Park News

Colobus Monkey baby (credit Philip Joyce)

Cotswold Wildlife Park celebrates an outstanding breeding season with rare new arrivals

October 2022

Cotswold Wildlife Park is home to more than 1,500 animals from 250 different species making it one of the largest zoological collections in the UK. The Park’s commitment to its various breeding programmes has resulted in an impressive number of new arrivals – in fact over 350 births from 50 different species so far this year.

Anteater baby close up (credit keeper Willemijn)

New additions include a tiny giant who recently made her debut at Cotswold Wildlife Park. The Giant Anteater pup (pictured above) is the third breeding success for parents Zorro and Zeta since their arrival at the Burford collection in 2010. The last time they successfully produced an Anteater pup was back in 2016. Members of the public were invited to help name the newborn via the Park’s Facebook page and the name ‘Zena’ was chosen. Visitors can see the Anteater family in their enclosure next to the Children’s Farmyard.

Curator of Cotswold Wildlife Park, Jamie Craig, commented: “Zeta has again proved to be an excellent and diligent mother. We are extremely proud of her here at the Park and it is great to see another healthy baby growing rapidly and exploring her surroundings from the safety of her mother’s rather formidable back!”

The Giant Anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla) is considered to be the most threatened mammal of Central America and is feared extinct in Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala and Uruguay, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Giant Anteaters are listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species. Habitat loss, hunting and wildfires have substantially affected their population numbers over the last ten years. Scientists estimate that 5,000 individuals are left in the wild.

Bactrian Camel calf Petra (credit keeper Willemijn)

Elsewhere in the Park, keepers are celebrating the arrival of Bactrian Camel Petra (pictured above). She is the first calf sired by first-time father Louis (named after Prince Louis of Wales as they were both born on the same day) and experienced mother Cleo. The wild Bactrian Camel (Camelus ferus) is classified as critically endangered by the IUCN and is thought to be one of the rarest large mammals on earth. Camels have one of the longest gestation periods for a land mammal. The Elephant boasts the longest of nearly two years, but Camels aren’t too far behind with a gestation period of approximately 360 to 440 days.

Colobus Monkey baby (credit Philip Joyce)

Section Head of Primates and Small Mammals, Natalie Horner, adds: “It’s been a very busy time on the Primates and Small Mammals section this year too with several new births to celebrate including our Colobus Monkeys (pictured above), Titi Monkeys, Cotton-top Tamarins, Dwarf Mongoose and Naked Mole Rats. We’re also thrilled with our latest additions to the Lemur troop, including the birth of one of the rarest primates on earth – the Greater Bamboo Lemur. With only 30 animals in captivity worldwide, every breeding success of this critically endangered primate is very important. We’re one of only two zoological collections to have successfully bred Greater Bamboo Lemurs this year. Lastly, our pair of Crowned Lemurs recently gave birth to twins. Female Sava and her partner Izao are first-time parents and are doing a brilliant job of raising their youngsters (one pictured below on its mother’s back)”.

Crowned Lemur baby on mum Sava's back (credit Paul Nicholls Photography)

It was also a remarkable breeding year for the White Storks. Cotswold Wildlife Park is heavily involved in one of the UK’s most ambitious rewilding programmes – The White Stork Project – which aims to restore wild Stork populations to Britain – a sight not seen since the 15th century. 2022 was not only the most successful Stork breeding season in the Park’s history, with a record 33 chicks reared, but the dedicated Stork team at the Burford collection reached a milestone by breeding its 100th chick for the pioneering conservation project. This year’s chicks hatched at Cotswold Wildlife Park in May and were transferred to Knepp Castle Estate in West Sussex for release into the wild in August. To find out more about The White Stork Project, please visit:

Stork chicks hatched at Cotswold Wildlife Park for The White Stork Project

Other breeding successes so far this year include: African Straw-coloured Bats (Cotswold Wildlife Park is the only UK zoological collection to exhibit this species), Dyeing Poison Frogs, Prairie Dogs, Binturong triplets, Parma Wallabies, Gundis, Black-cheeked Lovebirds, Pallas’s Cats and White Rhino ‘Queenie’ (pictured right) who was named in honour of Queen Elizabeth II to mark Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee. These births are testament to the dedication and hard work of the keepers at Cotswold Wildlife Park and also the Park’s commitment to its ever-growing number of conservation programmes. For more information, please visit:

Rhino calf Queenie with mum Nancy (credit Rory Carnegie)

Additional information:

  • Since the Park’s Lemur exhibit Madagascar officially opened in 2008, there have been an impressive 69 Lemur breeding successes at the wildlife park. During lockdown in 2020, its breeding group of Greater Bamboo Lemurs (Prolemur simus) successfully bred for the first time (babies pictured below). A second breeding success followed in 2021 and another this year (pictured bottom), taking the total number to five. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) described Greater Bamboo Lemurs as “one of the most endangered Lemurs in Madagascar”. Very few zoological collections in the world keep these enigmatic animals and Cotswold Wildlife Park is one of only two collections worldwide to successfully bred this species so far this year.
  • Curator Jamie Craig is committee member for the Greater Bamboo Lemur and Crowned Sifaka European Breeding Programmes.

Critically endangered Greater Bamboo Lemurs babies born at Cotswold Wildlife Park in 2020 Greater Bamboo Lemur baby born in 2022

Photo credits: Anteater pup and Camel calf – Mammal Keeper Willemijn. Colobus Monkey – Philip Joyce. Crowned Lemur and Greater Bamboo Lemur babies – Paul Nicholls Photography. Rhino calf Queenie – Rory Carnegie.

Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens

Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens