TV presenter Helen Skelton opens Yorkshire Wildlife Park reserves for rare animals

TV Star Helen Skelton has helped to open two new animal reserves at Yorkshire Wildlife Park for rare animals and endangered species - including Red pandas, Hyenas, Gelada monkeys and smooth coated Otters.

Helen Skelton is proud of her Yorkshire roots and is well known for her appearances on Countryfile. The presenter is well acquainted with Yorkshire Wildlife Park from hosting Channel 5's Big Week at the Zoo.

She acknowledged the park's global conservation projects and encouraged people to visit the 150 acre park at Branton, near Doncaster.

Which animals can you see at the new animal reserves?

1) Experience Ethiopia

The first section is Experience Ethiopia where you can see spotted Hyenas and a troop of Gelada Monkeys. Gelada Monkeys are the last surviving species of grazing primates. They must eat around a quarter of their body weight in grass every day.

The pink hour-glass shaped patch on their chest for displaying dominance and reproductive status. Males also flip their upper lip to expose huge canine teeth when threatened.

2) Himalayan Pass

The second section Himalayan Pass features Red Pandas and Smooth Coated Otters which in the wild are found on the mountain slopes and in the valleys of the Himalayas in Asia.  

Despite its name, the Red Panda is not closely related to the Giant Panda – it is most closely related to weasles and racoons. Red pandas build a nest in a hollow log or rock crevice and give birth to 1-2 cubs.

Their curved sharp, semi-retractile claws and an extension to the wrist form a false thumb to manipulte bamboo. They can also rotate their ankles to control their descent from trees.

John Minion, CEO Yorkshire Wildlife Park said:

It has been a very hard year for us at Yorkshire Wildlife Park, with huge revenue losses from the lockdown and we have been very grateful for everyone's support especially all those who have come back to visit the park since reopening. It is great to have some positive news and to welcome new animals to the park - we have lots more exciting things lined up for the future too.  

John Minion, CEO Yorkshire Wildlife Park