Torbay

On the wing: in celebration of the feather

Paignton Zoo bird keeper Lisa Jones freely admits that she has an interest that borders on obsession. She’s fascinated by feathers.

“During the summer months, lots of birds at Paignton Zoo start to moult… I think feathers are among the natural world’s most incredible adaptations. While I was cleaning out the Ural owls, who are moulting heavily now, I wondered if anyone else would be as...

Trust announces star patrons

A major South West conservation charity has announced its patrons. Both are star names regionally and nationally.

Naturalist Nick Baker and broadcaster Judi Spiers have been unveiled as patrons of Wild Planet Trust, the charity that runs Paignton Zoo, Living Coasts in Torquay and Newquay Zoo in Cornwall.

These are the first patrons that the Trust, previously known as Whitley...

New vet scholarship aids wild orang utans

Two vets from Indonesia are the first to benefit from a unique new scholarship programme run by a Cornish vet charity. OVAID – Orang utan Veterinary Aid – is run by Nigel and Sara Hicks, based in Launceston. They help hard-pressed orang utan rescue centres and sanctuaries with veterinary support and donations of equipment.

The new OVAID Bronwyn Scholarship meant that two South East...

Experts join conservation charity

Three new animal experts have boosted the team at Paignton Zoo this summer.

Dr Kirsten Pullen, the new Director of Conservation and Education, started in June. Curator of Mammals Lisa Britton took up her post in July. And Jay Redbond, Assistant Curator, Lower Vertebrates & Invertebrates, arrived in August. Together they bring nearly 60 years of professional experience to the...

Mussel in on seafood at Living Coasts

England’s Seafood Coast is hosting England’s Seafood FEAST – and Torquay’s coastal zoo has a seat at the table.

Of course, seafood is always on the menu at Living Coasts – the penguins, seals and others all love fish. Penguins eat sprats, for example, seals eat mackerel. Guests, meanwhile, can try a local delicacy – mussels.

Spokesperson Phil Knowling said: “As part of England’...

Zoo gorilla plays ball

England’s chances in the Rugby World Cup would be greatly improved if they had this chap in the line-up.

Male Western lowland gorilla Pertinax lives at Paignton Zoo in Devon. He‘s around 6 feet from head to toe – modest for a professional rugby player these days, but he weighs in at a hefty 190 kilos - and it’s pretty much all muscle. At 37 he’s a bit of a senior now, but even the All...

Zoo says farewell to popular old gibbon

Naomi the grey gibbon, one of the oldest residents of Paignton Zoo, has died.

Animal staff and in-house vets took the difficult decision to put her to sleep after she became seriously ill. Zoo spokesperson Phil Knowling: “She went downhill quickly. Clinical signs suggested she might have had a urinary tract problem, which can lead to complications such as kidney failure in older...

In the pink: scarlet birds have red letter day

One of the most striking birds in the world has bred at Paignton Zoo. The scarlet ibis (Eudocimus ruber) is famous for its bright red feathers – although, as you can see, the chicks are anything but scarlet.

There’s no other wading bird as scarlet as a scarlet ibis, but it takes time for juveniles to grow into the colour. It’s not until their second moult that the birds begin to take...

OAP the Old Age Primate

In a lovely little place not far from the sea, the old fella takes it easy. He has a garden, a nice view and people who come in every day to look after him. He’s got bad feet, declining eye-sight and bowel problems. Oh, and he’s a 190 kilo gorilla…

Pertinax the Western lowland gorilla, who stood down from his role as boss of the all-male troop at Paignton Zoo, is an OAP – an Old Age...

Devon mourns Duchess

The matriarch of Paignton Zoo has died. Female African elephant Duchess collapsed in her house early on Sunday morning. Despite a determined and extended response from her keepers, the in-house vet team and other staff and volunteers, the difficult decision to euthaniase her was taken at lunch-time.

Simon Tonge, Executive Director of Paignton Zoo, was present throughout: “Duchess was...

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