Looking back at Paradise Park 2016
At Paradise Park there is never a quiet time of year, either we are busy with visitors and in the full swing of the bird breeding season or deep in planning for the coming year.
But January is a good time to look back and 2016 did have quite a few highlights. Chough breeding and the reintroduction project in Jersey is a good place to start, with ten chicks hatched here at the Park and every one fledging successfully. Six of these youngsters were chosen to join the flock now flying free in Jersey. Lee Durrell from the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, along with co-pilot Colin, flew to the small airfield in Perranporth to pick up the birds in August within hours they had reached their new home.
In Jersey there were already over 20 choughs bred at the Paradise Park flying free on the north coast and being given great care by Liz Corry and her team. The released birds have a large aviary to return to for supplementary food and shelter, this works well and 2015 saw the first breeding of a chough in the wild for over 100 years, and in 2016 four more. I was lucky to visit the project in October to experience the magnificent sight of 35 choughs foraging and flying together – including a masterclass of swooping and circling way up in the sky!
This year has also seen some new species bred at the Park. The Great Grey Owls produced two very cute and very fluffy chicks (one pictured here), the Striated Caracaras (unusual birds of prey) also had their first two chicks ( read more and see video here) and the just one Purple Gallinule chick was hatched (more info and video here). Four Cuban Amazon chicks were produced and, as rare parrots are a speciality here, our first breeding of the Critically Endangered Red-Vented Cockatoo was very welcome.
It has been a few years since we bred the beautiful white Bali Starling, which is sadly another Critically Endangered species, but this year we had two lovely chicks. One will soon be swapped with an unrelated male so that another pair will be established here.
Our female Red Panda Jai-Li gave birth to a boy cub in July. His name is ‘Koda’, as suggested by visitors, and he is now a healthy youngster to be seen out and about with his mum up the tall trees in their enclosure. Read more here.
For many years the gardens at Paradise Park have created a wonderful setting for exotic birds, especially in the sheltered Victorian walled garden. We added butterfly and bee gardens to encourage native wildlife, don’t use pesticides and love composting. In the past couple of years we have gone further to add to the biodiversity of the site, for instance by adding hedging trees to support early pollinating insects so we were very pleased to receive a Highly Commended in the Wildlife Friendly Business Award at the Cornwall Tourism Awards in November.
We always have ambitious plans both to add features for visitors and breed rare species, so are already looking forward to the excitement of another spring. Meanwhile we are open every day to welcome our many regular winter season visitors who enjoy the opportunity for a peaceful visit to see their favourite birds and to let off steam in the warmth of the JungleBarn.
Alison Hales, Paradise Park