CARIBBEAN SUN SHINES IN BLACKPOOL DURING BUMPER BIRD YEAR!
Nine Caribbean flamingo chicks are soaking up some homeland sun in Blackpool Zoo’s bird nursery!
The eight week old hatchlings are spending their days under specialist heat lamps as keepers hand rear them and make them feel at home with a daily dose of sunshine.
They are also being fed round the clock on a fluid mixture of fish, shrimp, egg yolk, distilled water, flamingo pellets and vitamins and minerals.
Keepers at Blackpool Zoo took the decision to incubate the nine eggs as seagulls pose a threat to them.
It is a record year for flamingo eggs and the specialist team worked day and night to ensure their survival. They will be re-introduced to the colony of Flamingos in around six weeks.
The bird nursery at Blackpool Zoo has been busier than ever before this year, with egg number 284 currently in the incubator.
Species have included the flamingos, rainbow lorikeets, a magellanic penguin, guineafowl, barnacle and barhead geese, cinnamon teal, red junglefowl and demoiselle cranes!
John Paul Houston, who joined the team at Blackpool Zoo in June 2011, has been responsible for hand rearing all the 283 birds with his team Andy Bubbins, John Chaston and Samantha Barkess.
He said: “It has been an exciting and very busy year here in Blackpool Zoo’s bird department and we have hand reared over 280 birds, which is no mean feat!
“Feeding throughout the night, constantly checking the eggs in the incubator and co-ordinating hand rearing programmes for so many different species of bird has been exhausting yet exhilarating and with more eggs waiting to hatch, and birds aged from one to 49 days still being looked after, our job is never done.
“Our proudest moment this year has been the successful hatching of the flamingo chicks as this is the highest number of eggs we have ever had in our 40 year history and they are all thriving.
“It is lovely to see the birds when we introduce them back into their groups and we all feel a great sense of achievement every single time.”
John Paul has been a bird enthusiast all his life and has worked at several zoos across the UK. He lives onsite at Blackpool Zoo and wakes up to the view of the elephant paddock each morning.
Blackpool Zoo is open every day of the year except Christmas Day. Current opening hours are 10.00am until 5.45pm and last admission is 5.00pm. Visitors can save on admission prices by booking online at www.blackpoolzoo.org.uk.
Notes to editors:
Pictures show: A selection of images of the chicks with keepers John Paul and Samantha
More information about Blackpool Zoo:
Blackpool Zoo is owned by Parques Reunidos, the second largest European leisure parks operator and a leading world-wide player. The zoo is home to over 1,500 mammals, birds, reptiles and invertebrates set amidst thirty-two acres of mature woodland and lakes.
Blackpool Zoo celebrated its 40th anniversary on Friday 6th July 2012. It was in 1972 when 3543 visitors attended the launch, which saw TV’s Johnny Morris ride in front of the Mayor’s car on Tower Circus elephant Katsula.
The zoo’s signature animals include elephants, giraffes, big cats, gorillas, orang-utans, sea lions, primates, zebras and kangaroos. It is open every day of the year, apart from Christmas Day, from 10am.
For further information please contact:
Paula Holden, Julie Hackett or Denise Dawson at ICG PR on 01772 679383 or email or
Out of office hours contact: Paula Holden on 07772268378