Wildlife Conservation Activities
We are committed to doing our bit to help the world's endangered animals, including species right here in the UK. Check our current and recent projects below and find out how you can get involved!
If you would like to get in touch about our conservation work please email email@example.com thank you.
Red Deer captured by wildlife camera
Our wildlife camera captured these incredible sightings of Red Deer at our conservation site in Grindleford throughout the day and night.
A rare visitor to Grindleford ...
Pied Flycatchers are small, black and white summer birds, a little smaller than a house sparrow, found in mature woodland, parks and gardens from April and May onwards.
You will be very lucky to spot one like this waiting on a perch for a chance to fly and catch insects in flight, they also search for insects on tree trunks and on the ground.
Males are mostly black and white below with a white patch on their wing, females are similar but are browner in colour.
Sadly this beautiful woodland bird is now classified in the UK as Red under the Birds of Conservation Concern 4: the Red List for Birds (2015).
Also spotted at Grindleford, can you guess what these are?
Photos copyright Craig Ridgeway
Dipper sets up home at Grindleford conservation site
We think this Dipper is making a home here at Grindleford as we noticed it's here all the time, bobbing up and down on the same few rocks heading upstream from the tube bridge to the old grit stone gate posts that are now a water course.
Thank you Craig for capturing the moment for us.
The results are in ... our 2019 butterfly survey
After 23 weeks of counting butterflies, we have completed our 2019 butterfly survey at our wildflower meadow.
Our beautiful wildflower meadow in South Yorkshire that we own purely for conservation purposes has seen over 70 different species of wildflowers bloom this year; 3 of which are orchids. This meadow is a great source of nectar for pollinating insects such as bumblebees, moths and of course butterflies!
2019 has been the year of the Painted Lady, a natural phenomenon that happens about once in a decade. Photo taken by Conservation Officer Helen during a survey.
We have seen a huge increase in the number of butterflies visiting our site from when we first got the land nearly 9 years ago. This year, we decided to start recording the numbers officially, by doing weekly walks of a transect line round the meadow and recording the numbers of different species we spot along the way. This will be a long-term project that happens every year between April and September, so that we can track the changes in both abundance and species diversity over time.
This chart shows the total abundance of butterflies that visited our meadow per week. July was the best month, as we counted 773 butterflies in that month alone.
Overall, we counted 1186 butterflies on our meadow, all during surveys that lasted about 30 minutes each week. This means we counted on average 17 butterflies every 10 minutes!
There were two weeks early on that had to be missed out due to very bad weather. This also occurred during the last few weeks of September, as there was torrential rain for weeks on end! This meant that the surveys were cut off a week too early, however the abundance numbers were significantly decreasing week after week, therefore not much harm has been done to the results.
The chart below shows the 8 most common species we counted this year, but we also had a few sightings of rarer species like the Small Copper and the Dark Green Fritillary. As you can see, we had a species that far out-weighed all the others, the Meadow Brown.
This year’s data has been uploaded to the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme (UKBMS) which tracks the changes of abundance and diversity of all species across the UK. The UKBMS annual report for 2019 is not published yet, but you can find 2018’s report here if interested UKBMS annual report 2018
A mating pair of Common Blues
Meet our Kestrel Family
Over the summer we’ve had five very special arrivals at the centre. Five kestrel chicks hatched in one of our many nest boxes around the Tropical Butterfly House wildlife park. Luckily it was a box that we had installed a camera in so we received daily updates on how the chicks were doing.
You can see the full story of them growing up here
5 days old
14 days old
20 days old
30 days old
The last time we saw the family was about a month ago, they were flying and hovering around the fields next to the centre. The chicks now look exactly like their parents!
Female kestrels are only able to produce eggs when they get enough food, therefore the number of voles in an area can significantly effect the success of a nest. Luckily, we have a large population of voles at the Tropical Butterfly House, so our female successfully laid and raised five chicks.
Rare second brood of Jackdaws on site
Here at the Tropical Butterfly House, we have a very large population of Jackdaws. They are famous for only laying one clutch of eggs in a year, but one of our breeding pairs in August this year has had a second brood, something which is extremely rare. Most bird ringers will go their whole life without seeing a second Jackdaw brood.
A chick from the second brood. Photo by bird ringer Dean.
Jackdaws are in the crow family, also known as corvids. Most corvids are renowned for being quite pesky, but they are extremely intelligent and have been seen making tools and using them to obtain food. Jackdaws are very sociable animals and can be found in fields, gardens, parks and woods. They roost communally in woodlands, along with rooks and carrion crows.
Butterfly surveys on South Yorkshire meadow going well!
Butterflies are in decline nationwide, and over the last four decades most butterfly species have decreased in abundance. This is not only sad news for butterflies but for the species that rely on them for a source of food.
One of the reasons for the decline in butterfly numbers is the loss of nectar sources such as wildflowers. Our South Yorkshire wildflower meadow has been carefully managed over the last 8 years and has turned from a grass dominant field to a meadow with just under fifty different wildflower species, including three naturally occurring orchid species.
Photo: Bee Orchid
All these flowers attract many species of butterfly, and starting in April this year we have begun doing weekly butterfly surveys which can be analysed later on in the year. So far, we have counted over 180 butterflies in total which includes 12 different species. The small copper butterfly is quite rare in the UK but this species is no stranger to our meadow.
Figure 1. The following chart shows week-by-week how many butterflies we are counting per survey. Each survey takes 20 minutes, which means there is an overall average of 1 butterfly counted every minute, and on week 11 alone there was an average of 4 butterflies counted every minute. The conditions must be ideal for a butterfly survey to be completed, which is why we have no data for week 3 and 9 due to very bad weather falling on these two weeks.
As you can see on the chart, numbers in the last 2 weeks have risen dramatically. We expect many more weeks similar to week 11 as different species start to emerge from the chrysalis. The majority of the counts so far have been the meadow brown butterfly, with orange tips and peacocks also being numerous. There have also been a handful of beautiful common blues.
Photo: Male Common Blue
By sowing a small patch of wildflower seeds in your garden you can help create ‘pollinator highways’ in urban areas! If you want to count the butterflies in your area, the Big Butterfly Count begins on 20 July which is a great fun activity to do with children.
Tawny owl chicks found in nest box in Derbyshire
Since putting up our Derbyshire nest boxes in January this year, the number of occupants already is astonishing. Usually the results from the first year of brand-new nest boxes are not overly exciting, but our fantastic bird ringers Dean and Paul have already recorded over 61 blue/great tit chicks, 9 mandarin duck eggs, and 2 tawny owl chicks!
A number of the chicks already found have been ringed, but some are too young therefore Dean and Paul will return at the right developmental stage to ring the others.
Bird ringing is very important for both national and international records of population survival and migration. The first record of ringing in Britain was back in 1909, and it is estimated by the British Trust for Ornithology that one million birds are ringed by registered volunteers every year in Britain and Ireland alone.
Improvements made to Derbyshire conservation site
Our beautiful plot of land in Derbyshire is starting to come into bloom and we are very excited about the variety of wildlife that will emerge in the next few months. In previous years, the meadow was heavily grazed which reduced the biodiversity of the area. It will be very interesting to find out what wildflowers flourish over spring and summer.
There is a large herd of red deer that visit the site most mornings. They are quite shy so photographing them takes a lot of patience! Thank you Richard for this beautiful shot.
Image courtesy of Richard Paksi
We have put up 49 bird boxes around the site to encourage owls, kestrels, tree creepers and many more. Lets hope we get inhabitants!
There is also a newly created ‘nectar belt’ of wildflowers for ground nesting birds such as plovers and lapwings.It may look a little unattractive right now but this habitat type is vital for the survival of many bird species.
In addition to this, we have improved the site for dog walkers and ramblers with bridge and path maintenance. We hope to keep improving the land for the benefit of local wildlife but we are refraining from any more practical land management until autumn when the animals have stopped breeding and rearing any young.
Wader scrape at Dinnington colliery site
Located only a few miles away from the Tropical Butterfly House is the Dinnington colliery birdwatching site, known by some as the North Anston Pit Top (NAPT).
Once a site of heavy industry, the area is now a space for people and wildlife. A diverse range of habitats covering 35 hectares continues to attract birds year after year.
The SK58 Birders are a local birdwatching group, set up in 1992, that observe and record bird sightings all year round. The Dinnington colliery is one of their main sites to observe many species including yellow wagtail, barn owl and kingfisher. They work alongside The Conservation Volunteers who manage the site.
The wader scrape which was created for wading birds to feed on had become overgrown and unsuitable, with no breeding plovers there for two years. Some of our team at the Tropical Butterfly House volunteered to come and help the SK58 Birders by using our machinery to scrape off the vegetation. You may be thinking that we have just created a muddy field, but wading birds such as ringed plovers, lapwings, redshanks, and snipes would have all been under threat if this habitat type had not been introduced.
Head down to the colliery with a pair of binoculars and see what you can find!
Image courtesy of Mick Clay
Bird box maintenance for spring arrivals
We have over 130 bird boxes here at the Tropical Butterfly House, dotted around the whole centre. As you can imagine, cleaning this many boxes is a big job, but you may be thinking, why do you have to clean them out at all?
The reason we do is because nesting material from past years can harbour ectoparasites such at mites, which can deter some birds from occupying the nest. The box may also become too full of old nesting material and therefore leave this year’s nest too close to the entrance hole, making it easier for predators to reach the eggs.
Whilst cleaning out our boxes we found a variety of nesting material that sparrows and tits have used to protect their eggs over the last two years, including fur from our Shetland pony Corrie, and many feathers from our parrots, peacocks and guinea fowl. Nearly every box had a nest made from a different material!
If you want to clean your bird box at home you must remember that Bird Protection Law permits that this can only to happen between 1st September and 31st January, so that you do not disturb any nesting birds. Make sure you wear gloves and a dust mask to protect yourself from any fungal spores or parasites living in the nest.
By visiting us you help conserve British wildlife
Did you know? The Tropical Butterfly House owns 46.5 acres of land purely to conserve British wildlife.
A percentage of the admission price you pay to visit the centre goes into the management and upkeep of this land and makes purchasing wildflower seeds and birdboxes possible. Some animals that have been spotted at these sites include large herds of red deer, barn owls, grass snakes and a huge abundance of native butterflies.
We have 3 sites in Nottinghamshire, South Yorkshire and Derbyshire dedicated to improving habitats for a variety of species, read more about them below!
Our Nottinghamshire site contains lowland heath which is considered a priority for nature conservation because it is a rare and threatened habitat. Because of this it requires very careful management and specialised machinery use.
Species spotted at this site include buzzards, great spotted woodpeckers and many insects including butterflies and bumblebees. Insects are in such abundance at this site that if you walk through the grass during summer, a wave of grasshoppers jump away from you! Many bird boxes have been installed, including barn owl, tawny owl, and little owl boxes.
The plot of land we have managed for the longest amount of time is a limestone grassland meadow in South Yorkshire, close to the centre. Limestone grassland is an extremely species rich habitat type and is vital for the conservation of wildflowers and insects, both of which have declined in abundance since agricultural industrialisation. Kestrels and nuthatches have been recorded nesting at this site year after year and two species of orchid appeared shortly after management of the land began.
We are proud to say that the abundance of butterflies on site has increased drastically since management began as long-term declines of butterflies have been seen nationwide.
Our largest site is in Derbyshire and it contains a mixture of many great habitat types for wildlife; hillside grassland, wet meadow, extremely old oak trees, springs, streams and bogs and many old dry-stone walls which are fantastic houses for bugs!
Many bird boxes and a handful of bat boxes have been installed including barn and tawny owl boxes. There have been frequent sightings of red and roe deers, kingfishers and dippers and we have also found evidence of badgers and water voles using the site.
Thank you for visiting the Tropical Butterfly House as by doing so you are contributing to the conservation of native animals!
Latest Fundraising Activities
We are committed to doing our bit to help the world's endangered animals, including species right here in the UK. Check our current and recent projects below and find out how you can get involved!
If you would like to request a donation in support of your own fundraising efforts, please send your request on letter-headed paper. Please note that we receive a high volume of requests of this nature and review each on an individual basis; we give priority to those causes which reflect our commitment to the care and conservation of wildlife.
