Chilled out at the Longleat safari park


KEEPERS at Longleat Safari Park have come up with a selection of unique “ices’ to keep their exotic animals chilled out over the summer. From a “fruit salad” for giraffes to pear and apple lollies for red pandas, these gourmet treats are just what they need in these near-tropical temperatures.

A particular favourite among the herd of Rothschild’s giraffe is frozen carrot and willow leaf balls, which are suspended on a chain over four metres above the ground.

The Rothschild’s giraffe has been officially designated as Near Threatened in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, which means it may be threatened with extinction in the near future.

Giraffes are the tallest animals in the world. Fully-grown male giraffes can grow to heights in excess of five and a half metres. They can reach speeds of up to 56 kilometres per hour and, in captivity, can live to be 25 years old.

For the park’s resident group of ring tail lemurs, the keepers have devised a watermelon based treat, while the red pandas have their own pear and apple flavour lollies, complete with a proper lolly stick!

The name lemur itself derives from the Latin word ‘lemures’ which means ghost and probably came from their nocturnal habits, ghost-like appearance and mournful-sounding cries.

In the mornings the ring-tailed lemur sunbathes to warm itself. It faces the sun sitting in what is frequently described as a “sun-worshipping” posture or Lotus position. Sunning is often a group activity, particularly during the cold mornings. At night, troops will split into sleeping parties huddling closely together to keep warm

Like their famous namesakes the giant pandas, red pandas are increasingly endangered in the wild. The species was officially designated as ‘Endangered’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in 2008 when the global population was estimated at about 10,000 individuals. Found in Nepal, Bhutan and China, they live among bamboo forests and spend much of their time in trees