Monday, 17 January 2022

West Midlands Safari Park

Another family day out and more exploring into the weird and wonderful world of 'Wildlife Parks' , this time West Midlands Safari Park. The prehistoric large mammal display is a clear highlight and the dinosaur display is one of the best we've visited too. These displays of incredible lost megafauna set the context of present day natural history and the threats to surviving megafauna which frames the park's captive breeding programs of extinct-in-the-wild and threatened species relevant, important and urgent.

The focus on ungulates, particularly antelopes and deer is a fascinating focus (quite an academic one presumably afforded by more populist attractions elsewhere in the park) and there is an incredible range of species including Ellipsen Waterbuck, Red Lechwe, Eland, Gemsbok, Barbary Sheep, Ankole Cow, Congo Buffalo, Cape Buffalo, Persian Fallow Deer, Eld's Deer, Axis Deer, Formosan Sika Deer, Blackbuck, Barasingha, Banteng, Bactrian Camel, Lowland Anoa, Philippine Spotted Deer, Pere David's Deer, Nilgai and domestic breeds of sheep too. 

What with Sea Lion shows, all the other classics (Penguins, Lions, Tigers etc), Reptile house, Aquarium and Bats plus a full on amusement park and roller coasters thrown in on the side, this is pretty mega place but not one to visit while simultaneously attempting to inspire your four year old with hybrid large gull identification. 

A lot of the deer groups were mixed up so not sure on the identification below (please jump in on any mistakes) 

Presumed hybrid adult Lesser black-backed x Herring Gull 
Red Lechwe
Pere David's Deer (Extinct in the wild)
Eld's Deer?
Axis Deer
Persian Fallow Deer ?
Phorusrhacos (Terror-bird) - 5 million years ago
Embolotherium (on right about 30 million years ago) and Chalicotherium (about 4 million years ago)
Playbeledon (left) the ancestor of elephants about 10 million years ago and Enteledont (aka Terror-pig) from 16 million years ago
Ice age animals, Woolly Mammoths, Cave Lions and Elasmotherium 

The ancestors of gulls proved more interesting than the gulls themselves to my other family members 

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