WORD FROM THE WILD: The Latest News From The Park

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

January 2024

Happy New Year from all of us at Cotswold Wildlife Park! It has been a chilly start to the year so far but there is still lots going on across the Park.

Bleeding Heart Dove and squabBleeding Heart Dove and squabFirstly, a success for the Birds and Primates team this month as the Bleeding Heart Doves have begun nesting in the Tropical House over in the Walled Garden.

These birds are a striking species in our collection, due to the red feathers on their chest that resemble a wound. This unusual feature comes in use during the breeding season, when males try to attract females by showing an inflated breast to display their vivid blood marking or “heart”.

Bird Keeper Laura said: “Bleeding Heart Doves are an endemic species found on the islands of Mindanao in the Philippines, and they are now unfortunately classed as vulnerable due to forest clearing on the island. We are really pleased that our breeding pair have hatched two chicks in the last year and are currently incubating another egg.”

The Tropical House is a hive of activity and reflective of a mini rainforest with multiple species of bird and mammal inhabiting the enclosure together. See if you can spot the Bleeding Heart Doves on your next visit.

Meerkats in their enclosure Meerkats in their enclosureDown in the Walled Garden our Meerkat enclosure has seen a slight change around of inhabitants with our breeding pair, Bolt and Rachel, returning to the main enclosure along with their seven-month-old female pup.The older pups that were in the enclosure before are now being housed in an off-show enclosure as they have reached maturity and are ready to be paired with Meerkats from other collections.

As we are in the middle of our annual closure period, there have been some important renovations and upgrades taking place. The Park is still open at weekends so you may have noticed the Pallas’s Cat enclosure is now well-underway and we will hopefully be able to welcome the group into their new-and-improved home very soon.

Track maintenance workTrack maintenance work

Our train track is being replaced in certain areas of the Park as well, in preparation for our busier months when Bella the train will be doing her daily rides around the Park’s railway (pictured below, Mark carrying out maintenance on Bella the train). In the meantime, please take care when navigating around the construction work if you are visiting the Park in the very near future.

Mark doing some maintenance on Bella the train


Lorah, our Education and Activities OfficerOn a personal note, this is a very exciting month for me as I will be finishing for maternity leave very soon!

I will be handing over Word from the Wild to Joseph, who will be covering my role whilst I am off, and I look forward to reading about what has been going on in the Park each month and staying up to date myself! Thank you again to everyone who has been reading for the last year, as I have thoroughly enjoyed bringing you the latest news, however big or small, from this wonderful place I get to call work.

A reminder of our winter opening times:

Cotswold Wildlife Park will remain CLOSED on WEEKDAYS ONLY until 8th February (re-opening on Friday 9th February 2024); EXCEPT FOR WEEKENDS when the Park will be OPEN from 10.00 am until 4:00 pm or dusk (whichever is earlier), with last admission being at 3:00 pm.

This is to allow for essential maintenance to be carried out – thank you.

Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens

Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens