New faces and very vocal giant otters at New Forest Wildlife Park this Easter

March 8, 2018

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There are plenty of new faces at New Forest Wildlife Park this Easter, and some very vocal giant otters!

Keepers have noticed a lot of giant otter chat going on over the park as resident giant otter brothers Simuni and Akuri have been joined by their mum Panambi and sister Meamu this year.

Panambi and Meamu were moved down from the Chestnut Centre in Derbyshire earlier this year and are now on show to the public. Simuni and Akuri have been moved to an enclosure off show but the family members are aware of each other’s presence and have been communicating a lot across the park with their very loud calls.

“Giant otters are very family oriented and can live in family groups of up to 17 individuals in the wild. They communicate a lot with each other with a variety of extremely loud calls while they are out and about. Our giant otters are almost 100 yards apart in separate enclosures but we often hear them calling back and forth to each other,” said Senior Keeper and Events Manager Shanna Dymond.

Many more animals have been moved to New Forest Wildlife Park following the closure of the Chestnut Centre at the end of last year. Owners Carol and Roger Heap have semi-retired and are concentrating on their two other wildlife parks in the New Forest and in Battersea.

Visitors will therefore be able to see a lot of new faces this Easter, including Scottish wildcats Apple and Cormack, Hamish the pine marten, trained captive-bred owl Muckle, red fox Autumn and Pickwick the Asian short-clawed otter.

A total of 10 otters have moved down from Derbyshire, including the two giant otters, one Eurasian otter and 7 Asian short-clawed otters. 32 owls have also made the move to the New Forest and have been housed in 10 more aviaries, with some of them not yet on show. A new deer enclosure has also been built beyond the European bison to house the Chestnut Centre’s fallow deer herd.

“We have a lot more animals and birds here now and we are providing suitable accommodation for them,” said NFWP owner Carol Heap. “Not all of the new arrivals are on show yet but we will be rotating them around over time so that everyone gets a chance to see them. The new arrivals have settled in very well and seem to be appreciating the milder weather in the New Forest, despite the recent snow. We are thrilled that the move has gone really well and that all our animals and birds have adapted successfully to their new homes.”

As well as the new faces, visitors to New Forest Wildlife Park will be able to enjoy an Easter Egg Hunt from Good Friday March 30th to Sunday April 15th, costing £1 per quiz sheet, including a prize. Crafts activities will also be available over the school holidays and the Tropical Butterfly House will open on March 30th, with hundreds of new butterfly pupae hatching out each week.

As well as several species of otters, owls and deer, visitors to New Forest Wildlife Park can see a lynx, red foxes, ferrets, harvest mice, polecats, pine martens, mouflon, wolves, wallabies, badgers, souslik, water voles, hedgehogs, Scottish wildcats and wild boar.

There are animal encounters, feeding sessions and keeper talks throughout the day plus special events in the school holidays.

With two action-packed Go Wild! adventure playgrounds, a gift shop and tempting café too, New Forest Wildlife Park makes for a fabulous day out for all the family.

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