Our New Blog - special offers, events and more

News, events, ways to get involved, special offers...

 

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  1. A £50 million expansion of Yorkshire Wildlife Park has been approved.   150 acres of new land will transform the park.

    Doncaster Council approved the plan which includes new animal reserves, lakes, landscaping and a visitor support hub, restaurants and a destination hotel.  


    The park was founded in 2010 and it has grown hugely since then.  Last year, 761,000 people visited the park so it's a very popular one in the UK.

    The expansion should mean about 300 jobs and the park is talking to local colleges and schools aobut job, apprentice and work experience opportunities.   It has already delivered education sessions to 33,000 school children and its education department will increase its work.  Additionally, the expansion should enable the park to do more conservation work and protection of endangered species. 

    Yorkshire Wildlife Park is home to a charity, the Yorkshire Wildlife Park Foundation.  The charity was created in 2013 "to be a dynamic catalyst for inspiring people to support conservation and welfare".  It seeks to promote and advance the conservation and welfare of endangered wildlife in their natural habitat and in captivity and to inspire the public.   Find out more about the work it is doing here. 

    The wildlife park itself has 400 animals and 70 species;  and it works closely with charities to help endangered and threatened species.  The expansion should introduce over 400 new animals from 80 species. 

    Visit Yorkshire Wildlife Park's website here.

     


  2. Calling all Big Cat Lovers!

    There's a three part series starting on BBC1 on Thursday 11 January 2018 at 8pm. 

    The series undercovers the secret lives of big cats, using the latest technology and scientific research.   There's lots of feline beauty, with amazing insights into snow leopards and their long-distance courtship techniques, plus an introduction to the rusty spotted cat. 

    Cheetahs, lions, leopards, rusty spotted cats, snow-leopards, puma, Canada lynx, the Margay, the fishing cat, the clouded leopard, caracal, jaguar, bobcat, tiger, ocelot, African wild cat, sand cat, black footed cat, Pallas's cat, the serval and Iberian lynx all feature in the series. 

    Click here to go to the Big Cats Programme website

     

  3. Join the world's largest Big Garden Birdwatch organised by the RSPB at the end of January 2018 and help nature simply by watching the birds in your garden or local park for an hour and recording your results! 

    This birdwatch has taken place since 1979 and it gives the RSPB an invaluable insight into how the nation's birds are faring.  Which are more numerous, which species are struggling  and need more help?

    In 2017, over 500,000 people recorded over 8 million birds in their gardens and local parks.  They sent their results into the RSPB where they are carefully recorded and checked.   You can find out more about how the results are dealt with here

    Here's how to get involved in the Big Garden Birdwatch

    On the weekend of 27-29 January 2018:

    1. Choose your spot from which to watch birds for an hour - you could watch them in your garden or local park
    2. Sit down, chill and relax with a nice hot drink if you want as you watch the birds!
    3. Count the maximum number of each species you see at any one time.  The RSPB have a How to Identify Birds guide
    4. Go to the Big Garden Birdwatch website and tell the RSPB what you’ve seen. Or use a paper form. It’s FREE to post back to them.

    There's more information here and answers to any questions you may have. 

    Request your FREE pack now and get your 20% discount and free P&P at their online shop

    Click here to fly away for more information from the RSPB
    Click here to fly away for more information

    Big Garden Birdwatch 2017 Results.... drum roll please!

    So which species were the most popular? 

    1. House Sparrow
    2. Starling
    3. Blackbird
    4. Blue tit
    5. Woodpigeon
    6. Goldfinch
    7. Robin
    8. Great tit
    9. Chaffinch
    10. Long tailed tit

    Some birds fared well showing how efforts to help them really do work.  In 2016, starlings were seen in 40% of gardens - in 2017, they were seen in 50% of gardens.

    Goldfinches, robins and blackbirds have also increased in number, as had pied wagtails.  However, chaffinch, greenfinches and starlings are down on their 1979 numbers. 

    You can find more info about the 2017 RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch results here

    Butterfly window stickers can stop birds flying into your window

    Butterfly window stickers can stop birds flying into your window

    Make a bird bath for the birds in your garden
    Make a bird bath for the birds in your garden

     

  4. Alpaca Adoption Pack

    If you're looking for a gift that's a bit different, how about adopting an Alpaca?

    Into the Blue have an alpaca adoption package.  It lasts a whole year, you'll receive an adoption package in the post, and you're also get two visits to the alpaca farm where they live in Kent AND one of those visits will include an alpaca walk!

    For £45, this Adoption Pack includes:

    • 12 month alpaca adoption
    • Personalised adoption certificate with a photograph of your adopted alpaca
    • Special alpaca gift, age and gender related
    • Examples of gifts include, cuddly alpacas, socks, stationary etc (specific gifts can be requested but are not guaranteed)
    • Two visits to the farm for the adoption holder.  One visit for a trek and the other is a meet and greet

    Click here to adopt an alpaca! 

     

  5. Here's a gift which the kids will love - Meet a Reindeer at Dartmoor Zoo!

    Arrive and meet the handlers, and they'll introduce you to one of the friendly reindeer.   You'll spend 20 minutes getting to know them and you'll get to give them a groom and feed them with their favourite food!  

    Meet a Reindeer at Dartmoor Zoo

    Please note that the minimum age is 6 and under 16s must be accompanied by an adult.  Proof of age may be required.   

    Now, this is experience is not recommended if you're pregnant, have high blood pressure or if you have a nervous disposition.  And the experience content, equipment used and restrictions may vary.   And you need to book early!

    As the experience includes entry to the zoo, you can check out the rest of the wildlife on the day!  All for £30 for one person!

    This experience is available from Virgin Experience Days - fly off here to their website!

     

  6. Have you been inspired by the Blue Planet?  Have you been horrified by the pictures of sea life being caught up plastic?   

    Help our seas, beaches and marine life

    Well, here are 9 ways to help marine life, our seas and beaches, all with the Marine Conservation Society.

    The Society believes too much is being taken out and too much is being put into our seas.  Everyone involved in the Marine Conservation Society is passionate about  creating a sustainable future for our seas. 

    So 9 ways to make a difference to sea life:

    1. Become a sea champion
    2. Get active and help keep beaches clean
    3. Fundraise for the Marine Conservation Society
    4. Reduce your impact - do the plastic challenge!
    5. Support the charity's campaigns
    6. Offer company support
    7. Join them and become a member
    8. Sign up to their newsletter and receive news
    9. Discover more about the world's oceans and the life living in them

    Best of all, you don't need to live by the sea to make a difference!  

    Visit the Marine Conservation Society here

     

     

  7. Hedgehogs are going through a rough time. 

    Since 2000, The People's Trust for Endangered Species estimate that we've lost 1 in 3 of the hedgehog population. 

    We had quite a surprise recently when our dog brought us a hedgehog late one evening.   We put him into a box, with a towel and some water, and put him into a darkened quiet room away from everything.  The following morning, we called the British Hedgehog Preservation Society for advice.  They were very helpful, and later that night we released our hedgehog into the garden.  Two days later, he - or she - had a hedgehog house!  

    So I was very pleased when I heard from Clive Harris, a fellow hedgehog lover.  Clive writes a gardening blog and he is passionate about hedgehogs. 

    Clive has written the Ultimate Guide to Hedgehogs.  It's a mine of information - do take a look.  There's information on where hedgehogs live, what they eat, whether they have any predators, whether they hibernate and how they help the garden. Also there's information on how you can help them, when to rescue them - and even how to pick a hedgehog up!

    Click on the hedgehog below to go to the Ultimate Guide to Hedgehogs. 

    Click here to see the Ultimate Guide to Hedgehogs

    And if you're looking for a gift for a hedgehog lover, why not give them a "Become a Hedgehog Helper" Gift Certificate with the East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service.  They can spend a morning spend the morning working at WRAS feeding and cleaning the hedgehogs, getting to handle some of them, as well as learning more about these fascinating creatures. Find out more here

  8. Cheetahs....fast, sleek, magnificent...the world's fastest land mammal.  And there are some in Kent at the Big Cat Sanctuary.

    What's more, you could meet a cheetah and feed him or her with a Weekday Cheetah Encounter from Red Letter Days.


    Weekday Cheetah Encounter at the Big Cat Sanctuary

    Weekday Cheetah Encounter at the Big Cat Sanctuary in Kent

    Start off with a hot drink - the team will introduce themselves and there's also a quick briefing about what the experience entails.

    Then you're off on a 20 minute tour of the sanctuary - there are 50 big cats there and you can find out all about the different species' unique qualities.

    After that, you'll join an experienced keeper inside the cheetah house to learn and watch how these beautiful cats are trained.  And you'll feed them by hand!

    Finish off with a buffet lunch in Heritage Lodge.

    The experience is available on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 1:30 to 13:00 (including the lunch), subject to availability, but not during the Christmas & New Year period.  It's available for £299.00.

    Find out more about a Weekday Cheetah Encounter from Red Letter Days

    Click here for other Big Cat Experiences available from Red Letter Days in Kent and Hertfordshire

  9. There's nothing like a calendar celebrating the beauty of wildlife and the animal kingdom to brighten a wall, cheer you through the day and melt your heart!   Calendars are a great daily reminder of how fantastic and amazing the natural world is - and they can provide plenty of colour to cheer a room, too and an inexpensive way to brighten a wall. 

    The CalendarClub.co.uk have a wide range of animal calendars for 2018 - with all sorts of animals from pets to working animals, wildlife to marine life, birds to reptiles.  They have the Wacky World calendars, too, plus some are for charities such as Greenpeace, the RSPCA and WWF.

    Click on the Clydesdale to see the range of animal calendars for 2018

    Pets and Farm Animals

    Birds


    Wildlife

  10.  

    Red Letter Days list quite a range of gift experiences, and among them are a number of animal experiences.  Experiences with birds (including owls), meerkats, big cats and even sharks are available with special offers at the time of writing.  

    Click on the meerkat to see the range of animal experiences from Red Letter Days with special offers

    Click here to see what pops up on Red Letter Days' list of animal experiences on special offer
    Click here to see what pops up on Red Letter Days' list of animal experiences on special offer