Newquay Zoo

It's International Red Panda Day!

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September 19th is International Red Panda Day— let's welcome the first ever Red Panda to be born at Newquay Zoo in Cornwall! The tiny cub is just over seven weeks old, born to Germaine and Sandy, who have lived at the zoo for several years. 

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Photo credits: Newquay Zoo

Red Pandas are typically solitary creatures, but young Red Pandas spend over a year with their mother, growing slowly and learning how to forage. Mothers build a nest in a tree hollow or rocky crevice and have litters of one to four cubs. The tiny cubs are born deaf and blind and grow slowly. They open their eyes at about 18 days old, and have their red adult fur by about 90 days old.

Red Pandas live only in the foothills of the Himalayas from western Nepal to northern Myanmar, where they can find their main food source: bamboo. With an estimated wild population of around 10,000 individuals, they are classified as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. Their main threats are habitat loss, habitat fragmentation, and poaching in some areas. 

Civet Twins at Newquay Zoo


Newquay Zoo, in Cornwall, UK, is excited to announce the birth of twin Owston’s Civets.  The young pair, named Tai and Quy, are the offspring of mother, Dong Ha, and father, Bao.  Dong Ha was born and bred at Newquay Zoo, and Bao originated from the Carnivore & Pangolin Conservation Center in Vietnam. 


13_11728730_10152893681066423_3730226673489094267_oPhoto Credits: Newquay Zoo

Senior Carnivore Keeper, Owen Taylor recently said, “This is a magnificent achievement for all of us here at Newquay Zoo, as the civet species is very vulnerable due to ongoing population decline. So, to have these two new arrivals is a great conservation result and helps us maintain the ongoing survival of this species.”

John Meek, Curator, added, “The arrival of the Owston's Civets is a welcome addition to the animal population [at the zoo], as this extraordinary species are actually illegally hunted for their fur and often eaten in local restaurants in Vietnam. So, to be able to continue to preserve this species is a fantastic win for Owen and the team.”

Owston’s Civet (also known as Owston’s Palm Civet) is named after wildlife collector Alan Owston and is native to Vietnam, Laos, and southern China.

A civet is a small, mostly nocturnal mammal that is native to tropical Asia and Africa. The term civet applies to over a dozen different mammal species. The best-known species is the African Civet, which historically has been the main species from which a musky scent, used in perfumes, was obtained.

Civets have a broadly cat-like appearance, though the muzzle is extended and often pointed, much like an otter or mongoose. They range in length from 17 to 28 inches (43 to 71 cm) and in weight from 3 to 10 lbs. (1.4 to 4.5 kg).

The civet will spend most of their days asleep and start their foraging for food at dusk. Occasionally they will venture up the trees to look for food but prefer to spend most of their time on the ground, using their long snouts to dig into the soil for food.

The civet produces a musk (also called civet) that is highly valued as a fragrance and stabilizing agent for perfume. Both male and female produce the secretion. The secretion is harvested by killing the animal or by removing the glands.

Owston’s Civet is currently listed as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List due to an ongoing population decline. It is estimated there has been a loss of more than 30% of the population over the last three generations (about 15 years), due to over-exploitation, habitat destruction, and degradation.

Otter-ly Adorable Arrivals at Newquay Zoo

Baby Otters 16.10.14Three tiny Otter cubs are melting the hearts of visitors at the United Kingdom’s Newquay Zoo after making their first public appearance this week.Baby Otter 16.10.14

Baby Otters 2Photo Credit:  Newquay Zoo

Born in September, the Asian Small-clawed Otter cubs are still in the nest box, but zoo visitors can view them through a glass panel.  It won’t be long before the pups begin learning to swim under the careful guidance of their parents and others in the zoo’s group of 19 Otters.

“The cubs are impossibly cute," said Newquay Zoo Director Stewart Muir.  “Asian Small-clawed Otters are incredibly social animals, compared with other Otter species, so visitors will be able to watch how the cubs’ siblings play an active role in teaching them how to cope in the strange new world outside the nest."

Asian Small-clawed Otters are carnivores, and they work together to kill prey, much the same as a pride of Lions. In the wild, they hunt Snakes, Lizards, Crabs, Toads, Rodents, Quails and other birds. Their zoo diet includes ground meat and small mammals to reflect their natural food sources in the wild.

Asian Small-clawed Otters are the smallest Otter species in the world and are classified as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Habitat destruction, water pollution and over fishing have led to a rapid decline in their numbers in Southeast Asia. The IUCN estimates the global population has declined by up to 30% over the last 30 years.

Two Nyala calves at Newquay Zoo for the 2nd year in a row!


Last year staff and visitors at the United Kingdon’s Newquay Zoo celebrated the birth of two Nyala antelope, the first time ever the species was successfully bred at the Zoo. The zoo has done it again, with two more Nyalas born this summer.

Zoo Director Stewart Muir said, ‘‘I am thrilled at the success we are having with this species at Newquay. It is really important that we breed this species in captivity, as they disappeared from much of their range due to habitat destruction through farming and over-grazing by cattle. The species has managed to bounce back thanks to effective protections, re-introduction to certain areas and the contribution of zoos like Newquay to organised breeding programmes.’’

Mother Nyalas typically hide their newborn calves in thickets to protect them from predators, visiting them only to nurse and clean the calves. Although the species is not considered to be endangered, their numbers in the wild are decreasing in their home range of southeastern Africa.



Photo credits:  Newquay Zoo





The Little Meerkat That Could

Photographer Sophie L. Miller caught a Newquay Zoo baby Meerkat struggling to get up the side of this slope. According to Miller, "the little fella was causing a lot of commotion; it kept trying to climb up that little dirt slope, and was getting quite distressed..."


Meerkats are highly social critters and never stop looking out for their own. Here below we see an adult from the group offering up a treat moments later.  Miller said of the adult, "She kept setting a berry down by the baby's face, in an attempt to feed it, only to have it roll back down the slope. The adult meerkat would then pick the berry up and try again." One day this helpless fuzzy friend will grow up and return the favor, but for now, "It takes a village..."

4868614148_7eb25f2f40Photo Credits: Sophie L. Miller

What's an Owston's Civet?

Civets are small, lithe-bodied, mostly arboreal mammals native to the tropics of Africa and Asia. The Owston's Palm Civet is a civet that lives in the forests and wooded lowland river basins of northern Vietnam, northern Laos, and southern China. These beautiful cubs are part of a conservation breeding programme at Newquay Zoo in Cornwall which also directly supports an overseas conservation project in the civets native home of Vietnam.




Continue reading "What's an Owston's Civet?" »

Newquay Welcomes a Leggy Wildbeest

Extinct outside of conservation areas in their native Africa, this leggy baby Black Wildebeest is a welcome addition to the Newquay Zoo in the UK. Like all Wildebeest, Black Wildebeest are known for their quick tempers, so it will be a while before keepers can get in to examine the baby and determine whether it is a boy or a girl.  
Family portrait
Black Wildebeest family by Michelle Turton 1 rs
Black Wildebeest baby 2 by Michelle Turton rs
Baby Wildebeest eyebrows = no joke
Black Wildebeest baby by Michelle Turton 3 rs
 Photo credits: Michelle Turton/Newquay Zoo

Wildebeest are actually a type of antelope and Black Wildebeest are the smallest of the wildebeesty crew. Small is a relative term in this case however as adults grow up to 400lbs!

Continue reading "Newquay Welcomes a Leggy Wildbeest" »