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" The Lake District Wildlife Park "

Date & start time:    Tuesday 31st July, 2018. 11.30 pm start.

Location of Start :   Armathwaite, North end of Bass Lake , Cumbria, Uk. ( NY 205 328 )

Places visited :         The Lake District Wildlife Park

Walk details :             Drive to the Wildlife Park and then a walk around the grounds.

Walked with :             Gareth, Rhian and Luke, Ann but no dog this time.

Weather :                    Overcast but generally fine.

© Crown copyright. All rights reserved. Licence number PU 100034184.


Cathy and the boys have headed home but on Gareth and Rhian's last day

we head over to introduce Luke (and ourselves) to the delights of the Lake District Wildlife Park

near Armathwaite Hall and Bassenthwaite Village at the north end of Bass Lake.

Armathwaite Hall Hotel across the fields from the car park.

Their wildlife centre used to be known as 'Trotters World of Animals' but is now the Lake District Wildlife Park

It occupies 24 acres of parkland on the Armathwaite Estate, with over 100 species of wild and domestic animals on view.

Access and parking are easy

and the information board at the entrance gives us an idea of the layout of the park and how to organise our day.

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They have a real variety of

birds, reptiles and animals to view . . .


from the smallest primates

to the largest Himalayan Yaks.


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From this relatively unknown Patagonian Mara



. . . to the instantly recognisable Meerkats.


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The entrance ticket and map

included a clever till receipt

that printed out the

times of special talks

and demonstrations

on this particular day.


It was nearing twelve o'clock

so we headed out

for the Bird of Prey display area.


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John our presenter, arrived with a large bird in hand . . .
. . . which was introduced to us as a Hooded Vulture.

As great scavengers they fulfill a vital role in the world as their main food is dead carcases of other animals.

Often regarded as harbingers of death, they nevertheless are vital to prevent the spread of infections

by eating the fallen animal remains (and even urban waste) before it has time to become infected. 

Without them the world would be in trouble (right click to 'open the page in a separate tab' or window.)

The Park pride themselves on letting their birds fly free . . .

. . . and train them to return by using tit bits of food on the glove.

[ If you can't spot the bird . . . look for shadow on the ground ! ]

John's next bird was a fine Eagle Owl.

Again it gave a magnificent flying display.

Its large wings gave him a powerful yet silent flight.

. . . pausing only for a brief rest on an adjacent fence post.

A third bird was a White Tailed Hawk.

. . . which after twenty five minutes or so, concluded this morning's flying display.

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Conveniently, the next talk was only a short distance away at the Ring Tailed Lemur enclosure.

Neil gave us a talk about the background of these intriguing animals.

They are an endangered species on Madagascar, their native territory,

and due to habitat loss, there are now more in wildlife parks and centres around the world than on the island itself.

The wildlife park is part of a breeding programme and they also support Seed Madagascar charity

which aims to help reinstate the vegetation and wildlife habitat that these animals need in order to live back in the wild.

You could help in a small way by signing this petition    (right click to open a new tab - active Aug 2018)

Another Lemur, one of two sisters . . .
. . . these are Red Ruffed Lemurs

They hope to introduce a visiting male in the future through their contacts within BIAZA

(the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums)

No problem recognising these animals though . . . everyone's favourite it seems . . . Otters !

. . . these are in fact Asian Short Clawed Otters.

They have a more wooded environment with a small stream and pond in which to move about.

The hot summer weather we have had this year has been a real concern to the park

as the stream that fills their pond has all but dried up.  Thankfully they also have an artificial pool they can swim in.

There are native British Otters locally in all the rivers and lakes of Cumbria.

They may be elusive and difficult to spot but apparently they are about.  We've even seen one on the shores of Buttermere Lake near home.

A rare Fishing Cat . . .
. . . native of Asia again I think.

We haven't seen this animal since we were on our Himalayan holiday in 2004.

The Darjeeling Zoo was also dedicated to captive breeding of their local rare species . . . the Sikkim Red Pandas.

Smaller and slimmer than the classic Chinese Panda . . .
. . . this one has a more varied forest diet.

. . . but you can't spend all  day climbing around your own English oak tree can you !

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Time for a wider walk around the grounds of the park.

Gareth and Rhian head one way with Luke, Ann and I the other . . . we'll meet up at the cafe later.

Map in hand, we set off on a wider circuit of the enclosures.
They had a herd of Llamas . . . if that is the correct collective noun.
On  past the Guanaco enclosure . . .
. . . and the Emus

Far from boring  . . . the Wild Boars.

They were once common in Cumbria in mediaeval times. 

Our local fell Grasmoor derives its name from the "hill or moorland of the wild boar".

A very recent addition to their collection . . . a pair of Scottish Wild Cats

It was so new that the wider woodland enclosure they have planned was not yet ready to accept them.

[ Apologies . . . the enclosure here was rather awkward to catch even a decent photo of this single animal.]

They are hoping to breed this rare animal and help in re-populating the Highlands.

The Scottish Wild Cat population has been depleted by persecution and also by interbreeding with feral domestic cats.

The Polecat.

Genetically, ferrets and polecats are remarkably similar and both can be found in many areas throughout the UK.

This one was tucking into a tasty bit of lunch . . . just behind a large hazel leaf !

A real attraction for these visitors . . . a family of Tamworth Pigs close to the lower path.

We pass this Eagle Owl, well camouflaged against the tree trunk.
In another enclosure, a Lynx.

Hold your cursor over the picture to . . . catch his attention.

[ The criss-cross effect comes from the wire fences, the mesh of which were too far away to exclude, with even the telephoto lens.]

One of the Tapir back near the entrance.

We met up with the others as arranged at the busy cafe.

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After lunch we headed out again

in the direction of the Green Barn

to see more of the birds,

reptiles and other animals.


In one enclosure

a beautiful Crested Crane.



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In another, a family of Yellow Mongoose.
There were reptiles including Python and these Eastern Box Tortoise.

What is this . . .
. . . it is actually two of these . . . Porcupines.
Next to them were these nosey neighbours . . .
. . . the ever inquisitive Meerkats.
They have a very social group of animals . . .
. . . who are famous for individuals standing look-out for their group.

Their expressions and interest in their surroundings are almost human-like which is perhaps why we are so enamoured by them.

Pop along one day and "go compare" them yourself !

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Loweswatercam moves briefly into serious portraiture in the bird of prey enclosure . . .

The American Bald Eagle
The Tawny Owl from Africa and India.
Our own Golden Eagle.

The Park is famous for being home to Brian, the oldest Lar Gibbon in Europe.

His first recorded appearance is on London Zoo’s records in 1963.

He lives in a family group here with his mate Sooty and several youngsters.

Another two of their other offspring live at Coombe Martin Wildlife Park in Devon.

Play fighting in the enclosure.

Apparently these gibbons take great delight in welcoming the dawn from the tops of the huge oak tree to which they have access.

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Time flies . . . and so do the birds of prey again.

It's three o'clock and time for the second display of the day.

We have a bird . . . but no keeper ?

The avian half of the display is free flying without anyone about . . . could it be a buzzard or big hawk ?

It flies to the keeper who has just stepped out from the audience . . . and the bird is revealed as a large Kite.

In flight his tail is different from a Buzzard . . .
. . . and his wing structure different from the Osprey.

But they don't have resident Ospreys at the Park ?

We were treated to a flying display by one of the Bassenthwaite wild Ospreys that flew high over our heads . . . at no extra charge !

Look for the sharply angled wings and the split wing feathers of the adult Osprey on the right.

Our Kite returns to his keeper.

Our next bird was the famous Falcon . . .
. . . often kept as a sporting bird amongst enthusiasts.

John doesn't regard himself as a falconer . . . but he does understand falcons and what makes them tick.

This fast, agile bird gave an impressive flying display . . . including chasing the lure on the end of the rope.

Once captured, the lure would only be given up for some real food !

Well . . . that's all folks.

John hopes we enjoyed the display, the birds, the animals and the reptiles

and leave with a better understanding of their lives

and the purpose of the Wildlife Park in the context of the preservation of endangered species.

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Technical note: Pictures taken with my Panasonic Lumix Gx8 Camera.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

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Previous walk - 30th July - The Buttermere Bridges

A previous time here - Not visited here before so no photos on file.

Next walk - 4th August - Return of the Squirrel