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online! Find out more on pg 37

winter 2012




Contributors 1


Photographic competition 2012


Chief Executive’s welcome


One for the girls


New tiger


In profile


Bird walkthrough - landing Easter 2013


Sand lizards


Go! Rhinos - Southampton 2013


Flamingo health check


Thank you! Help save our rhinos


Diamond Jubilee medals


Browse barrelling


Africa’s new reserve


Cobra vs viper


Halloween kids activities


What’s on 2012 / 2013


Commuters 12

Annual membership update


Olympia - newest baby arrival

Christmas at Marwell 2012


Snow leopard cubs update


Lemur twins enjoy Exbury’s bamboo


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Cover: Ural owl. Issue no:142. Copyright: Marwell Wildlife. Editor: Becky Churcher email: Design: Mel Hewitt-Cross. Marwell Wildlife, Colden Common, Winchester, SO21 1JH UK 01962 777407 Reg. charity no. 275433, VAT no. 631 9661 30. All information correct at time of print 10/2012. ISSN: 1757-3378. Printed on recycled paper.

Contributors Tanya Langenhorst Conservation Biologist Tanya manages Marwell’s contributions to population management (Marwell’s studbooks and EEPs). She directly coordinates the Hartmann’s zebra EEP and Grevy’s zebra EEP as well as the international studbooks for these species and is a member of the European equid advisory group. She also works with our Kenyan partners for Grevy’s zebra conservation. Dr. Heidi Mitchell Conservation Biologist Heidi manages Marwell’s contributions to conservation science, working closely with partners such as universities and other scientific institutions on a number of long term studies. She also facilitates undergraduate, Masters or PhD student projects that assist our conservation and animal management work. David White Collection Manager David’s responsibilities lie in the logistics of running the Birds, Lower Vertebrates and Invertebrates section at Marwell Wildlife. He has been working at Marwell for 11 years and in this time he has sat on the council for ABWAK (Association of British and Irish Wild Animal Keepers) and has been part of the Endangered Species Programme for Red pandas.

Young male kingfisher © Bill Doherty One of the entries from our 2012 photographic competition

Dr. Zeke Davidson Field Biologist Zeke is responsible for taking Marwell Wildlife’s conservation actions into the field. Living in Kenya, Zeke can be found fitting radio collars to Grevy’s zebra, surveying wildlife from light aircraft or implementing camera trapping surveys with night vision cameras.

Hello and welcome to our winter edition of Marwell News. It has been a busy summer as usual here at Marwell with new animal arrivals, a packed programme of events and of course our birthday celebrations, but there is more to come this winter. Our events team are busily preparing for a ‘spooktacular’ Halloween festival with pumpkin carving, arts and crafts, a spooky train and storytelling. In addition, our Christmas elves are wrapping thousands of presents in time for Santa’s arrival in November. Christmas at Marwell is always a huge success with children and adults alike, so be sure not to miss out on tickets! In celebration of our 40th anniversary Marwell Wildlife is launching Go! Rhinos, a world class public art event in Southampton. Whilst visiting Marwell you may have spotted a giant painted rhino, well this is just one of many sculptures which will inhabit the streets and parks of Southampton next summer. The charge is already gathering pace with the city’s biggest names signing up to sponsor a rhino. You can read all about these exciting plans on page 5. In this edition of Marwell News you can also enjoy the latest updates on our new aviary (page 4), our work with The Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in Kenya (page 10) plus the stunning results of this year’s Photographic Competition (page 16). And finally, anyone who is familiar with Marwell Wildlife knows our staff are a talented team who are passionate about conservation. And I am delighted to say that this commitment and drive has been recognised by Investors in People (IiP) who have awarded us with a silver accreditation. This is a huge achievement for Marwell, with only 2 per cent of organisations in the South of England reaching this category. Of course, we will continue to invest in our staff to ensure Marwell remains a great place to work and in turn a great place to visit for our guests. As always, thanks for all your support this year and we look forward to seeing you all very soon. James Cretney

chief executive’s


We are pleased to announce the arrival of a new tiger to the park. Milla, an Amur tiger from Zlin Zoo in the Czech Republic, is three years old and has arrived as part of the European Endangered Species Programme. She will be joined by a new breeding mate next year, which we hope will lead to the pitter patter of stripy feet! During the summer months, you will have noticed that Bela, another Amur tiger, joined us from Lisbon in Portugal. Bela has been staying with us temporarily while her new home at the Blair Drummond Safari Park in Scotland was prepared. She will be moving on to her new home by the end of the year.


