Welcome to the September edition of the Wildwood Newsletter.

Beaver pond gets a clean-up

Our beaver pond has been undergoing maintenance over the last few weeks and the enclosure is now once again open. Thank you for your patience while we have been making these improvements!

 

Birds of prey

This summer, Wildwood's birds of prey have been flown daily while on a monitored diet. Their regular flying regime has now finished and the birds are being fed in preparation for their annual moult. We plan to have them back flying in Spring.

 

Harvest mouse survey

Wildwood Trust is working in collaboration with the Kent Mammal Group on a project to find out the current distribution of the Harvest Mouse (Micromys minutus) across the county of Kent. The species is thought to be declining, but without an up-to-date survey of their distribution it is difficult to know its true conservation status.

If you are interested in helping us reach our goal of surveying the whole of Kent for Harvest Mice you can attend one of the free “Harvest Mouse Ecology and Surveying” courses at Wildwood (and at other locations around Kent) that will give you all the background and field skills required to go out and survey your local area for Harvest Mice. The next survey season has just begun, just go to our courses page to see when the next training day is happening or contact harvestmouse@wildwoodtrust.org for more information.

 

Red deer in full rut, reindeer shedding antlers

Our red deer stags, Desmond and Desmondson, have shed their antler velvet and are now in rut for the Autumn. They're both a bit noisy and will be bellowing constantly. This is regular behaviour for the stags, and quite an impressive display of courtship.

Our reindeer are still shedding their antler velvet and should be showing full antlers within a few weeks. We can't wait to see reindeer Kenny's magnificant antlers in their full glory.

 

Bears are getting sleepy

Our bears, particularly Scruffy, are slowing down in preparation for their winter torpor. We will start keeping them in their small enclosure at some point in October when we feel that they are on the verge of torpor, so make sure to visit the park before the end of September for your bear fix. They'll be active again in March 2019.

 

Red squirrel reintroductions

You may remember that back in Spring, Wildwood's red squirrel captive breeding programme was once more successful as we welcomed baby red squirrels to the park. In the next month, these grown up squirrels will be transported to two sites in Wales to live wild and free, helping form a population to safeguard and expand the species.

After efforts to reintroduce pine martens over the last 3 years by the Vincent Wildlife Trust, it is now hoped the red squirrel can out compete invasive grey squirrels from North America to once again become part of lives, eventually being restored across Southern Britain.

 

Autumn/Winter Conservation Courses

Our popular Wildwood nature courses are now available for the Autumn/Winter period, catering for complete beginners and amateur naturalists through to wildlife professionals.

We cover a variety of topics ranging from species ecology, conservation and handling to outdoor crafts.

To find out more, visit:

https://wildwoodtrust.org/wildwood-kent/conservation/conservation-courses

To book, visit our shop:

https://wildwoodtrust.shop/collections/conservation/courses

 

 

World rivers day

This week saw #WorldRiversDay which celebrates all of the animals who live on our waterways, including the water vole. Our work to stop the extinction of the water vole appears in this video by the Sanger Institute, who are mapping the genetics of our most threatened wildlife.

 

Halloween half-term at Wildwood

Summer is just a distant memory as we celebrate Halloween half-term at Wildwood from Saturday 20th October to Sunday 28th October. Each day, paying visitors to the park will be able to enjoy free Halloween crafts & events, spooky animal talks, meet a snake and a fiendish witch's trail.

We'll also be holding a pumpkin competition and three special 'Coming of the Ice Age' days which we're very excited about! More information will be up on our website at the start of October!

 

Santa's Grotto

It's only September, but we're already planning the building of the best Santa's Grotto that we have ever had at Wildwood. We're now taking bookings for selected dates and will be revealing full dates and information on our website soon.

For more details, email help@wildwoodtrust.org or phone 01227 209621

 

Wolf cub update

Our four gorgeous male wolf cubs are now 20 weeks old and, although they aren't considered adults until 2 years old, are almost as big as their parents. All four cubs and their parents are in very good health and becoming more active each day.

 

Save our red squirrels

Wildwood are delighted to announce that thanks to our unbelievably amazing supporters, we did reach our target of £3,750 in pledges before the deadline!

We are so grateful for all of your support and thanks to all of those pledges, we will now be able to unlock the maximum amount of funds possible through the Big Give. This also means we have qualified and will be taking part in the Christmas Challenge (27th Nov – 4th Dec) https://www.thebiggive.org.uk/christmas-challenge/ which will help raise even more to save these beautiful animals and ensure they have a wild future!

For everyone who wanted to contribute, but were unable to make a pledge, this will be your chance to get involved and make a difference. Please save the date and make a donation during the Christmas Challenge week to get your donations doubled!