Exciting new arrivals are set to boost the populations of two important species under severe threat due to habitat loss. One of the star animals at the Berkshire-based wildlife park is Finn, a male lynx – a large cat once common throughout Europe including the UK, but now extinct in some areas. He has now been joined by Lox, a two-year-old female, making the pair part of a significant European breeding programme. The hope is that Lox and Finn will contribute to the efforts to boost lynx populations while work is being carried out on habitats in their native countries to create suitable environments for the rewilding of future generations.
Living Collection Manager for Beale Wildlife Park, Paul Betchley, says: “Our lynx couple are settling in well together, and we are about to start work on a new state-of-the-art enclosure that offers top grade living accommodation while also boosting the interaction with visitors. We are delighted to be playing our part in protecting these beautiful animals, and providing an exceptional home for them at the park, while supporting the conservation of their habitats in the wild.”
The new enclosure will be 35m x 25m and will include a variety of enrichment, including trees for Lox who is a fan of climbing. It is expected to be complete during the Spring.
Elsewhere in the 35-acre wildlife park, five guanacos have been added to the collection, including the only breeding females in a UK zoo. Once a breeding male is sourced, it means that Beale is set to be the only place that the public can meet baby guanacos – also known as chulengos or guanaquitos. The guanaco is a South American member of the camel family. Due to their calm attitude, they were domesticated for use as pack animals and the result is the llama of today. Populations in some areas have declined substantially as a result of habitat loss and competition with other grazing animals, and the governments of Peru, Paraguay and Bolivia consider the guanaco an endangered species.
Paul adds: “Our female guanacos include Gracie, who was hand-reared, and is about as affectionate as they come! We are delighted to welcome these majestic camelids to the park, and are excited about the prospect of contributing to the conservation effort.”