It's that time of the month again when we let you know what's been happening at the Wildwood Trust and what we have planned for the near future. We have lots of exciting events at the park during Easter, Spring news, an avian update and some upcoming fundraising events that you can get involved in.
It's been a busy month. We have had a visit from the Lord Mayor of Canterbury to welcome our new choughs to the park, we've had six new wolves arrive at our Escot park and they're settling in well, our hibernating animals have woken up and the bears are close to being moved into their large enclosure. Read below to find out more!
If you want to find out more about any of the happenings at Wildwood, then please get in touch and thank you for your continued support!

Student Conference

Our annual student research conference was held on Wednesday 1st March with speakers and attendees from Canterbury Christ Church University, University of Kent, Hadlow College, and Manchester Metropolitan University amongst others. The annual conference seeks to celebrate research that Wildwood has supported and to disseminate the findings in a relaxed, welcoming environment.

Topics were across a broad spectrum, from pine marten food preferences and Scottish wildcat breeding success to the purpose of whiskers! Many thanks to all who made this event such a success, we're already looking forward to next year's conference!
To get involved with research at Wildwood email angus@wildwoodtrust.org

 

New wolves at Escot

The Wildwood Trust is delighted to announce that a pack of six wolves have arrived from Sweden to their Escot site in East Devon. After a two-day journey, starting at Stockholm, Sweden, all six of the siblings (four males, two females) have arrived safely and will now begin to settle into their new home. Their arrival has been highly anticipated by visitors, and marks a significant moment in the Trust in its newly acquired Devon location.

The six young wolves, Elvis, Sting, Lemmy, Moby and their sisters, PJ and KD, are part of an ongoing research project which began at Tovetorp in Sweden. The research, which will be continued by Wildwood staff, seeks to understand the crucial early stages of wolf domestication when our ancestors first invited these ferocious predators into their homes.
To allow the wolves to settle in as naturally and comfortably as possible, they will undergo a quarantine period of four months. They will not be on view to the public straight away but gradually introduced to protect them from and monitor any sign of disease. This quarantine period also allows them to get to know their keepers, surroundings, and establish a new routine.
 
Choughs in Kent
The Lord Mayor of Canterbury visited Wildwood this week to welcome the chough back to Kent.
The chough, a member of the crow family, is one of the rarest birds in the UK and was driven to extinction in Kent well over 100 years ago. The chough has a long-standing association with Kent and still lives on in the coat of arms of Canterbury City and the University of Kent, and in Shakespeare’s King Lear (Act iv – Fields near Dover, Scene 6) where he introduces the chough in his description of the Dover Cliffs.
We have taken delivery of three new chough as part of a ground-breaking project to assess if these amazing birds can be released back into the Kent countryside. Famed as acrobats of the sky, the chough naturally performs majestic flying displays which can now be seen by visitors to Kent’s largest bird aviary at the Wildwood Trust. Wildwood’s team of expert keepers hope to establish a breeding programme for the birds and supplement with a reintroduction project if deemed feasible.
Lord Mayor of Canterbury, Cllr George Metcalfe, said: "The chough is an iconic feature of Canterbury's history and they take pride of place on the city's crest and regalia.
"Legend associates the chough with the murder of St Thomas Becket in Canterbury Cathedral in 1170. It was said that a black crow-like bird on the day of the murder was seen pecking in the bloody detritus in what is today known as the Martyrdom where Becket was killed. For many years choughs were known as "Beckets" in the late Middle Ages. Another theory is that Becket's name was derived from his father's long nose or beak.
"Whatever the truth, we are thrilled to have choughs here in the district once again. Their arrival at the Wildwood Trust Animal Park is most welcome and I would encourage everyone to go and see these marvellous birds for themselves."
 

 
New ravens?
Ike and Bena are showing all the signs of potential parenthood. They have been nest building and Bena has spent much time sitting on the homely pile of branches. Chances are that we may have baby ravens on the way, but we'll be sure to keep you posted in next month's newsletter.
 
 
Avian influenza
Due to directives and advice from DEFRA, Wildwood are keeping their birds protected from potential infection from migrating bird populations. This directive is in place until further notice and is why our chickens are not currently meandering around the park. 
 
 
Hibernation is over
All of our hibernating animals have started to wake up. Our adders are bathing in the sun, as are our terrapins and all of our other animals, who have been out for the winter, are making an appearance. Including our bears...
 
 
The bears are back
Our bear brothers have been sleeping away some of the winter for the first time since they were born and have been kept in their smaller enclosure for monitoring purposes. They are now almost fully out of hibernation and we will be opening the doors to their large enclosure, and opening our bear bridge, on Friday 24th March. It will be a momentous day and we'll be letting you know early next week exactly what's happening on the day (as soon as the bears let us know).
 
 
New entrance road
After a week of digging mud and laying concrete, our rangers have produced a solid new road to softly caress the wheels of incoming motor vehicles. They’ve also produced an even more comfortable path for walkers.
 
 
Play park additions
Our new addition to the play park is fully underway and the plans are very exciting. We want to leave it as a surprise, but you’ll be able to see the progress week on week.
 
 
Volunteers
Massive thanks to the Kent Union's Volunteer Projects Co-ordinator and the 12 students who helped out at Wildwoodas part of their volunteers week. We dug up silver birch saplings from our woodland management area and re planted around 50 trees into our Bison enclosure.
Good work everybody!