Hamish the pine marten has already settled in after his move from the New Forest Wildlife Park, along with new Asian short-clawed otter Ned, who has come from the Martin Mere Wetland Centre in Lancashire. But staff at the Chestnut Centre are especially excited about the addition of three smooth-coated otters, a new species for the centre, which will arrive in late spring. Their new enclosure is already well underway.
The smooth-coated otters are coming from the Wingham Wildlife Park in Kent and are named Song, a male, Alari (meaning flower) and Kanali (meaning sun) – two females.
“Smooth-coated otters are classed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of threatened species and we hope our three new otters may be able to form part of a breeding programme in the future,” said Chestnut owner Carol Heap. “Smooth-coated otters live in wet lowlands and floodplains in India, South Asia and South-east Asia and are threatened due to loss of wetland habitats, poaching and pollution. We are very pleased that we will be able to care for these three lovely otters. We can’t wait to welcome them to their new enclosure.”
Smooth-coated otters are slightly bigger than Eurasian otters and have a more rounded head and hairless nose. The tail is flattened, the legs are short and strong and they are named after their unusually short and sleek fur, which is dark to reddish brown on the back and light brown on the underside.
Hamish the pine marten was originally rescued in 2011 when he was found with his two sisters on a Scottish country estate after they were abandoned by their mother. They were sent to New Forest Wildlife Park and were hand-reared by staff so were unable to return to the wild. Hamish has been moved to the Chestnut Centre to give him a new environment and new enrichment activities to keep him stimulated. Ned the Asian short-clawed otter was lonely in his old home after his partner died, so he has been introduced to the family pen at Chestnut with fellow Asian short-clawed otters Lola and Narla, where he is settling in well.
Family fun is also on the cards at the Chestnut Centre this Easter school holidays with an Easter Egg Trail and quiz. There will also be creative crafts, animal encounters, keeper talks and more. The lovely spring flowers are coming out along the woodland trails and more fallow deer fawns are expected in the deer meadow in June.
The Chestnut Centre, in the beautiful Derbyshire High Peak District, is located in a natural woodland valley with a deer meadow and stream. Along the woodland trails you can see amazing animals such as giant otters, North American river otters, Eurasian otters and Asian short-clawed otters as well as fallow deer, polecats, a fox, pine marten, harvest mice and the very rare Scottish wildcat.
You’ll also find 15 different species of owls, including the snowy owl, barn owl, boobook owl, little owl, Eurasian eagle owl and burrowing owl.
You can follow the friendly and knowledgeable keepers on their feeding rounds, listen to talks about the daily lives and habits of the animals and birds, and find out more about how they are cared for. There’s a tempting tearoom and a well-stocked gift shop too.
See the website at www.chestnutcentre.co.uk for details and times of all special events, as well as for feeding sessions and keeper talks.
The Chestnut Centre is in Chapel-en-le-Frith, High Peak, Derbyshire SK23 0QS. Tel: 01298 814099; email firstname.lastname@example.org