Group visits to ZSL London Zoo and ZSL Whipsnade Zoo
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Wildlife Park animals enjoy Highlands snow

The animals at RZSS Highland Wildlife Park enjoyed a change to their environment this week after a thick blanket of snow fell.

Many of the animals within the park are cold weather adapted and so well prepared for the recent covering of snow.

Keepers also provided the animals with special Christmas themed enrichment, which the muskox and Amur tigers in particular enjoyed as they ripped into wrapped presents, giant snowballs and Christmas trees to get at some of their favourite treats.

Douglas Richardson, Head of Living Collections at RZSS Highland Wildlife Park, said: “The tigers definitely give the impression of being just large domestic cats in how they interact with the keeper provided distractions.  Whereas the muskox are as interested in their “toys” but they are definitely trying to pummel their presents into the ground.”

Muskox are one of the few large mammals able to survive year-round in severe Arctic conditions and are very well adapted to their environment.  A thick dense coat provides great insulation against the cold and rounded hooves help them while moving through snow. They eat a varied diet of plants with flowers and grasses in the summertime and mosses in the winter. They graze in herds of around ten to 20 animals, but this can reach as many as 100 individuals.

When threatened, muskox can become very aggressive, and despite being large and generally slow moving, males can charge short distances at speeds of up to 25 mph. Due to this they must be kept in specialised enclosures strong enough to withstand such force.

To find out more about RZSS Highland Wildlife Park go to http://www.highlandwildlifepark.org.uk

Amur tigers – photos Jan Morse

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