Region's zoos welcome two new arrivals

A vulture chick has been hatched at Banham Zoo Credit: Banham Zoo

It may not be one of the most photogenic creatures, but staff at Banham Zoo think its beautiful.

The Norfolk zoo are celebrating after the Ruppell’s griffon vulture chick hatched as part of its captive breeding programme.

The vultures are seriously endangered due to habitat loss, poisoning and hunting. Numbers have plummeted by up to 97% over the last half-century.

Ruppell’s vultures typically roost on cliffs in large numbers where one white egg is laid and incubated for around 55 days. The chick will then stay in the nest for at least another 150 days. 


Banham Zoo videoed the chick with mum Verity, and dad Foster.

Mike Woolham, Head of Living Collections at Banham Zoo, said the zoo was proud to be able to run a successful breeding programme:

These birds are critically endangered in the wild due to ongoing problems with poachers who purposefully poison animal carcasses to deter vultures and other animals from giving away their presence in the area. Our flying displays at Banham Zoo aim to empower our visitors on the conservation of these birds and are vital for raising awareness and much needed funds for not only Ruppell’s griffon vultures but some Asian species too. So far to date we have donated almost £45,000 to vulture conservation as a result of these displays.

Mike Woolham

Hoping for similar success - though on a rather different scale - is Africa Alive in Suffolk.

The park has just welcomed a female southern white rhino named Belle from the  Cotswold Wildlife Park where she was born on 2nd October 2017, it's hoped she'll breed with Zimba, Africa Alive’s male southern white rhino.

Belle the southern white rhino in her new surrounds Credit: Ben Thomas Photography/Africa Alive

The species is a classed as near threatened in the wild.

 Terry Hornsey, animal manager at Africa Alive, said:


Moving a rhino takes a reasonable amount of planning and expense and involves organising a crane to unload the large travelling crate, so that the rhino can be safely let out. As a testament to everyone involved, Belle arrived in good health and we are very much looking forward with anticipation to the forthcoming year and Belle’s first full season with Zimba, Norma and Njiri.

Terry Hornsey

There has been something of a baby boom recently at the region's zoos and animal parks: