Thursday, August 21, 2008

Manatees - Coming to Western Britain!

One thing I have discovered is that whatever the Beast seen in Pembroke Dock is Manatees will be returning to the UK soon.

The National Wildlife Conservation Park is to be built on the outskirts of Bristol on a 136 acre site and is scheduled to open in 2012. It will feature a total of 12 exhibit areas, some of them inside or under cover, one reportd exhibit is "the Central American Swamp where visitors will walk through lush vegetation and around pools to catch a glimpse of the manatee, a spectacular aquatic mammal never before seen in a UK zoo." Other areas include Congo Tropical Forest, Sumatra Rainforest, and Indian Ocean Coral Reef and it hoped to have bonobos, okapis, Sumatran tigers, giraffes, zebra, orang-utans, Livingstone's fruit bats, gibbons, bears, wolves, cheetahs, black rhino and black tip reef sharks amongst other exotic animals. "In the Sumatra Rainforest exhibit (open in 2012) visitors will be able to step across a chasm caused by a seismic shift, listen to a troop of gibbons calling to each other as they swing through the trees, get close to Sumatran tigers via a transparent tiger tunnel and visit the exhibit's ranger station, built in the style of a Sumatran stilted longhouse, to find out about the Park's conservation project in Sumatra via video links." Another of these areas is British Ancient Woodland which will recreate a lost habitat of ancient Britain boasting once-native species such as brown bears, lynxes and wolves. "This exhibit is set within the Park's existing ancient woodland - home to native trees such as oak, birch, ash and beech as well as flowering plants such as bluebells, snowdrops, orchids, wild garlic, foxgloves and ferns. Visitors will be able to walk along a screened boardwalk in the woods to see these woodland animals at close quarters. At a later phase lynx and wolverine will be added to the exhibit."That sounds of interest.

[Note - looking more closely at the website although news reports in March 2008 mentioned a Manatee exhibit there is nothing on the site. Have the manatee been cancelled?]

Besides this I am increasingly inclined to think the Pembroke beast can hardly be a Manatee as I indicated before and is more likely to be a seal. Besides the fact it is too far to swim and too cold for Manatees in British waters there is another point as the reported creature is amphibious it can hardly be a manatee they spend their lives in the water.

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