West Midland Safari Park

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West Midland Safari and Leisure Park
Giraffes at west midlands safari park.jpg
Giraffes at the park
Date opened 17 April 1973
Location Bewdley, Worcestershire, England
Coordinates 52°22′32″N 2°17′18″W / 52.3754944°N 2.2882462°W / 52.3754944; -2.2882462Coordinates: 52°22′32″N 2°17′18″W / 52.3754944°N 2.2882462°W / 52.3754944; -2.2882462
Land area 200 acres (81 ha)[1]
Number of animals 600[1]
Number of species 165
Annual visitors 650,000+
Memberships BIAZA,[2] EAZA[3]
Major exhibits African Plains, Flooded Forest, Mark O'Shea's Reptile World, Sea Lion Theatre, Land Of The Living Dinosaurs, and others
Website www.wmsp.co.uk/index.php

West Midland Safari and Leisure Park is a safari park located in Bewdley in Worcestershire, England. It was opened under the name of West Minster Safari Park in spring 1973.

The park holds over 165 species of exotic animals, among other attractions such as a small theme park. The park contains the largest groups of white lions, cheetahs, hippopotami, and meerkats in the UK, as well as the largest lemur walk-through exhibit. It was also the first park in the UK to have the African big five game animals.[1]

The park is a member of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) and the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA). The dhole and cheetah enclosures in the drive-through safari are part of a larger heathland Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) which the park is restoring.[4][5]

History[edit]

The park was opened by Jimmy Chipperfield on 17 April 1973 and at the time hosted a few ex-circus animals. Early on, the park had a dolphin area where the sea lion theatre is today, but this was a travelling show and the dolphins were later returned to Margate. The 1970s also saw the park develop a "Boat Safari" in keeping with the fashions of the time, although this was later removed, and a narrow gauge railway through parts of the park was constructed by Severn Lamb in 1979.[citation needed]

The park saw its first new animal exhibit for some time with the arrival of four African white lions in "Kingdom of the White Lions" in 2004. The park was the first safari park in the UK to have all five African big game animals,[1] although its leopards have since been moved to Scotland, leaving it with only four of the five.

In 2006, the managing directors of West Midland Safari Park officially opened the Ongava Research Centre on the Ongava Game Reserve near the Etosha National Park, their "sister park" in Namibia. The centre focuses on researching lions and rhinoceroses and carrying capacity of the reserves, which hold many rare animals. The centre has three full-time researchers[6] who work closely with Save the Rhinos and the University of Cape Town.

Conservation[edit]

West Midland Safari Park is well known for its efforts in conservation. The park contains many animals that are on the IUCN's endangered or critically endangered list.

Two African elephants at the park

In May 2014, the park's Elephant Valley became home to the first male African elephant successfully born through AI in the UK.[7]



Amusement Park Rides[edit]

Opened Name Manufacturer Description
1985 "Congo Carousel" Robert Tidman Classic gallopers ride, operated previously at Happy Hour Amusement Park, Colwyn Bay.
1986 "Jungle Swings" A classic chair-o-plane ride.
c.1986 "Jungle Cat Dodgems" I.E. Park Cat-themed dodgems.
2006 "Venom" Far Fabbri A drop tower ride.
1990s "Zambezi Water Splash" Reverchon Industries A standard 2-drop log flume.
2002 "Black Fly" Far Fabbri A frisbee ride.
1980s "Dr. Umboto's Catacombs" Supercar A ghost train ride.
2004 "Jumbo Parade" Far Fabbri An elephant-themed jets ride.
1979 "Safari Express" Severn Lamb A miniature railway.
1983 "Pirate Ship" HUSS Park Attractions A classic pirate ship ride.
1995 "Hurtling Hippos" Bakker Denies A polyp ride, formerly named "Tarantula", "Spider" and "Cape Octopus". Operated previously at Codona's Amusement Park.
2006 "Wild River Rafting" Far Fabbri A small river rapids ride.
1992 "Rhinocoaster" Vekoma A junior rollercoaster, formerly named "Rollerskater". The park traded in their Vekoma Boomerang for the "Rollerskater".
1988 "African Big Apple" Pinfari An MB28 junior rollercoaster.
1998 "Walls' Twister Ride" Reverchon Industries A spinning wild mouse rollercoaster.
2009 "Shark Island" Shenyang Chuangqi A.E. An interactive water roundabout.
'99/'00 "Slippery Snake Slide" Chris Randall A snake-themed tube slide.


References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "West Midland Safari Park". britishzoos.co.uk. Diamond Publishing Ltd. Retrieved 30 December 2012. 
  2. ^ "BIAZA Zoos and Aquariums". biaza.org.uk. BIAZA. Retrieved 19 February 2011. 
  3. ^ "EAZA Member Zoos & Aquariums". eaza.net. EAZA. Retrieved 19 February 2011. 
  4. ^ "Safari Drive-Through". wmsp.co.uk. West Midland Safari Park. Retrieved 30 December 2012. 
  5. ^ "Conservation". wmsp.co.uk. West Midland Safari Park. Retrieved 30 December 2012. 
  6. ^ "Ongava Research Centre (ORC) & Namibian Wildlife Conservation Trust (NWCT)". wmsp.co.uk. West Midland Safari Park. Retrieved 30 December 2012. 
  7. ^ "New Baby Elephant Named!" (Press release). Bewdley, Worcestershire: West Midland Safari Park. 12 June 2014. Retrieved 12 June 2014. 

External links[edit]