Colchester Zoo in review: The highs and lows of 2018
- Credit: In February the zoo opened up their elephant bush walk to allow visitors a better view of bull elephant Tembo. Picture: COLCHESTER ZOO
There’s been newborns, new arrivals and heart-breaking passings – here we take a look back at Colchester Zoo’s unforgettable 2018.
Reflecting on the past 12 months, business development manager Melissa Fitch said: “As time passes by we all get older and face the challenges which life brings but nothing can ever prepare you for the emotions you experience when you lose a loved one whether that be a family member, a friend or an animal who you are very close to.”
Two cheetah brothers, Abasi and Azizi, were welcomed with open arms at the start of the year. The zoo hopes that when they are of age they will breed with well-known female cheetah Sia.
A few months later the zoo welcomed three new wolves, followed soon after by two Amur leopards called Esra and Crispin.
The crowned lemur species then made their return to the zoo when they moved into the newly designed lemur walkthrough enclosure.
After mixing with female rhinos at Woburn Safari Park in Bedfordshire, Otto, the zoo’s male white rhino was introduced to his son Kifaru for the first time this summer.
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Nina and Nico, the zoo’s bush dog pair, became parents to three bush dog pups this year. This was a first for Colchester Zoo.
And they were not the only new arrivals, the zoo Zoo has had heaps of success in their breeding programmes – welcoming a number of new faces to the animal park.
Oq the Aardark gave birth to male pup Ottis in March this year while, smooth coated otters and penguin chicks were born in May.
They were followed, in June, by a sweet red panda cub called Iniya. She has been a firm favourite with visitors of the zoo alongside a female blue duiker calf named Penelope.
Colchester Zoo has lost a number of its long-standing residents this year.
Speaking of the losses, Melissa said: “Unfortunately in 2018 Colchester Zoo had to say a final good night to some very dear animal friends.
“Chimpanzee Billy-Joe at over 40 years old, Flossy the white rhino who had been here for over 46 years and famously known resident, Rajang the orangutan who at 50 years old had touched the lives of many with his engaging, interactive and loving personality.”
Billy-Joe was part of the ‘original zoo family’ after arriving at the zoo in the late 70s. A new pathway to Chimpanzee Lookout has since been opened in Billy-Joe’s name.
In July Flossy the white rhino, who was one of the eldest in Europe sadly passed away.
A special memory is to be made in Flossy’s name on the terrace overlooking the African paddock in 2019.
This December saw a final good night to Rajang the orangutang who touched the hearts of many as hundreds of tributes poured in for the 50-year-old orangutang.
A memorial garden is being renamed in Rajang’s memory.
Melissa added: “All three animals were part of the original zoo family, they are all irreplaceable and leave a large hole in the heart of Colchester Zoo. They will forever be in our hearts and Colchester Zoo will ensure their memory lives on for generations to come.”