Longleat Safari Park
|Longleat Safari Park|
|Longleat Safari Park shown within Wiltshire|
|Area||9,000 acres (36.42 km2)|
Longleat Safari and Adventure Park, in Wiltshire, England was opened in 1966 and was the first drive-through safari park outside Africa. The park is situated in the grounds of Longleat House, an English stately home that attracts tourists and is the current home of the 7th Marquess of Bath. The safari park was the first of its kind anywhere in the world and was considered to be a massive breakthrough in the way in which captive animals were kept, with the animals roaming freely and the visitors in cages (cars). Longleat Safari Park and the concept of safari parks were the brainchild of Jimmy Chipperfield (1912–1990), former co-director of Chipperfield's Circus.
Today Longleat's collection comprises over 500 animals, and the whole estate is situated on 9,000 acres (36.42 km2) of Wiltshire countryside.
The Safari Parks Reserves
- Wallaby Wood: red-necked wallabies with pygmy goats, warthogs, African spurred tortoises, brown lemurs, ring-tailed lemurs and Brazilian tapirs nearby. It is possible to get out of the car and view this section on foot.
- The East African Game Reserve: Rothschild giraffes, Grant's zebras, llamas, dromedary camels, helmeted guineafowl and nyala.
- Flamingo Valley: Chilean flamingos, sacred ibises, whistling ducks, spoonbills and wood ducks.
- Vulture Venue: five pairs of African vultures and grey crowned cranes.
- Monkey Jungle: rhesus macaques and blackbucks.
- Big Game Park: scimitar-horned oryx, Ankole cattle, southern white rhinos, blue wildebeest, ostriches, Bactrian camels, roan antelope and Pere David's deer.
- The Elephants: – Anne the Asian elephant currently resides at the park, and Longleat is currently building a new sanctuary for her. Additionally Longleat plans to personally invest £50,000 a year for the next five years to develop and support international programmes with a focus on improving the welfare of captive and working elephants around the world
- Pelican Pond and Surrounding Area: pink-backed pelicans, common eland and eastern bongo.
- Deer Park: red deer and fallow deer
- Tiger Territory: four Amur tigers
- Lion Country (section 1): African lion, (section 2): African lion
- Cheetah Kingdom: six cheetahs
- Wolf Wood: Canadian timber wolves
- Half Mile Lake: common hippopotamus, California sea lions, eastern great white pelicans
- Gorilla Island (situated in Half Mile Lake): Home to elderly male western lowland gorilla Nico
- Gorilla Colony (situated at the far end of Half Mile Lake): home to a small bachelor group of three male western lowland gorillas
The estate is open to the public with the various attractions being individually priced. A 'passport' ticket providing one admission to each attraction is available at a discount.
This attraction opened in 2011 and is the first step in a long redevelopment programme of the park as set out by new CEO David Bradley. The first section is within the former Pets Corner area, and includes walk-through exhibits for meerkats and chipmunks (the former is the first of its kind in the UK) along with themed enclosures for otters, binturong, coatis, porcupines, giant anteaters and maras. The second section built between Jungle Kingdom and Animal Adventure includes the Monkey Temple which allows marmosets to run free around the visitors from mock temple ruins, and the lorikeet feeding station where visitors can buy pots of nectar to feed to rainbow lorikeets in a walk-through aviary. Otters, red pandas and barn owls can also be found in this area.
Containing many animals previously kept in Pets Corner, there are many exotic and familiar mammals, birds, reptiles and insects on display, including macaws, rabbits, tortoises, iguanas, kune kune pigs, armadillos, Siberian weasels, rock hyraxes, fennec fox, and many more. A walk-through butterfly hot house and handling areas for small mammals, reptiles and invertebrates allow visitors to gain direct contact with the animals.
Jungle Express Railway
Established in 1965 and expanded in 1975, the Jungle Express railway is a 15-inch gauge ridable miniature railway which passes through the Jungle Kingdom. It has a length of one mile and circles a Half Mile Pond. Reindeer can also be found at Christmas when everyone go on Santa Express which is known as the Jungle Express where they meet Santa in his grotto
The Jungle Cruise involves taking a short trip around the park's lake, which houses a large family of sea lions, the dominant male of which is called Buster, and a pair of hippos. Aboard, it is possible for £1.00 to receive a cup of fish pieces to throw to the sea lions, who naturally follow the boat and bark for food.
Opened in July 2013. Penguin Island is a 225,000-litre naturally-themed display which is home to a colony of 30 captive bred Humboldt penguins. Visitors can enjoy spectacular views from both above and below the waterline via giant viewing windows. As part of their new display visitors will have the opportunity to actually walk inside part of their enclosure and the penguins will then be able to choose whether they want to interact with people
Opened in July 2013 same as Penguin Island. Stingray Bay is a giant, open-topped display housing a selection of marine stingray species and is home to Thornback stingrays
Hunters of the Sky
New birds of prey will be joining the display team with spectacular new flying sequences, thrilling entrances plus opportunities to get closer and maybe even hold one to these amazing group of birds. The spectacular 30-minute shows will be held up to three times a day and feature more than 10 species of birds of prey from around the world, demonstrating their extraordinary aerial prowess in a purpose-built 500-seater outdoor arena. It is home to eagle, king vulture, eagle owls, kookaburra, hawk and many more.
Deer Valley is home to fallow deer where visitors can feed them
In the media
Roar is about the animals and keepers at Wild Animal Parks. It is similar to anther BBC series, Animal Park, filmed at Longleat Safari Park. From series 6, it has moved from Howletts and Port Lympne to Longleat.
- Mary Chipperfield, Lions on the Lawn (1971)
- The lions and loins of Longleat The Sunday Times Retrieved 18 February 2011
- New Scientist 2 Dec 1982 Retrieved 18 February 2011
- Great dynasties of the world: The Chipperfields The Guardian Retrieved 18 February 2011
- "Jungle Express 15 inch". Miniature Railway World. Miniature Railway World. Retrieved 5 October 2014.
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