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Summer baby boom at Kirkley Hall Zoological Gardens

Award-winning Kirkley Hall Zoological Gardens, which currently houses over 200 species of animals including ring tailed lemurs, coatis, wallabies and meerkats, has successfully bred six different species since May.

The zoo, which was opened in 2011 by BBC Countryfile presenter Adam Henson, is a realistic learning environment for students at Northumberland College’s Kirkley Hall campus and is open to members of the public on weekends and school holidays, receiving approximately 70,000 visitors per year.

The exciting new arrivals include Tindra, the reindeer calf, two meerkat pups, a flock of bar-headed and barnacle geese goslings as well as ringed teal, a small breed of ducks from South American forests, which the zoo have been trying to successfully breed for many years.

Five rare Waldrapp ibis chicks have also successfully been bred at the zoo this summer.

Steven Skyes, Resource Manager at the Animal Management Centre at Kirkley Hall, said: “The zoo is part of a breeding programme coordinated by the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums (EAZA), which focuses on sustaining a viable Waldrapp ibis population in Europe as they are critically endangered in their native habitat.”

“With our chicks successfully fledging this year, it takes our zoo’s flock up to 10, which is absolutely fantastic.”

The latest tiny additions come from the Von Der Decken’s hornbills. After the pair arrived at the zoo earlier this year, the female soon settled in to her nest box and started to lay. Steven added: “It has been a great year so far and all of our new-borns are doing extremely well.”

“Our staff are doing a fantastic job and so are our students, who are gaining hands-on experience working with some endangered species as well as developing customer service skills working with members of the public.”

Visitors can enjoy a visit to Kirkley Hall Zoological Gardens seven days a week from now until 4th September.”

The college’s Animal, Equine and Veterinary Nursing Academy offers a range of courses including veterinary nursing, animal management and equine studies.

As well as the zoo, facilities at the campus, which spans a 190-acre estate include a working farm, equestrian centre, new workshops for maintenance of agricultural machinery, arboriculture and state-of-the-art farm planning and analysis software, plus there is an upland farm in the Cheviot Hills – Carlcroft Farm.

Also this year, the college launched a prestigious new partnership with Newcastle University to offer Foundation Science Degrees in Animal Management, Equestrian Performance and Coaching, Horticulture and Arboriculture.

Future developments at Kirkley Hall include a brand new £1 million equine centre and further developments to Kirkley Hall Farm.

For details of admission and opening times visit

For information about courses in Animal, Equine and Veterinary

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