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 (60 acres or 24 hectares): Rothschild giraffes, Grant's zebras, helmeted guineafowl, Dromedary camels, llama 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. Anne has got a new elephant house with sand, feeding areas and outdoor space which features a large grassy paddock, rocks, log piles, a giant browse frame, sandpit and plunge pool and scratching post when elephants do get itchy. Anne is now sharing her new home with the 3 Nubian goats. The new house does have the capacity for additional elephants and this is something Longleat have been very open about and would consider the need of other elephants that need a home like Anne did on a case-by-case basis
- Pelican Pond and Surrounding Area: pink-backed pelicans, common eland and eastern bongo.
- Deer Park: red deer and fallow deer
- Tiger Territory: three 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 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 Kesho, Alf and Evindi
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 alongside golden pheasants. 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 Goats, Macaws, Rabbits, Tortoises, Iguanas, Kune Kune Pigs, Armadillos, Siberian Weasels, Rock Hyraxes, Fennec Fox, prairie dogs 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. Donkeys Tony and Lucky can also be seen as well and the 3 Emus and 2 Kookaburras called Darwin and Giggles has just arrived to join the Animal Adventure in 2015
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
In the media
Roar is about the animals and keepers at Wild Animal Parks. It is similar to another 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
- British Zoos: Longleat Safari Park. Retrieved 10 April 2015
- "Jungle Express 15 inch". Miniature Railway World. Miniature Railway World. Retrieved 5 October 2014.
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