Knowsley Safari Park

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Knowsley Safari Park
Knowsley Safari Park 2012 logo.jpg
Knowsley Safari Park Logo
Date opened 1971[1]
Location Knowsley, England
Coordinates 53°26′31″N 2°48′43″W / 53.442°N 2.812°W / 53.442; -2.812Coordinates: 53°26′31″N 2°48′43″W / 53.442°N 2.812°W / 53.442; -2.812
Land area 550 acres (220 ha)[2]
No. of animals 700+[2]
Memberships BIAZA,[3] EAZA[4]

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 [5] and its links with universities in Liverpool,[6] Chester [7] and Manchester.[8]


The park was opened in July 1971 by Edward Stanley, 18th Earl of Derby and Jimmy Chipperfield[9] using the expertise of General Manager Laurence Tennant MBE, formerly the Chief Game Warden of Parks in Uganda and Botswana.[10] 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, 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.[1]

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.[11]

The park has hosted several sporting events including the Olympic torch relay, watched by 6,000 children and families in June 2012.[12] 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.[13]

In 1995 Mr William Middleton, a warden at the park, was crushed and paralyzed due to a faulty elephant enclosure. Mr Middleton died 12 years later due to complications caused by his injuries.

Zoological collection[edit]

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 bypass route past the baboons for those who wish to avoid the risk of these animals inflicting damage upon their car. The baboons have a shop near the exit, where they sell used car parts obtained from vehicles passing through their enclosure. Knowsley council has given many awards to the baboons for this recycling scheme and uses the baboons images in its recycling leaflets. 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.[14]

The Equatorial Trail[edit]

This exhibit focuses on animals who thrive in habitats around the Earth's Equator. The exhibit also ouses the 'Equatorial Express', a small train which visitors can ride to gain a unique viewpoint of the animals. 4 completely different species of animals are housed in this exhibit, the South American tapir, Sitatunga, Rhea (bird) and the Capybara.[15]

African Elephant[edit]

The park houses a herd of 4 adult cows named Tana, Ashanti, Nala and Juba. They currently do not house a bull elephant however do have the facilities such as a separated bull pen and a separated outdoor paddock with an electrical fence running down the middle. Knowsley previously housed a bull named Nissim however collapsed in June 2014. Knowsley also recently lost their cow named Shaba due to a long battle with elephant Arthritis, a disease common in captive elephants.

Southern White Rhinoceros[edit]

Knowsley's crash of 11 adult rhinos is one of the most successful and genetically diverse breeding groups in the whole of Europe. With the latest calf, Nomvula (Mother of Rain - a reference to the recent wet weather), born to mum Meru and is the 19th to be born at the facility in the last 40 years. Nomvula is Meru's 6th calf and was born on 2 January 2016.

Safari Drive[edit]

The Safari Drive is the park's main attraction and contains over 29 different animals in 7 different zones.

Zone 1[edit]

This zone contains: Père David's deer, Fallow deer, Kiang and Bactrian camel.

Zone 2[edit]

Otherwise known as the 'Carnivore loop' This zone contains: Siberian tiger, Lion, Iberian wolf and the Somali wild ass. Previously housed African wild dog.

Zone 3[edit]

This zone contains: Chital, Bongo (antelope), Blackbuck, Nilgai, Eld's deer, Emu and Barasingha.

Zone 4+8[edit]

This zone contains: Roan antelope, Scimitar oryx, Ankole-Watusi, Lechwe and Blesbok.

Zone 5[edit]

This zone contains exclusively the Olive baboon which are famous for the removal of windscreen wipers and other appendages off vehicles. There is a car-friendly route which totally removes this zone however is still visible from outside the perimeter. This leads directly to zone 6.

Zone 6[edit]

Zone 6 is over 100 acres and contains over a mile of road. It one of Knowsley's two white rhino paddocks and is one of the largest in the UK. This zone contains: Southern white rhinoceros, Common eland, Ostrich, Blue wildebeest and the Plains zebra.

Zone 7[edit]

This zone contains: Southern white rhinoceros, Waterbuck, Common eland and African forest buffalo.

All information correct and sourced from the Knowsley Safari Guide Book 2015.

Railway and other attractions[edit]

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.

Animal care[edit]

In January 2011, local animal rights activists held a peaceful demonstration after an inspection by government vets found one instance[16] 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 before 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’.[17]


  1. ^ a b "About Us". Knowsley Safari Park. Retrieved 10 July 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Visit Liverpool: Knowsley Safari Park. Retrieved 10 April 2015.
  3. ^ "BIAZA Zoos and Aquariums". BIAZA. Retrieved 3 January 2013. 
  4. ^ "EAZA Member Zoos & Aquariums". EAZA. Retrieved 3 January 2013. 
  5. ^ "Endangered Wildlife Trust". Archived from the original on 2014-02-01. Retrieved 2014-01-25. 
  6. ^ Philip Bunker. "Rhino family health checks at Knowsley Safari Park". Archived from the original on 2014-02-03. Retrieved 2014-01-25. 
  7. ^ "Ken Dodd tickled pink to receive Honorary Degree. | University Of Chester". Retrieved 2014-01-25. 
  8. ^ "News". Retrieved 2014-01-25. 
  10. ^ "Knowsley Safari Park". Cheshire Now. Retrieved 10 April 2013. 
  11. ^ Airfields of Britain Conservation Trust
  12. ^ "Animal magic as thousands cheer Olympic torch through Knowsley Safari Park". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 10 April 2013. 
  13. ^ "Knowsley to host key stage of the 2013 Tour of Britain". Bay Tv Liverpool. Retrieved 10 April 2013. 
  14. ^ Baboons video on YouTube
  15. ^ "Knowsley Safari". Knowsley Safari. Retrieved 2016-06-04. 
  16. ^ "Animal rights campaigners to old protest". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 10 July 2011. 
  17. ^ Tozer, James (11 January 2011). "Animals culled and left to rot by bins in a top British safari park". London: Dail Mail. Retrieved 10 July 2011. 

External links[edit]