Blair Drummond Safari Park
||This article contains content that is written like an advertisement. (July 2011)|
|Date opened||1970 |
|Location||Blair Drummond, Stirling, Scotland|
|Land area||120 acres (49 ha) |
|Number of animals||300 |
Blair Drummond Safari Park is a Zoo and Safari Park located near Stirling in Scotland. Opened to the public in 1970, it is spread over 120 acres (49 ha). The safari park features drive-through reserves, a boat safari, and a safari bus that is free to visitors.
- 1 History
- 2 The reserves
- 3 The park
- 4 Other activities
- 5 Education
- 6 Conservation
- 7 Notes
- 8 External links
The original Blair Drummond House was built in 1715. Sir John Kay, a tea merchant from Glasgow, purchased the house and its surrounding land in 1916. Because he had no sons, Kay passed the property to his nephew Sir John Muir, the father of the park's present owner Jamie Muir. The house was a family home until it was sold to the Camphill Movement, a charity that cares for people with special needs, in 1977.
The current Blair Drummond House was built in a new location in 1872 by James Campbell Walker, and again in 1923 by James Bow Dunn after a fire destroyed the previous house.
Blair Drummond Safari Park was opened in 1970, and currently it covers 120 acres (49 ha) of land, keeps several exotic and endangered animals in its collection, and is involved in several captive breeding and research programs for endangered species.
Like many safari parks, Blair Drummond features reserve areas that visitors drive through in their own cars and view free-roaming animals. Species that are kept in the drive-through reserves include Père David's deer, southern white rhinoceros, dromedary camels, Bactrian camels, African lions, ostriches, Ankole cattle, fallow deer, Siberian tigers, Darwin's rhea, lechwe and sika deer.
The park has many attractions, including a host of animals to be viewed on foot and by boat, a kids' adventure area, bird of prey and sea-lion displays, pedal-boats, rides and amusements. The following are included in the standard ticket price:
Lemur Land is reached by bridge next to the Boat Safari, and is a sanctuary for ring-tailed lemurs, brown lemurs, and red-ruffed lemurs. Visitors walk through this area and the lemurs roam free, with tall bushy trees and a network of thick ropes for them to play on. Several feed tables around the walkway let visitors get close to the lemurs, but visitors can also watch the lemurs living and playing in their natural habitat.
A short boat trip alongside Lemur Land and round the bend takes visitors to view Chimp Island - an island home to chimpanzees. Here the visitors are taken round the island on a boat by an experienced guide, who gives information on the chimps as they survey the boatloads of people.
The park is home to three female African elephants. These spend their day foraging around their enclosure and using the various pieces of enrichment provided for them by their keepers. On some days, if the elephants are willing, the keepers will engage the elephants in a demonstration of how they care for the elephants at the park. Here the visitors can get up close as the elephants present their feet, mouth, ears and tail to the keepers for inspection and cleaning.
Sea lion show
Four times a day the visitors can enter the sea-lion house, where they can see one of the sea-lion keepers working with the four California sea lions at the park. Here the visitors can experience the intelligence and physical abilities of these animals as they leap, clap and play with their keepers.
Bird of prey displays
Three times a day, the visitors can see some of the abilities of the birds of prey that reside at the park. Here, the birds are flown by the park's experienced falconers, who explain and demonstrate the birds' capabilities as they swoop over the large loch. Often the park's white-tailed sea-eagle can be seen snatching a lure from the loch. Birds here include harrier hawks, eagle owls, buzzards, vultures, saker falcons, kestrels and barn owls.
This area of the park homes many exotic and domesticated species of animals. Feed can be purchased here and some of the animals can be fed by the visitors as they make their way round. Animals in this area include Parma wallabies, red-necked wallabies, pygmy goats, ponies, Clydesdales, donkeys, llamas, Somali sheep, guinea pigs, guinea fowl, pot-bellied pigs, meerkats, Humboldt penguins, Oriental small-clawed otters and free-roaming marmosets.
Viewing platforms are positioned throughout the park, which allow visitors to view into some of the enclosures from an elevated position. They are located at the giraffe/zebra enclosure, the lion reserve and the tiger reserve.
Rides and amusements
The park has a variety of activities for both children and adults. There is a large astraglide slide and adventure playground, where visitors will find a pirate ship and climbing maze with slides, all housed within a sand arena. There are also pedal boats (the 'splash cats') positioned underneath a large flying-fox.
Visitors can purchase tokens for some of the other rides and attractions including dodgems, kids' dragon rollercoaster, a bouncy castle and a carousel. Face painting is also available for visitors of all ages.
Eating at the park
Restaurants, grills and snack outlets are found throughout the park, and a variety of food is offered, from baked potatoes to hot dogs and donuts, and can be eaten indoors or outside.
Throughout the day, the education team make their way round some of the enclosures, giving talks on some of the animals at the park. The talks include information about the natural environments, behaviours and biology of the animals, as well as specific information on the individuals at the park. Some of the talks include a feeding and so provide a good opportunity to see the animals active if they are having a lazy day.
In addition, the zoo has both animal related and education related volunteer programs. Animal volunteers help with the daily tasks of the zoo, including mucking out and cleaning of animal enclosures, feed preparation, and implementing enrichment for animals. Education volunteers help with daily education of visitors, including working at the touch tables, talking with visitors, helping with education talks for schools, and helping organize and plan events and fundraising.
"Keeper for the Day" and "Junior Keeper for the Day" are paid packages let people to work hands-on with a number of the animals at the park along with their keepers.
Blair Drummond Safari Park has been a member of British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) since 2004. Being a member of this organisation lets the park participate in coordinated breeding programmes with other zoos in the United Kingdom and Ireland for endangered animals. They also recognise all the research carried out at the park and the conservation work the park supports abroad.
Breeding successes at the park
The most recent success story at the park was the birth of 'Alba', a bactrian camel. Bactrian camels are native to the steppes regions in Eastern Asia and are listed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN.
Other animals that have successfully bred in the park include:
- Pere David's deer
- Southern white rhinos
- Fallow deer
Annual conservation campaigns
As a modern safari park, Blair Drummond accepts the importance of educating and raising the awareness of visitors to the plight of endangered species, and one way in which this is addressed is through conservation campaigns. Annually Blair Drummond contributes to conservation campaign run by European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA), and in recent years have won awards for their involvement towards the cause. Blair Drummond has participated in the following EAZA campaigns:
- EAZA Tiger Campaign 2002/04
- EAZA Shellshock Campaign 2004/05
- EAZA Save the Rhino Campaign 2005/06
- EAZA Madagascar Campaign 2006/07
- EAZA European Carnivore Campaign 2008/09 
In addition to contributing towards EAZA campaigns and fund-raising events, Blair Drummond donates money towards other conservation campaigns. One of these is Friends of the Mau Watershed (FOMAWA) in Kenya, to which Blair Drummond donates £5,000 annually. The project aims to protect the forests of Kenya, the wildlife found there, the surrounding environment and the people, through in situ conservation.
In 2008, the park hosted their own conservation campaign, SOS: Save Our Squirrels, to raise awareness of the plight of the red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) in Britain. The funds raised during this campaign were used help the red squirrel population living in the park.
Animal adoption packs are available at a range of levels. The adopter can contribute to the welfare of their chosen animal at the safari park and have their name displayed on an adopters’ plaque next to their animal’s enclosure.
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