There’s no better time than the present!

There’s no better time than the present!
There’s no better time than the present!

We've hand-picked a collection of gifts that are ideal for animal lovers of all ages as the countdown to Christmas approaches.

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Taking advantage of our secure outdoor areas

Know before you go: this autumn, we've secured a safe and pleasurable visit for everyone…

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Prepare to fill your days with magnificent creatures and help our charitable activities after lockdown.

Find out more here. This Autumn, Here Are 5 Reasons to Visit Whipsnade Zoo Whipsnade Zoo is a fantastic day out for all ages, regardless of the weather. Here are five compelling reasons to pay a visit to the Zoo this fall.

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Membership in the Zoological Society of London

Benefit from unlimited annual visits to the ZSL London and Whipsnade Zoos, as well as a variety of other perks.

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Ivinghoe Beacon's view of the Whipsnade hill figure The Whipsnade White Lion, a massive hill figure carved into the slope of the Dunstable Downs (part of the Chiltern Hills) below the white rhino, can be seen from miles away and from the air. The park encompasses 600 acres (2. 4 km2) and can be seen from miles away and from the air. Because of the park's size, visitors can walk, take the zoo's bus, or drive their own automobiles between the many animal enclosures, or through a 'Asian' area where certain animals are free to roam around the cars. The 2 ft 6 in narrow gauge Great Whipsnade Railway, often known as the "Jumbo Express," operates a train service. The ZSL Whipsnade Zoo is the largest zoo in the United Kingdom, as well as one of Europe's largest wildlife conservation parks. There are 3,626 animals that live there, many of which are endangered in the wild. The majority of the species are housed in large enclosures, however others, such as Peafowl Patagonian Maras Red-necked Wallabies, are allowed to graze freely around the park.

Years in the beginning

Sir Stamford Raffles created the Zoological Society of London in 1826 with the goal of encouraging the worldwide protection of animals and their habitats. In order to do this, the ZSL London Zoo was founded in Regents Park, London.

A visit to the Bronx Zoological Park inspired Sir Peter Chalmers Mitchell (ZSL Secretary 1903–1935) to create a park in Britain as a conservation project. Hall Farm, a derelict farm on the Dunstable Downs, 30 miles (48 kilometers) north of London, was purchased by the Zoological Society of London in 1926 for £13,480 12 s d. The plot was enclosed, roads were constructed, and trees were planted.

Two Lady Amherst's pheasants, a golden pheasant, and five red junglefowl were among the first animals to arrive at the park in 1928. Muntjacs, llamas, wombats, and skunks were among the first to arrive. Whipsnade Park Zoo first opened its doors on May 23, 1931. It was Europe's first open zoo that was widely accessible to the general people. It was a huge hit right away, with over 38,000 visitors the following Monday. The brown bear cage dates back to the zoo's early days.

In 1932, the zoo's animal collection was bolstered by the purchase of a collection from a defunct travelling menagerie, and some of the larger animals walked from Dunstable station to the zoo.

World War II (WWII)

During WWII, the zoo served as a shelter for animals evacuated from London's Regents Park Zoo. Ming, Sung, and Tang, the celebrity giant pandas, were among these animals, but they were quickly returned to London to bolster morale in the metropolis. The park was bombed 41 times in 1940, with little damage to the zoo structure; nevertheless, a 3-year-old giraffe named Boxer, who had been born at the zoo, was killed by the explosives. The park's ponds are the remains of bomb craters from this time period.

Recent occurrences

In 1996, a new elephant house and paddock were built to replace the former elephant house, which was constructed by Lubetkin Tecton in 1935 and was architecturally spectacular but cramped. The old house is a Grade II* listed building at the zoo, and its associated enclosure houses the zoo's lemurs. The zoo acquired additional exhibits in the early 2000s, including Lions of the Serengeti in 2005 and a walk-through lemur habitat in 2007 (which Dominic Byrne officially opened on March 28, 2007). The Rhinos of Nepal exhibit in February 2007, Cheetah Rock on Easter 2008, a sloth bear display in May 2008, and Wild Wild Whipsnade in May 2009 (all of which are frequent visitors to the park). After undergoing renovations, the Café on the Lake reopened in July 2008 as the Wild Bite Café.

After eight years of excellent service performing ceremonial tasks, William Windsor (known as Billy), a goat mascot of the British Army Royal Welsh regiment, retired to the zoo in May 2009.


A inhabitant of the zoo's "In with the Lemurs" attraction.

House of Butterflies

The Butterfly House, which debuted in 2016, is home to a variety of butterfly species as well as West African dwarf crocodiles. It is a walkthrough exhibit, so the butterflies are flying around as visitors pass through. The atlas moth, one of the world's largest moths, calls this house home.

The Serengeti's Lions

Lions of the Serengeti, which opened in 2005, is home to a pride of seven African lions. Two adult females named Mashaka-Lia and Kachanga, three younger males named Kato, Toto, and Max, and a younger female named Kia make up the African lion pride. The four younger lions were born in April 2006 and are the children of Spike, the zoo's former male lion, and Mashaka-Lia.

Splash of the sea lion

In Sea Lion Splash, a sea lion performs.

Sea Lion Splash, formerly known as the zoo's Dolphin Pool, was a daily show in which the zoo's three trained California sea lions (two females named Bailey and Lara, and a male named Dom) performed acrobatics and stunts in their pool (dubbed the 'Splash Zone'). Dom and Bailey welcomed Oscar, a male sea lion, into the world in June 2015.

herd of elephants

The herd of nine Asian elephants at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo is made up of cows Lucha, Kaylee, Karishma, Kaylee's female calf Donna, and a bull elephant named Ming Jung, who arrived in November 2019 as part of the European Endangered Species Programme. Their seven-acre paddock includes three ponds, mud wallows, and dust baths. The first series of the ITV documentary series The Zoo, which covers the daily lives of the personnel at both Whipsnade and London Zoo, focused largely on one of the female elephants, Karishma, and her pregnancy with her first calf George. During the Queen's birthday celebrations, another female calf named Elizabeth was born. The Centre for Elephant Care, officially opened in Easter of 2017, is a completely new indoor facility for the elephant herd.

river dart country park

Nepalese rhinos

Rhinos of Nepal, which opened in February 2008, is home to a group of four Indian rhinoceros named Hugo, Beluki, Behan, and a juvenile male named Bali (born to Behan in September 2015). The building is designed to be environmentally friendly, with rainwater collected on the roof used to fill the pools, solar energy used to heat the pools, and barriers built of reclaimed hardwood railway sleepers rather than metal bars.

Cheetah Rock is a rock band from the United States.

At Cheetah Rock, a Sudanese cheetah.

This exhibit, first opened in 2008, houses a group of cheetahs and includes displays about ZSL's cheetah conservation effort in Tanzania. The cheetahs at Whipsnade are Sudan cheetahs from Northeast Africa, despite the fact that ZSL's conservation mission is concentrated on East Africa.

Shows on a daily basis

'Sea lion splash' and 'Birds of the World' are two examples of animal displays.

Throughout the summer, there are additional daily talks, such as lemur talks, giraffe browses, and penguin feeds.


The park and ZSL receive no government financing and rely only on admission fees, memberships, the park's "Fellows" and "Patrons" program, and corporate sponsorships. The park participates in the Gift Aid charity donation program.


Anna, a 20-year-old elephant who gave birth to a stillborn calf in 2002, died three days later. During the birth, the elephant was allegedly subjected to harsh and unneeded surgery. Anna died of an illness associated to the still birth, according to the zoo, and she did not "die in anguish."

After leaving their enclosure throughout the night in 2021, two female European brown bears were shot and killed. The zoo was chastised for euthanizing the bears after they escaped into a neighboring enclosure and attacked a wild boar using a fallen tree. “It was a horrible situation, but it really underscores why we shouldn't be holding animals in zoos,” said Sam Threadgill, director of the organization Freedom for Animals.

"We must rapidly make judgments informed by our knowledge and skill to protect our personnel, guests, and other animals," the zoo's chief curator at the time, Malcolm Fitzpatrick, said in a statement to staff. tranquillizers were not an option because they would have taken 20 minutes to work.

green wooden bench and autumn leaves on grass covered field near trees during day

Chimpanzee eludes capture

Koko and Jonnie, two former'teachimpanzee|chimpanzees' that were relocated from London Zoo to make space for The Gorilla Kingdom, fled from their enclosure in September 2007.

Koko returned to the enclosure with one of the keepers, while Jonnie began walking towards the public areas.For reasons of public safety, the zoo's professionally trained guns squad shot Jonnie to death. The zoo claims that no members of the public were ever in risk. ZSL spokeswoman Alice Henchley explained why they didn't use a tranquilizer instead "It's usual protocol to shoot an animal if it can't be retrieved promptly and securely. With a tranquilizer, we can't be sure "..

Culture in the public eye

The principal character (who has failed in an effort to assassinate Adolf Hitler) played by Peter O'Toole jeeringly asks the Nazi (John Standing) who arrests him whether he would donate his remains to Whipsnade Zoo in the 1976 film Rogue Male, which takes place on the eve of WWII.

Gerald "Gerry" Durrell, a British biologist, zookeeper, conservationist, author, and TV host, worked here as well. Durrell worked as a junior or student keeper at Whipsnade Zoo after the war. This transfer realized a lifelong ambition: in The Stationary Ark, Durrell claims that the first word he could pronounce clearly was "zoo." Beasts in My Belfry is a film that depicts incidents from this time period.


The Lookout Cafe in the park has a collection of panels that detail the zoo's history.

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From 1989 to 1999, disease and death among great bustards (Otis tarda) at Whipsnade Wild Animal Park

T. A. Bailey and colleagues, Vet. Rec.


The six great bustards (Otis tarda) kept at the Whipsnade Wild Animal Park were subjected to 351 clinical examinations and six postmortem examinations between 1989 and 1999. Soft tissue traumatic injuries accounted for 35% of all clinical findings, musculoskeletal disorders for 26%, and lameness was one of the most common causes for a veterinary examination. Poor condition was responsible for 30% of the clinical results and was linked to cold, wet weather in the winter and spring; the affected birds were segregated and given nutritional supplementation. Four of the five birds from whom samples were obtained for histology had haemosiderosis and haemochromatosis.

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There’s no better time than the present!
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