WORD FROM THE WILD: The Latest News From The Park

Written by Lorah, Education and Activities Officer at Cotswold Wildlife Park

February 2023

With thanks to the generosity of our visitors and friends of Cotswold Wildlife Park, we are incredibly fortunate here to be able to support a number of conservation projects that focus on wild populations of endangered species.

The projects that we support in Madagascar, such as Helpsimus, aim to benefit the local communities as well as the diverse wildlife on the island.

Bamboo Lemur Group

Working with endangered species requires a high level of commitment from staff members to ensure that these projects continue to contribute positively to the conservation efforts taking place both at the Park, and out in places such as Madagascar. One of our biggest project successes is the group of Greater Bamboo Lemurs that we house here.

Bamboo Lemur with baby

During the last twenty years the wild population had fallen to approximately 160-200 individuals, but in 2022 it was estimated there were now around 1000 Greater Bamboo Lemurs in the wild, as a direct result of conservation efforts.

Our main group of Greater Bamboo Lemurs can be seen from the Madagascar walkthrough, and to progress the Park’s conservation efforts further, the Primate keepers have now established a bachelor group of three Greater Bamboo Lemurs – situated in an enclosure behind the Colobus Monkeys.

Bamboo Lemur

Head of Primates Nat said: “Here at Cotswold Wildlife Park, we’re incredibly lucky to be home to a successful breeding group of Greater Bamboo Lemurs. There are only 30 individuals of this critically endangered primate found within zoological collections, and we hold 9 of them! We recently introduced 3 young males together to form the first bachelor group held within captivity. Mixing went very well, with the males forming a cohesive group quite quickly. This is beneficial not only for the Lemurs themselves, but also for the breeding programme. We’ve now learnt that bachelor groups can be housed together happily, which gives us more options for holding the species in the future.”

Bamboo Lemur

You can donate or find out more about the conservation work taking place in Madagascar by visiting our conservation page or https://www.helpsimus.org/blog/

In other news, the Gardens and Grounds teams have been busy this month as we begin to move out of winter and into spring.

Taking advantage of our winter closure period they focussed on the Walkthrough, where they steadily went through the array of plants and trees growing there, tidying up the area as the weather (hopefully) begins to warm up.

Our female Capybara, Belle

Our female Capybara, Belle, was pleased to see the team, wandering over to investigate as they worked (she was given some bamboo as a special treat!) Head Gardener Kerri said of this yearly task:

“Along the Walkthrough we have been working hard to put in new trees and shrubs that we have been housing down at our polytunnel over the winter. At the end of the summer, we will then create a ‘planting plan’ to decide which trees and shrubs will go in that area at the end of the year.”

Two members of the team then had the job of planting bamboo to replace a fallen tree in the Clouded Leopard enclosure. The three leopards – Djiinn, Jasmine and Jafar did not seem to notice the new addition to their enclosure, instead choosing to go and nap high up on the wooden platforms. Clearly the team did a terrific job of blending the new bamboo in with the existing trees and shrubs!

Bamboo in Leopards

The Gardens team also collected 22 small samples of soil from across the Rhino paddock, which were then weighed and sent off for testing to see what nutrients are present. This procedure helps to ensure the area is ready for the spring when the grass in the paddock will be fed and hopefully guarantees the area is lusciously green later in the year, providing food for our family of grazing Rhinos.

The area opposite the Giant Tortoise enclosure, known as ‘Tortoise Terminal’, has now entered mulching season and the team have been making their way around all the existing beds in the Park, tidying and topping them up with mulch. This helps with moisture, keeps the weeds at bay and ensures the beds stay looking smart overall.

Tortoise Terminal

Our gardens are such a popular feature of the Park for many visitors, and a lot of effort goes into making them look as attractive and picturesque as possible. Staff work tirelessly all year round to ensure that the animals have suitable plants in their enclosures and that the public areas contribute to the overall atmosphere of the Park.


A number of visitors have enquired about the temporary closure of the Tropical House, particularly asking about our two Sloths, Flash and Tambo, as the area remains closed due to Avian Influenza restrictions.

The Sloths are typically quite elusive, and young visitors may often be led to believe the pair are playing hide-and-seek with them, as they like to tuck themselves away in the canopy of the enclosure or camouflage themselves in the shrubbery just above the visitors’ heads.


All is well in the Tropical House though, and the Keepers are checking daily on the animals housed in there to make sure everyone remains happy and healthy. The enclosure is designed in such a way to mimic conditions that these tropical species would be used to in their wild habitats, and the space has proved to be a cosy home to Flash and Tambo.


Once restrictions are lifted you will once again be able to visit the Sloths, along with the other species living in the Tropical House. We will keep you updated with the restrictions via our website and social media pages so that you can plan your visit accordingly.

Also keep an eye out for The Gadget Show as they recently filmed at the Park for an upcoming episode reviewing noise cancelling headphones. Presenter Jon Bentley needed some noisy animals to test them out and our rather vocal troop of Lemurs were only too happy to assist! The episode will air on Wednesday 8th March at 7:00 pm on Channel 5.

Please note that parts of our Adventure Playground area, including ‘Skymaze’ and ‘Mini Manor’, will be closed for essential maintenance from Monday 27 February until Friday 3 March 2023. Thank you for your understanding.

Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens

Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens