View from the Zoo: Nature grant to help set up new wildlife club

Bug hotel building will be a new activity for the wildlife club.
Bug hotel building will be a new activity for the wildlife club.

Flamingo Land has been awarded a World Association of Zoos and Aquariums nature grant which will enable the zoo to run a wildlife holiday club for holiday village guests, day visitors and crucially the local community.

The wildlife club is primarily designed to engage families with wildlife. It will be running throughout the summer holidays with activities in the daytimes as well as early morning and early evening nature walks. We will be advertising events soon and encouraging local people to sign up for a series of events across the summer period. Our intention is to keep these events free or as low cost as possible to ensure that everyone is able to engage. Our wildlife headquarters will be based in our holiday village meaning that you can book to come along to an event without visiting the theme-park and zoo itself.

The types of event that we will be holding will include bat and bird walks, moth trapping and identification, bug hotel building, pond dipping and bird box making. We will be creating a wildlife passport of activities for individuals to complete and tell us about in return for iron-on collectable badges.

In the past we have held our annual single day Bioblitz, a complete census of the wildlife onsite found within 24 hours. This year we hope to complete a running census across the spring and summer to build up a more complete picture of what wildlife we have onsite.

In addition, we are taking part in a national campaign ‘Grab that Gap’ whereby open spaces will be left unmown and planted with wild flower seeds to create more habitats for wildlife and encourage more pollinator species onsite.

The park is working hard to reduce its environmental footprint. Already we sort and recycle the rubbish generated onsite. We avoid using palm oil in our fryers and, where used, we ensure it is sustainably sourced (palm oil is one of the biggest causes of habitat destruction and a major threat to Sumatran tiger survival). Now, we are reducing our plastic use onsite by opting for paper and plant based materials to make some of our packaging. These non-plastics are much better for the environment and can biodegrade.

We can all help reduce our environmental footprint by avoiding straws in drinks and using a reusable drinks bottle. Did you know the average person uses 200 plastic cups or bottles every year and each plastic bottle takes 450 years to degrade!