Christmas Treats

The holiday break is with us and it is time to spend a few days in peace with family and friends. Cards, gifts and well wishes are given and taken ad a general feeling of replete bonhomie pervades the air. Having had enough of watching another ‘family’ epic on the TV I thought I owed myself the time to browse the web for a while. Part of this is to look at event and occasions that I/We could take our daughter to over the holidays.

Chessington is close and the ‘Zoo’ is open over the winter for what they call ‘Zoo day’
I found whilsts browsing that 3 White Rhino’s were delivered on 18th December, just before Christmas.  They are to be part of the new ‘attraction/ride’, Zufari.  Similar    to the Rhino Rally in Tampa’s Busch gardens.  No surprise there them as they are both owned by Merlin Entertainment..

Zufari is a new 22 acre site and will include other species, including giraffe, flamingo’s and the like.  As with Busch gardens it will take on an African theme.  Zufari will be open by March 2013.

Only 3 rhino’s but more on their way.

I am just glad that there are real live rhino’s right on my doorstep.  I wonder if I can get aa sneak preview over these next couple of weeks!!???

I had previously mentioned this to the office (Save the Rhino) about having some sort of advertising/information board at this new exhibit.  So I was pleased to hear on Christmas Eve that Chessington had been in contact to ask about Rhino Conservation Field Projects    they could support. If I leave my cynical hat to one side that surely must be good news in the long term for the future of rhino’s. What more could I ask for as a Christmas present???

Besides another 50 Javan rhino’s on the planet………at least!!

As for the motives of Merlin Entertainment.  Well it is a difficult    path to tread.

Someone once said that if the rhino had submitted to the plough as readily as the ox then they would be plentiful on every continent on the planet.  Instead they carry a heavy price on their head, through ignorance, and as someone else said. “Wildlife (or the natural    world) needs pay its way in the modern world”.

Without getting into heavier discussions about humanity also having to pay its way,    surely provided that the animals are well cared for, have all their needs satisfied and the species as a whole benefits then that can only be a good thing, or at least acceptable.  Some would argue that all captivity is bad (meaning zoos) but forget about cats, dogs and pets.  Some say that with the modern media we don’t need to see the ‘real’ thing, but then often have I been saddened when I’ve watched old films of the last Thylacine or Quagga, knowing that I will never see the like.  Some argue quite rightly that the best place to    conserve species is in their natural habitat and that is where we  should see them.  But then again, on pure environmetal grounds these ‘natural habitats’ would soon be destroyed by the heavy weight of tourists feet and the industry that services their needs.

As for Busch Gardens in Tampa. Touristy? Yes A Theme Park? Yes Reality? No.  I have been three times.  Beats the pants off Disney down the road.  But the wildlife enclosures are some of the best I’ve ever seen.  All the animal enclosures are large and varied, lush and spectacular.

I hope and pray that Chessington will emulate this standard (or higher) and I hope that the patter of tiny feet will be heard around the new rhino house.  I hope that Zufari is a great success.  I hope the Chessington Conservation Trust raises funds for worthwhile field    Projects but most of all I hope that everyone who visits that ride goes away caring about rhinos knows a bit more about them and helps continue their survival for the next generation.

Besides I now have rhinos just down the road


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