Our oldest tiger, Gamin, will remain living next door to Milla. The Amur tiger is the largest member of the big cat family and is an endangered species. There are only around 500 Amur tigers left in the wild and they are found in isolated populations around the Amur river valley in the far east of Russia and on China’s north east border.

Bird walkthrough - landing Easter 2012 Following the announcement in the last Marwell News (Summer 2012) of a new walkthrough aviary, I can report the plans are moving forward at a pace. Designs for the 7 metre high aviary are almost complete. The aviary will be supported by indoor bird facilities which will include a large communal area as well as 3 smaller aviaries which will be used for isolation and integration of bird species. The natural landscaping will create areas for the birds to forage and perch with a large pool for them to wade and bathe in. Birds selected for this aviary will include species already in the collection such as the hamerkop (Scopus umbretta) and new additions such as the pied avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta). The species chosen show different examples of evolutionary adaptations and nesting strategies which will provide a valuable learning resource for our younger (and also older) guests. These features will be supported with graphics and interpretation. A small shelter and seating area will enable guests to relax and observe the birds as they go about their daily business. David White Collection Manager of Birds, Lower Vertebrates & Invertebrates


In celebration of our 40th anniversary, Marwell Wildlife is bringing Go! Rhinos, a world class mass public art event, to the streets and parks of Southampton.

For 10 weeks throughout the summer of 2013, rhino sculptures 6ft long by 5ft high will inhabit the streets of Southampton, showcasing the wealth of artistic talent in the area, positively contributing to the economic, cultural and social life of the city and raising significant funds for both Marwell Wildlife and another local charity – The Rose Road Association.

The event is designed to bring together the business, education and arts communities for this unique experience and is being supported by Business Solent, Southampton City Council, The Rose Road Association and Wild in Art. Councillor Richard Williams, leader of Southampton City Council, said: “Go! Rhinos is a fantastic initiative and will be the biggest event taking place in Southampton next year.”

Charging into Southampton 2013… The charge is already gaining pace, with Southampton’s biggest names signing up to sponsor a rhino, including:

Media partner


Miles Brown, Managing Partner at Coffin Mew said: “Marwell have come up with a highly imaginative way to help focus attention on the rhino, celebrate their anniversary and raise much needed funds for The Rose Road Association and Marwell Wildlife”

Go! Rhinos is supported by

If you’d like to decorate a mini rhino sculpture, take part in the schools’ rhino trail, receive our fun filled rhino education pack and enjoy an outreach visit from our talented education team, then join our Schools Programme. It’s all covered in our ‘Call to Schools pack’ online.

If you’d like to drive footfall, raise your profile and enthuse your staff, then be sure to sponsor one of our rhinos. Download our ‘Sponsorship pack’ to find out more.

Join our charge visit




Whether you’re a school, business, artist or community group, be sure to get involved in the biggest community based event to hit Southampton in summer 2013.

If you’re keen to show off your creativity and share your art with the masses, then decorate one of our large rhino sculptures. Download our ‘Call to Artists pack’ and send in your designs – if your design is chosen by one of our sponsors, then you’ll receive a one off fee of £800!

Thank you

p l he

e v sa


n i h

s o

Our Rhino Fundraising Appeal was launched a year ago with the objective of increasing awareness of the threats faced by rhinos and raising funds to help support our conservation work in Zimbabwe with the Dambari Wildlife Trust.

We are pleased to announce that £3,372 was raised from the appeal which will help fund: •

Training and support of rangers to monitor rhinos and operate anti-poaching patrols in protected areas.

• Rescue and rehabilitation of rhinos injured by poaching. •

Relocation of rhinos from risky areas to safer havens, also helping to manage populations which are otherwise isolated from each other.

Every pound you donated will help us make a difference in combating the threat of poaching and saving African rhinos. Thank you.

Africa’s new reserve Earlier this year the Nigerian government formally created the Termit and Tin Toumma National Nature and Cultural Reserve in the Sahara Desert. At 97,000 km2 (approximately the size of Hungary) this is now the largest protected area in Africa providing a refuge for some of the world’s most threatened species including addax (Addax nasomaculatus), dama gazelle (Nanger dama) and the Saharan cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus). The creation of the reserve follows concerted action by the Sahara Conservation Fund, with support from Marwell and other partners. Local stakeholders have also been heavily involved in the process, including pastoralists living in the area who see the reserve’s establishment and successful management in helping to secure their way of life and the natural resources on which they depend.

It is now hoped that the management of this vast new protected area will benefit both wildlife and local people through improved habitat use and the development of ecotourism. Termit is an extraordinary place from all perspectives: ecological, cultural, geographic and archaeological. It is very much the keystone in national and international efforts to conserve Sahelo-Saharan wildlife. Due to the vastness of the protected area, the reserve contains a great number of habitats including mountains, grassy plains and open deserts. Its exceptional richness provides home to over 30 species of mammal, an undetermined number of reptiles and over 150 species of birds. Threats to the region’s wildlife are poaching and future development of the oil sector.


Snow leopard cubs Our snow leopard cubs will soon be departing Marwell Wildlife to start families of their own. Kadhir and Kamala will be moving to another collection by the end of the year as part of the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP). Snow leopards (Panthera uncia) are threatened in the wild, so it is important to maintain a healthy captive population as part of the species’ conservation strategy. The cubs are now at the stage when wild snow leopards would be leaving their mother’s range and they would meet a mate. Once the cubs have left, their parents, Indeever and Irina, could soon be expecting offspring once again, so we’re crossing our fingers that there will be some additions to our collection in 2013.


© Amy Wilton

Gentle lemur twins enjoy Exbury’s bamboo We have enlisted the help of Exbury Gardens in supplying bamboo to our family of critically endangered Aloatran gentle lemurs (Hapalemur griseus alaotrensis). Here at Marwell we have a large family of gentle lemurs and recently celebrated the arrival of twins, which were born as part of the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP). The gentle lemurs are a highly specialised group of leaf eating primates, who in the wild feed exclusively on browse (young twigs, leaves and shoots of shrubs and trees) such as bamboo. Due to a limited supply around the park, attempting to source such browse all year round poses quite a challenge. Phyllostachys bamboo, found at the gardens in the New Forest National Park, is a close match to their wild diet and provides the high fibre these lemurs need to keep them healthy and happy. Phyllostachys are native to Asia with a large number of species to be found in Central China and also many temperate and semitropical areas of the world. Our largely folivorous (leaf-eating) species such as the gentle lemur will consume huge quantities of browse if available. Not only is this important for them to maintain efficient digestion, but it also helps to stimulate their natural behaviour.

Š6Mark Fryer

The partnership with Exbury Gardens means we can freeze more bamboo and have enough to give our lemurs throughout the winter months.



commuters Marwell is collaborating with the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, a long standing Kenyan conservation partner, and York University in Canada to better understand wildlife movements and the value of protected areas in Kenya.

Lewa Wildlife Conservancy is located in northern Kenya and spans 250 km2. As well as being home to a wide variety of wildlife including white rhino and Grevy’s zebra, the conservancy forms the terminus of a new elephant corridor that seeks to direct elephant migration northwards from Mount Kenya National Park. Until recently the mountain held an isolated population of 2000 elephants, cut off by human settlements surrounding its base. The corridor is intended to re-connect this marooned enclave with approximately 7000 elephants living in greater northern Kenya. Lewa’s geographical location is thus at a pinch point in the landscape matrix of national parks, forest reserves, community conservancies, and mixed agricultural and pastoral lands (see map). Working with Ph.D. student Marc DupuisDesormeaux, we have deployed motion-activated cameras to document the movements of animals in and out of the elephant corridor as well as through Lewa’s fence gaps. By studying the animal traffic in and out of its mostly fenced

borders, we seek to understand if and how animals use Lewa in their commute from one safe habitat to another via a human dominated landscape full of threats to their survival.

Lewa has been instrumental in the creation of community conservation areas in the regions to the north of the conservancy which have helped increase the amount of land under conservation management in northern Kenya to over 3,000 square kilometres since the mid 1990s. The establishment of community conservation areas has increased the protection afforded not only to wildlife but also to people and livestock, a benefit that is paramount to these nomadic pastoralist communities in northern Kenya. There are reputedly over 70 species of mammals within the conservancy, including elephant (Loxodonta africana), endangered black rhino (Diceros bicornis) and Grevy’s zebra (Equus grevyi). So far, we have captured 28 different species on camera using the gaps, including in excess of 3000 elephant crossing in and out of the Northern Gap. The cameras have also caught lions, leopards, hyena, and cheetah crossing in and out of Lewa. By better understanding what moves in and out of Lewa, we can formulate strategies and detailed plans to care for and protect both the wildlife and the neighbouring communities. Dr. Zeke Davidson Field Biologist & Marc Dupuis-Desormeaux Ph.D. student

The most frequent users of the gaps are elephant, giraffe, and zebra (including Grevy’s) Wildlife corridors

12 14


© Jason Brown

olympia latest arrival

Our latest arrival has been named Olympia to mark the success of this year’s Olympics and Paralympics.

The young giraffe was born whilst the park was open and lucky guests had a chance to witness the birth. Experienced mum Isabella was in labour for four hours and as soon as Olympia arrived, keepers closed the doors to allow mother and baby to bond. This was Isabella’s third birth and, once again, she has proved to be a great mum. The public were invited to help the animal keepers choose a name for the youngster. Four possible names went up for vote and “Olympia” was a clear favourite with voters, receiving a 67% majority. You can see Olympia and the rest of our tower of giraffes at the park’s Into Africa exhibit or in The African Valley alongside zebra, ostrich and waterbuck.

Did you know?

A bull giraffe may reach nearly 6m in height (over 18ft).

Giraffes have specially developed physiological adaptations to allow an even flow of blood to the brain when the neck is suddenly lowered or raised.

Their long blue tongues, which can grow to 45cm in length, are used to pull leaves, shoots, bark and flowers off branches.

Olympia is now two months old and has begun eating solids

The results are in - Marwell Wildlife’s Photographer of the Year 2012 Thousands of images were entered into Marwell Wildlife’s Photographer of the Year 2012 competition and judges were spoilt for choice. Wildlife television producer Phillipa Forrester and award-winning professional wildlife photographer Heather Angel were just some of the high profile judges for this year’s competition. There were four categories open to professional and amateur photographers - Native, Cute and Funny, Marwell Wildlife residents, Marwell Wildlife endangered, as well as a People’s Choice award. This year’s overall adult winner was Austin Thomas with an image of a puffin in the rain (see left), whilst our overall junior winner was Alex Berryman with an image of a kingfisher (see top right). Austin’s image of a puffin was taken on a visit to the Farnes Islands off the North East Coast of England. He said it was ’great news’ to be awarded Photographer of the Year 2012, he added: “The puffin kept moving its head so I waited for eye contact and to see the food in the beak moving regularly. Everyone else I was with ran off to huddle out of the rain and a small group of us stayed behind and I’m glad we did!”

Adult category winners Marwell Wildlife residents Jason Brown ~ sand cat Cute and Funny Austin Thomas ~ little owl Marwell Wildlife endangered Lawrie Brailey ~ Gamin Marwell’s male Amur tiger Native Austin Thomas ~ puffin in the rain

Junior category winners Marwell Wildlife residents Alex Berryman ~ ocelot Cute and Funny Reanna Sampson ~ domestic cat Marwell Wildlife endangered Alex Berryman ~ giraffe Native Alex Berryman ~ kingfisher

People’s Choice Kathy Rich ~ snow leopard To view all the finalists, including runners-up and commended visit


girls one for the


Some of you might have noticed increased activity amongst our Hartmann’s zebra. This is down to a new young male, Gunzo, who arrived recently from southern France. So, why did we need a second stallion? Well that’s an interesting story… Hartmann’s zebra are quite aggressive by nature, especially the females. In the wild, this species forms harem groups with up to six females. Even within these harems, girls don’t really like each other, but they will stick together against outsiders. It takes a strong and assertive stallion to control a group like this! He also hand picks new females that could join his group and will form strong bonds with them. To make life even more tricky for males, a stallion that is new to a group will be tested to his limits by the very aggressive harem females. This is very helpful if you think about it, because it is only the strongest males, those that stand their ground, that will successfully take over the group and produce the next generation. These traits – aggressiveness and being choosy – can make it rather difficult to cater for Hartmann’s zebra in zoos. Here, the breeding programme coordinator chooses which males and females should breed based on genetics alone, and sometimes romance is just not happening. If a stallion doesn’t like a female, he won’t mate with her, no matter how compatible their bloodlines are! Over the years, breeding in the Hartmann’s EEP has been difficult as groups set up with the aim of breeding sometimes fail to do so. In these cases, males and/or females are moved on to other collections in the hope of finding a better match elsewhere.

Our old stallion, Bingo, came to us from Paignton where he got on just fine with the females, but, interestingly, did not breed with them. We tried to tempt him with our females here at Marwell. On arrival, he had to face our two young and rather aggressive Hartmann girls. Not only was Bingo not interested in mating with either of them, but, unfortunately, he also did not stand up to their attacks and so failed to become the leader of the group.

Our females are genetically important though and need to contribute to the Hartmann’s breeding programme. We therefore decided to bring in a new stallion. Gunzo is only five years old but even at this tender age we hoped that his presence in the group would either stimulate Bingo by competing with him for the girls, or, very possibly, would provide us with a new breeding male. Over the summer we have watched as he has stood up for himself against some pretty feisty females and really showed the girls who is boss. Gunzo – and Marwell – have been rewarded with several matings! Fingers crossed that 2013 will see the first Hartmann’s zebra foal(s) in over 15 years in a Marwell paddock. Tanya Langenhorst Conservation Biologist

Hartmann’s zebra first arrived at Marwell in 1971

Kevin Saunders has been working at Marwell for 17 years and is currently the Team Leader for East section. Why did you want to work with animals? I have always had a passion for working with animals, especially exotic animals. I attended Sparsholt College and completed the First Diploma in Animal Care and the National Certificate in Animal Care. This passion for animals was evident when I chose to take Zoo Management and Equine Care. My experience of mucking out horses was very useful for my first section - mucking out zebras! I grew up in Winchester and visited Marwell a couple of times every year and knew the place inside out so it was a dream come true to work here. How did you get your job at Marwell? I did work experience at Marwell for two consecutive years and applied for various keeper jobs. Once I joined Marwell, I continued studying and took the Animal Management course. What does the job involve? As Team Leader I am responsible for the daily running of the primate and small mammal section, making decisions on animal husbandry and managing the team. In this role, I regularly liaise with different departments, particularly the veterinary and curatorial teams. I’m also involved with animal diet management, animal welfare, enrichment, housing and ensuring a fantastic guest experience is maintained.

Which animals do you work with? I will be coming into my 17th year at Marwell and have been very lucky to have moved around the park and have worked on four different sections. In this time I have worked with giraffes, zebras, primates, rhinos, okapis, hippos, penguins and other birds. I currently work on east section with primates, birds, small mammals and some hoof stock. Do you have any particular favourite memories of Marwell? There have been so many. It is always rewarding seeing new born animals for the first time, watching veterinary procedures and being involved in animal moves. I was pleased to take part in rhino crate training and it was very rewarding to see a rhino loaded into a crate calmly. The first year of working at Marwell I was involved in a group job of herding three deer species into the house from the valley field for moving to other collections. This was one of the first group jobs that I had taken part in. It was extremely challenging, involved all sections of the park and was a great team effort. What’s the best thing about working at Marwell? The conservation work that Marwell has been involved in over the years will always be one of the best things about Marwell and I am privileged to be a part of this. In my role I’m always encouraged to try new ideas and techniques in animal husbandry that will benefit animals and the staff that look after them.

I was pleased to take part in rhino crate training and it was very rewarding to see a rhino loaded into a crate calmly

sand lizards

The sand lizard is the UK’s largest and rarest lizard. It was once a common sight in dunes and heathland, but habitat destruction over the last 100 years has led to it being lost entirely in several counties including Hampshire.

Sand lizards live on sand dunes and sandy heath. This sandy habitat is important to the lizards for a number of reasons. Sand has an ability to retain heat from the sun and a quick drainage rate. As cold-blooded reptiles, sand lizards use the heat of the sand to help warm their bodies as they bask in the sun. Sand is also an easy material to dig into for overnight safety or to lay eggs within deep burrows. The warmth of the sand makes it an ideal egg incubator.

It is estimated that there are fewer than 300 locations in the country where sand lizards continue to thrive. These remaining colonies are mostly found on small, fragmented areas of heath or dune in isolated locations or surrounded by woodland.

The biggest threat is habitat loss. The dry nature of the UK’s heath makes it susceptible to fire, urban development, agriculture, and poor management. Heath is a high maintenance habitat and the over-growth of certain species can make an environment uninhabitable for sand lizards. In the lizard’s breeding season, from late spring through to mid summer, the males actually change colour, developing striking green flanks. However, each individual lizard has its own unique markings, which act like their fingerprint, helping conservationists keep track of individual animals. Heidi Lewry Biodiversity Management Placement Student, Bournemouth University & Dr. Heidi Mitchell Conservation Biologist

Sand lizards can live up to 12 years, they are 18 - 20cm in length & weigh 12g - the same as a £2 coin!


Š Ian Stickland

flamingo health check

As summer ends and autumn approaches, our keepers and veterinary team prepare for an important day in our health check calendar. With 30 flamingos currently living in the park, a health check on every member of the flock is a sizeable challenge. Our flamingo keepers and veterinary team are joined by additional keepers and each individual flamingo is assessed. But the first challenge is moving the flock to a contained area. On a visit to the park, you may have noticed green fencing forming a square outside the flamingo house. Keepers will encourage the flock into this ‘flamingo corral’, making it easier to pick them up.

Each flamingo is then placed in a specially made veterinary sling, which is attached to scales. The sling contains the bird safely and the team can weigh the flamingo without causing distress.

Every bird has its feet photographed and examined. Unfortunately, flamingos are susceptible to foot abrasions which can lead to a condition known as ulcerative pododermatitis or ‘bumblefoot’. Bumblefoot is when the skin on the foot becomes cracked and swollen. The condition can be prevented with good management, though if it does occur it can be treated medically, or sometimes, in more severe cases, surgically. Thankfully, bumblefoot is a rare problem here. A final step in the health check is to take blood samples from the birds. As flamingos are sexually monomorphic (little difference between males and females), the best way to determine a young flamingo’s gender is with a blood test. Once the health check is complete, the flamingos are returned to their main enclosure next to the tapirs. So if you happen to see a large group of keepers holding slings and scales on your next visit, you’ll know what’s going on!

Diamond Jubilee medals Marwell’s Community Responders have received a prestigious award for their life-saving work. Anna Ing, Gordon Campbell, Marc Fox and Ian Goodwin were awarded a Diamond Jubilee medal to mark Her Majesty the Queen’s sixty years on the throne. As Community Responders the four members of staff have been trained in the use of the automated external defibrillator (AED), to provide early and often vital intervention for patients suffering lifethreatening emergencies in the immediate vicinity of Marwell Wildlife. The team were initially trained by South Central Ambulance Service to provide life-saving treatment at a recognised level. They also attend compulsory training every six months to ensure that their skills remain fresh. The award was presented to Community Responders who have been serving the public for 5 or more years. Left to right: Marc Fox Team Leader of Carnivores Anna Ing Team Leader of South Section Ian Goodwin Collection Manager of Hoofstock Gordon Campbell Curator of Birds and Lower Vertebrates


Browse barrelling Members of Marwell’s Oryx Club have been helping to prepare animal feed ready for the winter months. The children joined staff and volunteers in gathering browse (shoots, leaves and twigs from trees) to be stored in barrels. A large number of our animals in the park are known as ‘browsers’ and spend their days picking through branches for food - This includes giraffe, okapi, takin and bongo - to name just a few. Of course, during the summer months, providing enough browse is achievable, but the winter months pose more of a problem. So every year, staff and volunteers cut browse before the leaves begin to fall off the trees - These are then stored in air tight plastic barrels. This environment encourages a fermentation process which preserves the browse for many months, ensuring it can be used to feed animals during the winter.

Did you know?

© Paul Barnes MPG

© Paul Barnes MPG

An adult giraffe weighing one tonne will eat in excess of 13 kg of browse a day! They will forage all day long, picking through spiky branches with their 45cm long tongues!

cobra vs viper

The Egyptian cobra (Naja haje) is a very aggressive species and one of the largest cobras, averaging 2.5 metres in total length. It can be found living across most of North Africa, south to the Congo basin and east to Kenya and Tanzania. Our knowledge of its diet is based primarily on anecdotal data, suggesting the consumption of a variety of vertebrates including small mammals, small tortoises, lizards, small birds and their eggs, and, occasionally, snakes. Two original observations of ophiophagy (“snake eating”) made in Dghoumes National Park, southern Tunisia, involve cobras and horned vipers (Cerastes cerastes). The protected area consists of a halophytic zone (saline environments which can include mangrove swamps and marshes, and as in this case a saline semi-desert) merging with the Chott El Jerid, the largest salt pan in the Sahara, marked by ephemeral water courses (wadis), and a mountain chain to the north.

The second observation was made by two ecoguards who came across a recently killed horned viper surrounded by many snake traces in the sand, which due to size and lengths were ascribed to a cobra. We can assume that the cobra was disturbed while preying on the viper. Most cobra species generally attempt to escape when approached but if threatened may assume the typical upright posture with the hood expanded. Horned vipers are specialised semi-fossorial snakes which ambush rodents and lizards whilst partially buried in soft sand. The snakes’ reddish-brown colours provide camouflage, working in their favor as both predators and prey. They have few natural enemies but as this species is quite common in Dghoumes National Park, it may be a common prey for an active predator like the Egyptian cobra. The venom of the Egyptian cobra affects the nervous system, stopping signals from being transmitted to the muscles, heart and lungs, causing death due to complete respiratory failure. Ernesto Filippi Herpetologist

The first observation occurred early in the morning when out walking with an eco-guard. We discovered an adult Egyptian cobra, approximately 2 metres in length, which was entwined with a smaller adult female horned viper. Our arrival disturbed the snakes and the Egyptian cobra immediately released the viper and slipped into a bush. The partially paralysed viper soon died and we were able to take measurements (the snout-vent length being 64cm and the tail length 4.8cm) and subsequently preserve it in ethanol.

“Meretseger” the Egyptian goddess of tomb builders and protector of royal tombs has the face of a cobra. She was considered to be both a dangerous and merciful goddess.

Halloween Festival • Watch pumpkin enrichment for our animals • Visit our bones or no bones interactive zone • Meet our mini beasts • Enjoy Spooky storytelling with our resident witch • Ride on our hauntingly good Ghost Train (usual fee applies) • Strut your stuff on our kiddies catwalk (31 October only) To find out more visit

Don’t miss out!

27 October 4 November

Match the pumpkins Spook the difference! with their smiles

There are seven differences - can you spook them? Find the answers online at



Rules: Colouring in competition is open to children of 12 years & under. Entries completed in any medium will be accepted. Go Wild animal adoption awarded to 1st place only in age catagories 3 - 6 & 7 - 11. Closing date is 30 November 2012. Post entries at the information kiosk or send to ‘Colouring in comp’, Marwell Wildlife, Colden Common, Winchester SO21 1JH. The judge’s decision is final, no correspondence will be entered into. The winner’s parent/guardian will be contacted by phone by 14 December 2012. Data is necessary to process winning entry. Competition entries may be displayed in Marwell Wildlife marketing materials. Photocopies accepted.

Daytime contact number.................................

Annual membership number.............................


Win a Go Wild adoption

Match the shapes with their ghoulish shadows!

What’s on? 2012

15 November Member Talk Zeke Davidson, Field Biologist, will be focusing on the Grevy’s zebra and Marwell’s conservation work with this species in Kenya.

27 October – 4 November

4 November

Halloween Festival

Wedding Fayre

Prepare to be spooked… Meet a snake, enjoy a trip on our ghoulish ghost train or design a pumpkin for carving!

10.30am – 3.30pm Experience Marwell Hall first-hand and meet our friendly functions team and local wedding suppliers. For more information call 01962 777966.

e-newsletters for all the latest news, offers and events, subscribe to our e-newsletter at

For more details visit our website. 23 November – 24 December Christmas at Marwell Be enchanted…Let us take you on a magical journey to meet Santa, Mrs Claus and their attentive elves!

Buy tickets online now



for m on embe sele rs day cted s!

What’s on? 2013 16 – 24 February

29 March – 14 April

February Half Term

Easter Holidays

Welcome to the wonderful world of scales! Take part in our themed crafts, meet our mini beasts and enjoy our animal talks

Join us for all things feathery! Visit our new walkthrough bird aviary where you can get close to some of our current favourites, like the Waldrapp ibis, and meet some new ones too! We’ll also be hosting an exclusive preview for annual members, details of which will be available next year.

Visit whatson for more details on our events

25 May – 2 June Summer Half Term Calling all little explorers! Meet our plants team and find out some fascinating flora facts: learn how hydroponics help plants grow even without soil, how some plants move when touched, how some provide food and nectar and how some can grow up to a metre a day! Decorate your own plant pot in our craft area and then plant and take home your own seedling, enjoy wood carving demonstrations and listen to a whole host of animal talks.

Get creative with our free feathery crafts, listen to our fascinating talks and take part in our Wild Egg Hunt. Visit the Easter Bunny to collect your very own chocolate egg over the bank holiday weekend, from Good Friday to Easter Monday.

7 & 21 June

20 July – 1 September

Party in the Park

Summer Holidays

Party in the park after hours and prepare yourself for a wild night to remember!

Enjoy some new close up encounters and celebrate all things cute and cuddly with our furry friends themed crafts.

Annual member update

Thank you for being an annual member. Your support makes a valuable contribution to both our conservation work and the care of our animals in the park. If you require more information, please drop into the membership cabin next time you are in the park, call the team on 01962 777960 or email

Christmas presents

Access to other zoos

Get Christmas wrapped up.

One of the many benefits of Marwell membership is our reciprocal arrangement with other UK zoos.

Purchase one of our great gifts for your loved ones and support Marwell in the process.

You’re welcome to visit the following at least once per year subject to their terms and conditions: Bristol, Chester, Colchester, Edinburgh, Highland Wildlife Park, Paignton (including Living Coasts), Newquay and Twycross.

Choose from adoptions and annual memberships, to Face to Face and Keeper for a Day experiences. Find out more at or call us on 01962 777960 from the 1st November to purchase.

Monthly email If you’re not already receiving our monthly email about what is going on at Marwell then be sure to register on our website. We don’t want you to miss out on any of our events or special offers. You can also join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Xela bus update We’re sorry, for various reasons the Xelabus X8 service has been suspended. However it will be back during Easter & Summer 2013. If you have any queries or would like to demonstrate your support for this service in future please contact Xelabus directly.

Marwell News goes online Would you be surprised if we told you that it costs £20,000 per day for us to care for our animals and run our park? With mounting food bills and higher energy costs this sum is on the rise so we’re keen to explore new ways of stretching our precious resources. Each copy of Marwell News we produce and post costs us £1 – that’s enough to keep Ralph, our penguin, in fish for a day, or for us to buy a sapling to support our woodland conservation. If we’re to honour our commitment to wildlife (which we know is a commitment you share) than we have to be more creative in terms of how we keep in touch. Digital is the answer! We know how much you love being kept up to date with our park and conservation news so we’ve decided to move to an online version of Marwell News from next Spring. This will not only release funds for us to invest in the running of our park, but will also enable us to enhance the newsletter through adding direct links to events and special offers targeted at you, our fantastic supporters. We will of course continue printing a small number of paper copies which you are welcome to pick up from the membership cabin when you visit.

Keeper experience We’re currently offering our annual members a 20% discount on our new Keeper Experience! For more information and to book please call our Adoptions team on 01962 777988





Christmas at Marwell 24 November - 24 December (various dates) Make your family’s Christmas magical. Book our festive event & enjoy the following: Entrance to the park & enchanted Marwell Hall Storytelling & puppet show with Mrs Claus Cookie decorating with Santa’s elves Special gift from Santa (for kids under 14yrs)

Members get 40% off on selected days! Buy tickets online now

Mulled wine & mince pie

Marwell News Winter 2012  

Marwell Wildlife supporters magazine

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