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Up close at Longleat

Sarah Jeffery from the Discover Animals team recently spent a day exploring Longleat Safari Park in Wiltshire with her daughter Caitlin.

It had been a few years since the pair last visited, so they were excited to see what was new. ‘Marvellous Monsters’ is a new outdoor exhibition for 2017 and features 20 larger-than-life animatronic bugs including butterflies, bees, a beautiful orchid mantis and an enormous whip scorpion.  Visitors can see them until 29th October.

Caitlin is a huge animal lover, so she especially enjoyed the safari drive-through, during which they were lucky enough to spot some of the parks newest additions – two cheetah cubs and a trio of scimitar horned oryx calves, whose extraordinary horns are believed to have been the origin of the unicorn myth. Originally from North Africa, the antelope is thought to have gone extinct in the wild in 1999, due to a combination of hunting and loss of habitat. However, Longleat is part of an international captive breeding programme for the species and to date they have successfully reared a total of 16 calves. Numbers worldwide are now thought to be in excess of 1,500 and re-introduction programmes are currently taking place in Tunisia, Morocco, Chad and Senegal, with captive-bred animals being released into fenced reserves.

For more on ‘Marvellous Monsters’, click here.

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