Longleat Safari Park
|Longleat Safari Park|
Longleat Safari Park
Longleat Safari Park shown within Wiltshire
|Coordinates||51°11′24″N 2°15′40″W / 51.19°N 2.261°WCoordinates: 51°11′24″N 2°15′40″W / 51.19°N 2.261°W|
|Area||9,000 acres (36.42 km2)|
Longleat Safari and Adventure Park, in Wiltshire, England, was opened in 1966 as the first drive-through safari park outside Africa. The park is situated in the grounds of Longleat House, an English stately home which is open to the public and is the home of the 7th Marquess of Bath. Longleat Safari Park and the concept of safari parks were the brainchild of Jimmy Chipperfield (1912–1990), former co-director of Chipperfield's Circus.
Today, Longleat is home to over 500 animals, and the estate occupies 9,000 acres (36.42 km2) of Wiltshire countryside.
The Safari Park's reserves
- Bongo Pass and new area: the new area is home to common eland and eastern bongo.
- Wallaby Walk: Wallaby Wood is home to Red-necked wallabies with African spurred tortoises and guineafowl, It is possible to get out of the car and view this section on foot.
- Pygmy Goat Paddock: This paddock is a home to the African pygmy goats. It is possible to get out of the car and view this section on foot.
- Warthog Ridge: Home to 3 warthogs. It is possible to get out of the car and view this section on foot.
- Lemur Walk-through: the spacious Lemur Walk-through enclosure is home to 2 species of lemurs including Ring-tailed lemurs and Brown lemurs and features extensive rope swings and wooden walkways which provide the lemurs with the perfect opportunity to demonstrate their extraordinary agility and climbing skills.
- African Village (60 acres or 24 hectares): Rothschild giraffes and Grant's zebras.
- Tapir Terrain: Near the African Village are the Brazilian tapirs. It is possible to get out of the car and view this section on foot.
- Flamingo Valley: Chilean flamingos, sacred ibises, White-faced whistling ducks, spoonbills and Wood ducks.
- Vulture Venue: five pairs of African White Backed vultures and grey crowned cranes.
- Monkey Jungle: Rhesus monkeys, Blue wildebeest and blackbucks.
- Anne's Haven: specially built for Anne the Asian elephant, accompanied by three Nubian goats. Anne suffered mistreatment before her arrival at Longleat and receives special care for her physical and psychological needs. The new elephant house has deep sand floors, heating, feeding areas and outdoor space with a large grassy paddock, rocks, log piles, a giant browse frame, sandpit, plunge pool and scratching post. As well as her own team of keepers dedicated to her wellbeing, Anne has the freedom of her own paddock. The new house has facilities and space for additional elephants and Longleat would consider accommodating other elephants that need a home.
- Big Game Park: scimitar-horned oryx, Ankole cattle, southern white rhinos, ostriches, Bactrian camels and roan antelope.
- Deer Park: red deer, fallow deer and Père David's deer.
- Pelican Pond: pink-backed pelicans
- Tiger Territory: 3 Amur tigers
- Lion Country: two prides of African lions.
- Cheetah Kingdom: six cheetahs.
- Wolf Wood: Canadian timber wolves.
Half Mile Lake
- Pelican Lagoon (at the far end of Half Mile Lake): It's home to Eastern white pelicans.
- Sealion Beach (within Half Mile Lake): it is home to Californian sea lions
- Hippo Mud Bath (within Half Mile Lake): it also home to 2 Common hippopotamus
- Gorilla Island (in Half Mile Lake): home to elderly male Western lowland gorilla, Nico.
- Gorilla Colony (at the far end of Half Mile Lake): a small bachelor group of three male western lowland gorillas – Kesho, Alf and Evindi.
The first section includes walk-through exhibits for meerkats and chipmunks (the former is the first of its kind in the UK) along with themed enclosures for otters, binturong, coatis, porcupines, Red-legged seriema, giant anteaters, Burmese pythons, boa constrictors and maras.
