comments: “We’re glad to give this new home to Guinness and see him enjoying his new surroundings. Our team are keen to be sustainable in these projects and we’re used to being inventive in reusing materials and harnessing natural products from the environment around us. Guinness is pretty inquisitive, so we’re sure visitors will enjoy the opportunity to see him”.

Situated in the North America section on the main visitor route around the zoo, Guinness will be neighbours to a growing family of Prairie Dogs. Keepers hope to find a mate for Guinness soon, with the new home being more than big enough for two!

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Guinness taking his first steps out to his yard.

Sure to be a popular addition to the park, if you’re planning a visit to see him check out our opening times and prices and find out a little more about the zoo and our other animals.

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