Sunday, 23 June 2013

Folly Zoo ~ Conservation At Work

There was a time, years ago, when I was not in favour of the idea of zoos. Keeping wild animals caged for the amusement of humans didn't seem right somehow. However, as perceptions of the importance of the conservation of endangered species have changed over the last few years, most zoos have changed beyond recognition. Gone, for the most part, are the confined and cramped caged conditions, now there are wide open enclosures where the animals can live in more natural environments. Many zoos now are part of world-wide conservation programmes in conjunction with organisations such as the WWF (World Wildlife Fund). Zebra 1

Folly Zoo, or to give it it's proper name Folly Farm & Zoo is one of two such places here in the western part of Wales. Folly Farm had very humble beginnings as a simple working dairy farm. The owners noticed how often people stopped at the roadside to watch the cattle and other farm animals, had an idea to open the farm to the public to watch dairy cattle being milked and a 'petting farm' for the children. This opened in 1988.
Cameroon Sheep 1

Folly Farm continued to expand over the next few years, adding such things as 'adventure playgrounds', a vintage funfair and nature trails, becoming one of the most popular attractions in Wales. Then, in 2000, the decision was made to add a zoo.
Meerkat 1

The decision would involve becoming part of several important conservation projects, and the first animals started arriving in 2002, with a slowly evolving expansion programme in place. 2009 saw the arrival of the first giraffes in Wales.
Giraffe 4

There are several breeding programmes currently taking places at Folly Zoo to try to increase the numbers of several endangered species, including the Madagascan Fossa, the Bongo Antelope and the Barbary Macaque (photo below).
Barbary Macaque 3

2013 has seen the opening of Wales' first saltwater penguin enclosure, home for 24 endangered Humboldt Penguins. Penguin 4

The full set of photos I took at Folly Zoo can be seen in this Flickr slideshow:

24 comments:

  1. When my son was a young boy, he used to like zebra very much, lots of zebra images in his room those days. I always like giraffe. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for dropping by, Sophie :-)) I guess he would have enjoyed this place then.

      Delete
  2. really enjoyed this post-thanks Mitch

    ReplyDelete
  3. Interesting account and interesting collection. Some nice images there too, Mitch.

    ReplyDelete
  4. what a nice story about the little farm in Wales, must admit I went off zoos for a while but most of them do seem a lot better now. Love the photos, especially that giraffes head, fantastic close up of him.
    Nice post Mitch

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Loretta, thanks for dropping by :-)) I've only really started visiting zoos on the last few years, as they've improved conditions drastically and become involved with major conservation projects.

      Delete
  5. aw, they are so cute, especially the penguin :)love the patterns on the zebra and giraffe...I hope they at least get to run around some

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Danette :-)) Yes, they all have good open areas they can run and graze like they would in the wild.

      Delete
  6. These are great pics. I've teetered back and forth over the years with my perception of zoos. It can be disheartening at times. I do believe that keeping a more natural environment is of utmost importance. I like monkey world :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Marci!! Long time no see!! I, too, would not visit zoos for many years, but they have improved dramatically over the last decade or so.

      Delete
  7. Thanks, Mitch, for the enjoyable time spent at the Zoo. Loved all the animals but the monkeys and the giraffes are my favourites. Visited your Flick album and dropped my comments.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for joining me on my visit to the animals :-)) Glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for the comments on Flickr, too.

      Delete
  8. They certainly have an interesting choice of animals in that zoo. Must have been a photographers delight and I am sure the animals all put on their best faces for the photos. You have caught some great expressions on their faces.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Pat :-)) Considering how relatively new this zoos is (at least in comparison to others), they have a surprisingly diverse selection of animals. There are quite a few more there than I photographed, but unfortunately, photographing many of these animals requires me to use full-zoom on my camera , which eats up battery power quite quickly. I'm going to have to visit again to photograph some of those I missed this time.

      Delete
  9. Thanks for showing the beautiful animals. Although I dont like monkeys much but I loved Barbay Macaque , especially the eyes .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Fatos :-)) Yes, the Barbary Macaque has very expressive eyes.

      Delete
  10. Wonderful little story of a farm turned into a zoo, did you watch the movie, "we bought a zoo" or something, I really enjoyed that story LOL

    I am not much for zoos but so many have expanded and made habitations better for animals. It hurts though to see my elephant and giraffe out their natural habitat, but they are a necessary evil to educate and in many cases now also conserve.

    Great set of photographs, thank you for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HI Marianne!! Glad you enjoyed the photos.

      Yes, I saw the movie "We Bought A Zoo". It was enjoyable, although I was disappointed that they didn't stick to the real story, of an English guy buying a zoo in England. I guess they had to give it appeal for the US audiences.

      Delete
  11. what a lovely farm zoo,
    I love the meerkat pic
    where we go to volunteer at the owl sanctuary a man rents one of the buildings and has a " meerkat experience" I have not been in there yet because he also has tarantulas *shudder*

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Eevee :-)) I love watching the Meerkats, they are so funny.

      Delete
  12. Great photos and it's good to see a smaller zoo playing a role in important conservation projects ... but then aren't they all important. I must admit to rather liking the photos of the little beetle in particular !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Charlie :-)) The photos of the little green weevil was a bonus. I was sitting changing the battery in my camera when he came strolling along the bench I was sitting on :-))

      Delete