Meet 5 of the Most Exotic Residents at the Highland Wildlife Park
In addition to the stunning landscape, Scotland has plenty to offer its visitors. If you are staying at Hilton Coylumbridge Hotel in Aviemore, one tourist attraction you may wish to consider is the Highland Wildlife Park in Kincraig. It is a fantastic day trip for all the family – and it’s only a 20 minute drive.
The Highland Wildlife Park was opened in 1972 and is home to many fascinating species that are native to Scotland. Visitors can drive through the Main Reserve in a ‘safari’ style setting and then explore other areas of the park by foot. Alongside the native Scottish animals, visitors will also find some rather more exotic species in residence. This is your chance to meet five of them…
Regulars and first-time visitors alike cannot wait to meet the park’s mixed group of Japanese Macaques. Also known as a ‘Snow Monkey’, this gorgeous creature is native to Japan and is the most northerly living non-human primate.
They live throughout Japan in coniferous woodland and temperatures there can drop to as low as -15°C in the winter. In contrast, summer temperatures reach up to 23°C. An unusual fact about this animal is that in spite of living in such cold conditions, they enjoy relaxing in hot springs. Strangely, it is believed that they only started doing this in 1963. When a female in the wild retrieved food from a hot spring, she enjoyed the sensation of warm water. Soon, the rest of her troop copied her behaviour and gradually this became a normal behaviour for this species.
Highland Wildlife Park is currently home to two male polar bears. This is a rare opportunity to get up close to these huge beasts in the UK. The young bear ‘Walker’ arrived from the Netherlands in 2010, while ‘Arktos’ came from Hanover zoo in 2012. Polar bears, whose scientific name is ‘Ursus Maritimus’, have partially webbed feet and their fur is designed to repel water which means they are excellent swimmers. They are naturally found in colder parts of the world but have adapted well to life in Scotland. Polar bears have an IUCN Red List Status of vulnerable due to the loss of their natural habitat caused by global warming.
This species are classified as endangered, according to their IUCN Red List Status. There are two of these tigers at the park at the moment, a male and a female and it is hoped that in the future the pair will mate (fingers crossed). The female, ‘Dominika’, was born at the Highland Wildlife Park in 2009 and ‘Marty’, the male tiger, arrived from the Czech Republic in 2012. Like Dominika, Marty was born in 2009.
These carnivores are the largest of the big cats and it’s estimated that there are only around 450 Amur tigers remaining in the wild. They are native to North Eastern China around the Amur River valley, hence their name. The captive breeding programme from parks across the globe is helping to prevent the extinction of these beautiful creatures and to re-introduce new tigers into the wild.
There are three Bactrian camels to see at Highland Wildlife Park; two females and one male. The two females are called Caramel and Khara, while the male is called Karnali. All three arrived from Edinburgh Zoo in 2009, although Karnali was actually born at Blackpool Zoo in 2007. These herbivores are native to Asia and are now classified as critically endangered, with less than a thousand in the wild as they are hunted in the wild for both meat and their hide. However, it is believed that there could be up to two million domesticated Bactrian camels.
This is another animal native to Asia. Kitty, a female, and Kevyn, a male, are parents to two kits. However, their young are still hidden from public view. Their Latin name is ailurus fulgens and, in spite of their name, they are not actually related to the panda or any other bear. Their closest relative in the animal kingdom is the raccoon. In the wild, red panda are found in southern China, the Himalayas in Nepal, Myanmar, India, Bhutan and Laos. The predominant reason this species is endangered is the destruction of the forested areas that are their natural habitat. Bamboo is the main staple of their diet, although they also eat roots, berries and shoots.
Fun day out for the whole family
As you can see, a trip to the Highland Wildlife Park in Kincraig is an absolute must! It is a fantastic opportunity for people of all ages to meet both native and exotic species. A visit here will also teach you about endangered species, natural habitats and animal conservation. Overall, a fun and educational attraction to visit during your stay in Scotland. For more information about the other animals and attractions at Highland Wildlife Park visit the following link:http://www.highlandwildlifepark.org.uk/
Book your stay at Hilton Coylumbridge
Book your stay now and visit dozens of local attractions near Aviemore such as the exciting Highland Wildlife Park. This autumn and winter we have a fantastic hotel deal that includes 2 nights midweek with breakfast and dinner both days - as well as a bottle of crisp Prosecco per room. Don’t miss out!