Double Olympic Gold medalist Rebecca Adlington made a big splash at the award-winning Yorkshire Wildlife Park today (Tuesday ) when she officially opened the new Giant Otter reserve. Rebecca, who won two gold medals in the 400m and 800m freestyle at the 2008 Beijing Olympics unveiled the new home for two endangered female Giant Otters as part of a project to help save the species.
She said: “I would like to thank the YWP for asking me along to officially open the Giant Otter reserve today. It was great to see Mora and Alexandra close up and to get to feed them. I really hope the initiative helps save this wonderful species.” Rebecca Adlington
Rebecca agreed to do the official opening to lend her support to the work of the Yorkshire Wildlife Foundation. Giant Otters been devastated by poaching for their velvety pelt and habitat degradation in their native South America, and their numbers have been reduced to fewer than 5,000.
Mora, 2, and Alexandra, 3, who both came from a zoo in Germany, have run of a sprawling 2835sq. metre reserve with a vast 2.5m deep lake. Giant otters can swim 100m in less than thirty seconds while Rebecca’s freestyle personal best for 200m was 1 minute 56 seconds in 2008.
The reserve has been designed to resemble their natural wild river bank/wetlands habitat with sand and gravel banks around the water’s edge and raised areas so they can dry off and also dig their own dens in dry ground. Their house is 78sq. metres with two-metre-deep pools heated to 18 degrees.
The Yorkshire Wildlife Park Foundation is an active supporter of a key project in remote areas South America to preserve the Giant Otter threatened by deforestation, commercial fisheries, and increased industrialization across the Amazon Basin. The charitable Foundation is funding a scheme to improve management and conservation and carry out a local field survey in the 90,000 hectare Cantao State Park, in Brazil, which is home to 700 species of birds and 300 species of fish.
There is more Easter holiday fun at Yorkshire Wildlife Park with a new special event from April 1st – 3rd. Celebrating Alice in Willderland, inspired by Lewis Carrolls’ Alice in Wonderland, the fun includes a Wonderland show – with three magical days of live shows, craft activities, games and more. Meanwhile, Through the Looking Glass characters will be roaming the park.
A special prize of a £100 voucher to spend at YWP will be awarded each day to the best-dressed children or families in Wonderland fancy dress.YWP is home to some of the most endangered animals in the world including Amur Tigers, Amur Leopards, and Painted Hunting Dogs, Lions, Giraffes, Guinea Baboons and the ever popular Meerkats. There is fun whatever the weather with the Indoor Monkey Playhouse – 600 sq. metre of fun with three levels of play equipment, including climbing frames, dens, slides and rope bridges and café in full view of the baboon reserve through a glass wall.
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