There have been some exciting changes at Curraghs Wildlife Park recently, with help from the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company.
The Park has said goodbye to some animals and welcomed others, in an effort to continue successful breeding programmes across the UK and Europe and ensure healthy genetics are sustained.
It’s all part of a global co-operation between members of The British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquaria (BIAZA) and The European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA).
There are some new friendly faces at the Park in Ballaugh, including two young pelicans from Krefeld Zoo in Germany who have arrived to join the two resident Pelicans.
Five sister chipmunks from the Netherlands have also moved into a new enclosure at the Park, while six male Rhea, also from the Netherlands, have been mixed with the current single male to make an all-male group of seven.
The Park have had to say some goodbyes too. A female Spectacled Owl chick hatched in 2018 has moved to Kirkleatham Owl Centre in Yorkshire to be paired with a male.
A male porcupine has moved to Kirkley Hall Zoological Gardens in Northumberland, leaving three female porcupines behind. The Park has made a decision to stop breeding porcupines for now, as many have been bred and supplied to UK zoos in recent years.
Two female Coati have moved to Amazona Zoo in Norfolk to keep a single female they have company. Meanwhile five female Coati, all bred on the island, have moved to Paris Zoo, bringing the number of Coati group down to nine – a much more manageable group which gives the animals more space to roam around.
Finally, Rio, the male Tapir born at the Park in 2016, has also moved to France to Parc Animalier d’Auvergne. He has passed the age he should stay with his mother so it was important the Park found him somewhere to go to prevent any inbreeding.
All of the animals travelled to and from the island with the Steam Packet Company as part its ongoing support of the Wildlife Park.
Park General Manager Kathleen Graham said: ‘Conservation breeding programmes are so important, especially for the survival of endangered species, and moving animals between zoos plays a key role in keeping them healthy.
‘We’re so grateful to the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company for its continued support and assisted rates. Although all animals are loaned and donated for conservation purposes between parks, we still have to pay for transport, and that can really add up.’
Isle of Man Steam Packet Company Chief Executive Mark Woodward added: ‘Curraghs Wildlife Park is one of the Isle of Man’s leading visitor attractions for tourists and locals and it is important to us to support its efforts in keeping the animals healthy.
‘The Park’s participation in global breeding programmes is so important for the welfare of the animals, and we’re pleased to offer our support in ensuring they can come and go as required.’