WORD FROM THE WILD: The Latest News From The Park

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

September 2023

The new Lion House was officially opened over the summer after a year in the making. Professor Amy Dickman from the University of Oxford and joint CEO of Lion Landscapes was invited to cut the ceremonial ribbon of the impressive new structure.

The new lion house Professor Amy Dickman, Carnivore Keeper James and Reggie Heyworth, Managing Director of Cotswold Wildlife Park

Carnivore Keeper James devised the initial plans for the new enclosure after working with the Asiatic Lions here at the Park for the last four years. He explained:

“Rana and Kanha have finally been enjoying their brand-new indoor facility. This new area includes a large on-show communal space, which is larger than the whole of the previous Lion House, as well as two private dens and an outside holding area.

Lions are incredibly social but they also like their own personal space from time to time. Rana and Kanha are no different and this whole facility has been designed to give the Lions the opportunity to have multiple options and increased flexibility. This new facility reflects everything that we have learnt about keeping Lions at the Park. I am so pleased how well the Lions have taken to their new home”.

You can see the Lions and their new house next door to the Giraffes.

The lions in their new home

Henry hours after his birth (Photo credit: Rory Carnergie) Susie hours after her birth (Photo credit: Rory Carnergie)Last month, for the first time in our history, Cotswold Wildlife Park celebrated two Rhino births in just one week. Award-winning photographer and friend of the Park, Rory Carnegie, took these stunning photos of both calves hours after they were born.

Managing Director of Cotswold Wildlife Park, Reggie Heyworth, said:

“It is so exciting to welcome a White Rhino calf into the world. So it is even more amazing that in the space of one week, both our wonderful female Rhinos, Nancy and Ruby, have now had calves! Ruby had a male calf on 12th August and, not wanting to be left out of the excitement, Nancy popped out a female calf on 19th August! That makes it 11 calves born here at the Wildlife Park in 11 years. What joy they have brought to us all, they are just the most charismatic and lovely animals and visitors and staff alike are absolutely entranced by them”.

Visitors can see the new calves, named Henry (pictured top) and Susie (pictured bottom), in either the large Rhino paddock overlooking the Manor House or inside the Rhino House opposite the Zebras.

Greater Bamboo Lemur BabyIn other exciting news, the group of Greater Bamboo Lemurs have welcomed a new addition to their family. This now takes the total to 10 Bamboo Lemurs here at the Park as part of our Madagascar exhibit in the Walled Garden, and we are incredibly lucky to have a successful breeding group as there are only around 30 individuals in captivity in the world. You can learn more about the conservation of Greater Bamboo Lemurs here.

Red PandaWolverineThis summer also saw the arrival of two new animals to the Park as we welcomed a male Red Panda called Wing, who joins our female Iris and a male Wolverine currently nicknamed Bigfoot who joins our female. Both female animals seem to have welcomed their new respective partners positively and the boys seem to have settled in nicely to their new homes.

You can see the Red Pandas in their enclosure next to the restaurant and the Wolverines are situated next to the train station.


The gardens at the parkIf you have visited the Park over the summer, you will certainly have noticed how beautiful the gardens and grounds are looking. The Grounds and Gardens teams work tirelessly all year round to keep the Park looking its best as the seasons change, often battling against unpredictable weather.

Head Gardener Kerri said,

“For us summer begins with the changeover from winter bedding to our tropical vs summer schemes. There are 26 areas which are planted up with summer schemes, that is about 8300 plants! Most of these plants are overwintered or grown here on site.

We are lucky enough to have a huge amount of variety in our plant schemes and the gardeners here have keen eyes to place the plants as such that they harmonise with one another creating powerful displays.”

The gardens at the park The gardens at the park

So, what happens next for the Gardens team as the summer draws to a close? They will monitor the quantities they have planted, check that all varieties are performing as expected and make notes to change anything for the following year. Most importantly they congratulate themselves on a job well done!

Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens

Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens