Baby boom! Flying start as exotic birds arrive at Shorelands Wildlife Gardens

Shorelands Wildlife Gardens have anumber or rare birds successfully breeding for the first time. The

Shorelands Wildlife Gardens have anumber or rare birds successfully breeding for the first time. The Nursery and Gardens are run by Ben Potterton.Ben with a Sarus Crane. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016

It is a wildlife garden which prides itself on its collection of rare species and conservation work. And Shorelands Wildlife Gardens in Dickleburgh, near Diss, is celebrating after a bumper crop of baby birds have been born – with plenty more busy nesting.

Shorelands Wildlife Gardens have anumber or rare birds successfully breeding for the first time. The

Shorelands Wildlife Gardens have anumber or rare birds successfully breeding for the first time. The Nursery and Gardens are run by Ben Potterton. A Cabot's tragopan pheasant - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016

Already the wildlife centre, which looks after more than 70 different species, has welcomed birds including cygnets, white storks and blue crane chicks, in addition to Philippine deer, freckled ducks and hadada ibis.

But it is a bird from south-east China that has really pleased staff at the gardens.

The Cabot's tragopan pheasant have bred for the first time at the gardens. With their orange and cream spotted feathers the bird is popular among visitors. But the pheasants are rare in captivity and are managed by a European breeding programme because the wild population is believed to be endangered. Shorelands is now eagerly waiting for the eggs to hatch.

Ben Potterton, from Shorelands, said: 'It is nice for our staff to have successful breeding here because they put a lot of hours in. I am very proud of the work our staff and volunteers put in. Our wildlife gardens are quite small and we therefore have to concentrate on the rarer or more unusual species.


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'Working with our European zoo colleagues and in particular zoos in the Czech Republic we are able to cooperate in smaller breeding programmes and import captive bred animals that are not often seen in Britain as they are not the usual crowd-pullers.'

Another first for Shorelands is the arrival of piping hornbills. The birds are usually found in central and west Africa and although common in those areas the population is decreasing. The hornbills, the only ones in Britain, arrived from the Zlin Zoo in the Czech Republic as part of a coordinated breeding programme between Czech and German zoos. They will be bred next year.

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Over the summer Shorelands will be adding additional enclosures and a new area to house Asian species such as endangered Visayan pigs, white-naped cranes and Bali Starlings.

The gardens are open Wednesday- to Sunday and Bank Holidays from 10am-5pm. See www.shorelands.org.uk

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