The second section, built between Jungle Kingdom and Animal Adventure, is the Monkey Temple, which allows marmosets including common marmoset, pygmy marmoset and black-headed marmoset, along with the tamarins including cotton-top tamarins, Geoffroy's tamarins, emperor tamarins and red-handed tamarin to run freely around the visitors from mock temple ruins. At the lorikeet feeding station, visitors can buy pots of nectar to feed to rainbow lorikeets in a walk-through aviary alongside golden pheasants. Red pandas and barn owls can also be found in this area.
Containing many animals previously kept in Pets' Corner, many exotic and familiar mammals, birds, reptiles and insects are on display, including goats, striped skunk, macaws, ferrets, guinea pigs, cockatoos, Corn snake, rabbits, Hermann's tortoises, Pancake tortoise, Spur-thighed tortoise, iguanas, Kune Kune pigs, armadillos, Siberian weasels, rock hyraxes, fennec fox, Chilean rose tarantula, Tegus, Leopard gecko, Chameleon, Crested gecko, prairie dogs, Geoffroy's marmosets, royal pythons, Cane toad and more. A walk-through butterfly hot-house home to Butterfly and handling areas for small mammals, reptiles and invertebrates allow visitors to have direct contact with the animals. four Donkeys and two Jacob sheep can also be seen, along with three emus and two kookaburras called Darwin and Giggles. Also found here are Indian Runner ducks, chickens and turkeys.
Jungle Express Railway
Established in 1965 as "Longleat Railway" and expanded in 1975, the 15 in (381 mm) gauge ridable miniature railway is among the busiest in the country. It has a length of one and a quarter miles (2 km) through scenic woodland and along the edge of Half Mile Lake. Many engines have run on the railway over the years, both steam and diesel; currently the railway owns three diesel locomotives although only one, Alan Keef built 0-6-0DH "Flynn" is generally used on passenger services. At the far end of the line is a halt platform which is only used for Santa Specials, with a purpose built grotto and a reindeer enclosure.
The Jungle Cruise involves taking a short trip around Half Mile Lake, which houses a large family of sea lions, the dominant male of which is called Buster, and a pair of hippos. Aboard, it is possible to buy a cup of fish pieces to throw to the sea lions, who naturally follow the boat and bark for food.
A 225,000-litre naturally-themed display which is home to a colony of 30 captive-bred Humboldt penguins. Visitors can watch the penguins from above as well as below the water, through giant viewing windows.
- Longleat House
- Gardens and grounds
- Lord Bath's murals
- Longleat Hedge Maze
- Adventure Castle
- King Arthur's Mirror Maze
- The Life and Times of Henry, Lord Bath
- Family Bygones
- Longleat House scale model
- Rockin' Rhino
- Little Explorers Garden (New for 2016)
- Carousel (New for 2016)
In the media
The Lions of Longleat
A 1967 BBC One documentary about the newly opened safari park with commentary by Lord Bath and Jimmy Chipperfield.
Vets in Practice
The park featured heavily in the BBC fly-on-the-wall documentary series Vets in Practice.
Roar is another BBC series about the animals and keepers at wild animal parks.
All Change at Longleat
A documentary filmed in 2014 and broadcast on BBC One in September 2015, following one of the country's most extraordinary aristocratic families and the people who work for them. Lord Bath hands control of the estate to his son, Ceawlin, but it doesn't go smoothly.
- Mary Chipperfield (1972). Lions on the Lawn. HarperCollins Publishers Limited. ISBN 978-0-00-613025-3.
- The lions and loins of Longleat The Sunday Times Retrieved 18 February 2011
- Vines, Gail (2 December 1982). "Safari Parks, after the Honeymoon". New Scientist. Retrieved 7 November 2015.
- Samson, Ian (15 May 2010). "Great dynasties of the world: The Chipperfields". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 May 2016.
- "Longleat Safari Park". britishzoos.co.uk. Retrieved 10 April 2015.
- "Jungle Express (Longleat)". Miniature Railway World. Retrieved 5 October 2014.
- Profile: Longleat Railway Miniature Railway Magazine Retrieved 26 August 2016
- "The Lions of Longleat - BBC One London - 12 November 1967". BBC Genome. Retrieved 7 November 2015.
- "Lion Country - BBC One London - 16 February 1998". BBC Genome.
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