Knowsley Safari Park
Knowsley Safari Park Logo
A baboon, photographed from inside a car
Knowsley Safari Park is a zoological park and tourist attraction in the Knowsley area of Merseyside, England. Knowsley Safari Park is a member of British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) and European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA). The safari park contributes to conservation and research through links with conservation projects  and its links with universities in Liverpool, Chester  and Manchester.
The park was opened in July 1971 by Edward Stanley, 18th Earl of Derby using the expertise of General Manager Laurence Tennant MBE, formerly the Chief Game Warden of Parks in Uganda and Botswana. Initially the road through the park was 3.5 miles (5.6 km), with visitors driving past lions, cheetahs, monkeys, giraffes, zebra, elephants and various antelope. Due to the popularity of this route, an additional 1.5 miles (2.4 km) of road was added in 1973, and camels, buffalo, white rhino, and tigers were added to the park. Over the years, a few modifications have been made. For instance, lions and tigers are now displayed in enclosures within the reserve, and a bypass around the baboons was built for visitors who are worried about damage to their cars.
The park was also home to a former RAF airfield which closed at the end of World War II. The RAF airbase situated at the safari park was also known as Knowsley / Knowsley Safari Park / No 49 SLG / RAF Knowsley Park and was in use between 13 May 1942 – November 1944.
The park has hosted several sporting events including the Olympic torch relay, watched by 6,000 children and families in June 2012. The park hosted the finish of Stage Two of the 2012 Tour of Britain cycling event and is scheduled to host Stage Three of the 2013 Tour on Tuesday 17 September.
Situated around Knowsley Hall on the ancestral estate of the Earl of Derby, the reserve is home to many different animals including elephants, giraffes, lions, bongos, tigers and baboons. The Derby Estate have a tradition of keeping animals, ever since the famous artist and nonsense-poet Edward Lear was employed there in the 19th century to paint pictures of the Earl's collection.
The park is open to the public and customers drive around the park in their own vehicles. There is a car friendly bypass route past the baboons for those who don't want to risk damage to their car, as these animals have attracted a certain reputation for mistreating the vehicles of their visitors. Spoof TV presenter Alan Partridge remarked of monkeys that "if you’ve been to Knowsley Safari Park and they’re pulling the wipers off your windscreen and nicking your hub caps, you lose sympathy. In 2009 the baboons made the news all over the world when a video was released showing how they were intelligent and curious enough to open car roofboxes.
Railway and other attractions
The park features a 15 in (381 mm) gauge railway, 'The Lakeside Railway', on which visitors may tour parts of the site. There is also a collection of amusements and fairground rides on site plus paintballing, off-road driving challenges, and aerial extreme ropewalks.
A baboon house was added in 2006, along with African Wild Dogs that same year, a lion and tiger house in 2007. Red river hogs and marmosets were also added to the walkaround section, as well as an outdoor pool.
In January 2011, local animal rights activists held a peaceful demonstration after an inspection by government vets found one instance of a breach of regulations on the disposal of animal ‘by-products’. Pictures in the Daily Mail showed animals lying dead on the ground and in binbags, although the park's directors claim the pictures were staged by the photographer, whose husband the paper claimed had recently lost his job at the park. The park has since installed an enclosure for the storage of animal carcasses prior to disposal. The British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) later said it had ‘full confidence’ in Knowsley and praised its ‘excellent standards of animal husbandry and welfare’.
- "About Us". knowsleysafariexperience.co.uk. Knowsley Safari Park. Retrieved 10 July 2011.
- "BIAZA Zoos and Aquariums". biaza.org.uk. BIAZA. Retrieved 3 January 2013.
- "EAZA Member Zoos & Aquariums". eaza.net. EAZA. Retrieved 3 January 2013.
- "Endangered Wildlife Trust". ewt.org.za. Retrieved 2014-01-25.
- Philip Bunker. "Rhino family health checks at Knowsley Safari Park". ljmu.ac.uk. Retrieved 2014-01-25.
- "Ken Dodd tickled pink to receive Honorary Degree. | University Of Chester". chester.ac.uk. Retrieved 2014-01-25.
- "News". knowsleysafariexperience.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-01-25.
- "Knowsley Safari Park". Cheshire Now. Retrieved 10 April 2013.
- http://www.abct.org.uk/airfields/knowsley-park Airfields of Britain Conservation Trust
- "Animal magic as thousands cheer Olympic torch through Knowsley Safari Park". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 10 April 2013.
- "Knowsley to host key stage of the 2013 Tour of Britain". Bay Tv Liverpool. Retrieved 10 April 2013.
- http://www.alan-partridge.co.uk/scripts/imalans01/episode4.htm Alan Partridge on the park's primates (script)
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OCQtbLngkmM Baboons video on YouTube
- "Animal rights campaigners to old protest]". liverpoolecho.co.uk. Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 10 July 2011.
- Tozer, James (11 January 2011). "Animals culled and left to rot by bins in a top British safari park". dailymail.co.uk (London: Dail Mail). Retrieved 10 July 2011.
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