Tough Times for Zoos & Safari Parks

Bowdleflode News No. 26 – July 2020


Welcome to the July Bowdle eNews where we share our updates. We hope that you and your families are all well and by now accepting our new normal. Please forward on to any friends and colleagues you think may be interested in receiving our newsletter.


Tough times at Zoos & Wildlife Safari Parks

Animals grazing peacefully at Marwell

There is no doubt that the last few months have been a difficult time for everyone. None more so than for zoos and wildlife parks which were forced to close their doors, throwing uncertainty on the lives of thousands of animals in their care. This month, with doors set to re-open for many, our zoos and parks will need our support more than ever before, both to be able to stay in existence and carry on their wonderful work.

Re-opening today, June 29, we highlight Marwell Zoo which is close to Bowdle HQ. We have facilitated many adoptions through them for local schools taking part in the Bowdleflodes project. With 140 acres set in the heart of Hampshire, near Winchester, they operate as a charity with an aim to conserve global biodiversity and pursue a sustainable future. They boast an incredible range of animals, with over 140 species and is one of the top places to visit in the south as a family. Visit their website to plan your visit safely this summer www.marwell.org.uk.

Shepreth Wildlife Park

Shepreth Wildlife Park in Hertfordshire is a smaller zoo and it has been devastated by the Covid outbreak. The pandemic has cost them around half a million in lost income, and ith only 30 members of staff, many of whom have had to be furloughed, it has meant all non-essential work has had to take a backseat. It’s not just jobs which have been affected but the welfare of animals too. Government loans and funding have provided short term relief, but of course these will all have to be paid back, and sadly the future of such parks remain uncertain. You can do your bit by supporting one of your favourite local zoos and wildlife parks. Taking your children or grandchildren to visit may prove a life saver for both the park and the animals.

How you can help

Save Britain’s hedgehogs

A yummy hedgehog breakfast !

Here at Bowdle HQ, in the Sussex countryside, we are no strangers to the sightings of some very adorable spiny creatures –  and Bowdle founder Neil will often spy them outside the back door! Over the last two decades hedgehogs have undergone a drastic decline in Britain with the humble hedgehog now listed as a species of principal importance to protect. But why is one of of the nation’s favourite garden icons facing such devastating losses? Here are just a few reasons:

  • Widespread use of pesticides reduces the invertebrates hedgehogs eat
  • Larger field sizes makes it difficult for hedgehogs to move around the landscape
  • Increasing badgers – the main natural predator – may have an effect where habitat is already degraded
  • Gardens lost to car parking or decking directly reduces foraging area
  • Busy roads cause mortalities. As well as this, they can disrupt dispersal routes for hedgehogs
  • New developments usually lack any connectivity between gardens

The last point is hugely significant with the amount of new housing developments being crammed in towns and countrysides as the demand for housing increases. One simple way to combat the decline with the help from developers would be to include a “hedgehog highway” –  a 13 cm hole in the bottom of a fence that allows hedgehogs to move freely between gardens to find food and find a mate.  This small move which could have a big impact would be very easy and cost effective for developers to carry out.  If you feel passionate about these creatures and want to help their plight then sign the petition below and make a stand!

Bowdleflode of the Month – July

Created by Freya from Oakwood School, West Sussex, UK

Damingos have a curved beak which is ideal for catching its prey and sturdy antlers to defend its youth. They also have a distinct badger’s face, neon pink feathers and a leopard tail. It has classic flamingo legs but with stone-black hooves which help make its nest. Usually they will eat krill, shrimp and small creatures. In the breeding season, the females become aggressive towards the males to see which one is the strongest. Usually they’re lovable creatures and only hurt other species for defence or if they feel threatened.

Thank you Freya for your amazing Bowdleflode!

All of our Creative Creatures worksheets and guides, whether for home learning or for the classroom, are available to download for free via our website. Once you have completed the project with your child or class you can upload to the Bowdleflode Fantasy Wildlife Park completely free of charge!