Baby boom at Kirkley zoo

Kirkley Hall baby boom
Kirkley Hall baby boom

A baby boom is under way at a Northumberland attraction as it has succesfully bred six different species since May.

Award-winning Kirkley Hall Zoological Gardens has had a number of exciting new arrivals.

They include Tindra, the reindeer calf, two meerkat pups, a flock of bar-headed and barnacle geese goslings, as well as ringed teal, a small breed of ducks from South American forests, which the zoo has been trying to successfully breed for many years.

Five rare Waldrapp ibis chicks have also successfully been bred at the zoo this summer.

The zoo, which was opened in 2011 by BBC Countryfile presenter Adam Henson, is a realistic learning environment for students at Northumberland College’s Kirkley Hall campus, and is open to members of the public at weekends and during school holidays, receiving approximately 70,000 visitors per year.

Steven Skyes, Resource Manager at the Animal Management Centre at Kirkley Hall said: “The zoo is part of a breeding programme, which is co-ordinated by the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums (EAZA), which focuses on sustaining a viable Waldrapp ibis population in Europe as they are critically endangered in their native habitat.

“With our chicks successfully fledging this year it takes our zoo’s flock up to ten, which is absolutely fantastic.”

The latest tiny additions come from the Von Der Decken’s hornbills. After the pair arrived at the zoo earlier this year, the female soon settled into her nest box and started to lay.

Mr Sykes added: “It has been a great year so far and all of our new-borns are doing extremely well. Our staff are doing a fantastic job and so are our students, who are gaining hands-on experience, working with some endangered species, as well as developing customer service skills.”