Zoo enjoys bumper summer with new arrivals

Kate Bottley filming for Songs of Praise at Noah's Ark Zoo Farm.

Kate Bottley filming for Songs of Praise at Noah's Ark Zoo Farm. - Credit: Doug Evens

Staff at a Wraxall zoo have enjoyed a busy summer with plenty of new arrivals.

Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm has seen newly-born Tamworth piglets and colourful village weaver chicks, to zebra foals.

Broadcaster and priest, The Reverend Canon Kate Bottley, visited the zoo in late July along with a TV crew to film an episode of Songs Of Praise.

Exploring the story of how the zoo grew from a dairy farm into an award-winning zoo.

Trio of Tamworth piglets at Noah's Ark Zoo Farm.

Trio of Tamworth piglets at Noah's Ark Zoo Farm. - Credit: Doug Evens

A huge animal lover, presenter Kate enjoyed getting up close with giant tortoises, Bella the barn owl and stuck in with the daily poo shovelling duties of the elephant keepers. 

Filming for the episode, which is due to air on BBC One at 1.15pm on August 29, Kate talked to head keeper Chris Wilkinson about his day-to-day duties, looking after a zoo with more than 500 animals and its importance for his family.

She also caught up with managing director, Larry Bush, on the role that zoos play in providing a place where people can re-connect with nature, the benefits for people and providing a sense of wellbeing.  

Keeper Zoe Cropper with weaver bird nest.  

Keeper Zoe Cropper with weaver bird nest. - Credit: Doug Evens

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Larry said: “I was delighted to welcome Kate and the team to the zoo. Songs Of Praise has been a favourite of our family over the years, and it has been great to introduce Kate to Noah’s Ark and the many amazing creatures that live here.” 

An eventful August has also brought a new buzz of excitement in the form of zebra foal, Abasi, who joins fellow three-month-old foal, Astrid and are part of the dazzle of zebras. 

Keeper Jayne Gibbons said: “Our zebra foals are already developing a lovely playful friendship. Our older foal Astrid, has been very excited by this new arrival and both can often be seen having zoomies."

Two weaver bird chicks have also fledged the nest following a successful breeding season.  

Three week old Abasi and three month old Astrid at Noah's Ark Zoo Farm. 

Three week old Abasi and three month old Astrid at Noah's Ark Zoo Farm. - Credit: Doug Evens

Keeper Zoe Cropper added: “It was exciting to see not one but two of our village weaver chicks having fledged their nests and making full use of their aviary. We’re hopeful for more as we’ve found a few broken egg shells, meaning hopefully more chicks are hatching in nests."

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