If you would like to get in touch about fundraising please email firstname.lastname@example.org thank you.
How you help raise vital funds for the Hawk Conservancy Trust
Did you know? Between 2015-2019 through the sales of wristbands alone you helped us raise £12,831.25 for the Hawk Conservancy Trust.
Tropical Butterfly House manager and curator Andrew Reeve and Kerry Ladds from our Animal and Bird Team recently attended the Hawk Conservancy Trust International Vulture Programme (IVP) Conference to talk about our fundraising for this amazing but critically endangered bird. They spoke of their personal inspirations and their passion for enthusing future generations about the importance of this vital work.
Zulu our vulture came to us from the Hawk Conservancy Trust, see him in action during our free flying bird displays.
We're inspiring future generations. We love to entertain and our themed events, from the enchanted fairy forest to halloween, are a great way for us to interact with you our audience and get everyone involved. Daily shows such as our free flying bird and animal displays help raise vital funds for endangered animals but as importantly help us inspire future generations to care for our environment and the animals who share it with us.
Money raised for endangered Madagascan species
The Tropical Butterfly House, Wildlife & Falconry Centre in North Anston, Sheffield, would like to thank visitors for raising £1156 in donations for the Madagascar Fauna & Flora Group (MFG).
The MFG are a dedicated group whose main aim is to conserve the native species of Madagascar. One of these species is the lemur, 94% of which, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), are threatened with extinction, making lemurs the world's most endangered mammals.
The money raised goes towards funding two rangers, Flavien, who works as an instructor within education department and as a keeper, and Arsene, who not only patrols the reserves, but works with local communities, especially with the reforestation of Betampona's Zone of Protection project. Ingrid Porton is the Vice Chair of Research & Conservation for the MFG, “We are immensely grateful to the Tropical Butterfly House and their visitors for supporting the conservation activities of the Madagascar Fauna and Flora Group. Through meeting and learning more about lemurs, visitors are directly enabling Flavien to continue teaching Malagasy children about lemurs and Arsene to work with local communities to protect the eleven lemur species that inhabit Betampona Natural Reserve.”
Andrew Reeve is the Tropical Butterfly House’s Zoo Curator, and Centre Manager, “We are incredibly proud to raise money for this vital cause each year. This is all thanks to the generosity of our visitors who make donations, and purchase wristbands after our daily free flying bird and animal displays from February to April 2018, including over our Dinosaurs February half term event, and our Mad About Madagascar Easter holidays event. Visitors should feel proud to know that they are making a difference to help prevent the extinction of animals in Madagascar.” The Tropical Butterfly House is open daily, located just five minutes from the M1, junction 31, with free parking. See www.butterflyhouse.co.uk to plan your visit.
Wishing well money donated to aid bird conservation
The coins from the beautiful wishing well at the Tropical Butterfly House, Wildlife & Falconry Centre, have been painstakingly counted, and donated to Sorby Breck Ringing Group, to aid the conservation of native bird species. £1,684.80 was the final count, in coins, donated from visitors via the wishing well over the last 5 years.
Since 2012, Chris Lilley, a volunteer bird ringer from Sorby Breck Ringing Group, who holds a British Trust for Ornithology bird ringing permit, has regularly visited the wildlife centre throughout the year. Ringing birds is essential to learn about how long they live, and when and where they move, questions that are vital for bird conservation. Chris Lilley catches wild birds using mist nets, then places a uniquely numbered metal ring on a leg of each bird. He also places rings on the nestlings of bird’s in the 100+ bird boxes around the wildlife centre.
During the last 5 years rings have been placed on a whopping 1,340 birds caught in mist nets, and 772 nestlings, of which 863 have been re-caught, including several birds ringed elsewhere. The Tropical Butterfly House, Wildlife & Falconry Centre, is one of only 6 locations in the UK, where Tree Sparrows survival rates are regularly monitored.
Joanne McDonough, Operations Manager at the Tropical Butterfly House, Wildlife & Falconry Centre, said, “We are very grateful to Chris, and the Sorby Breck Ringing Group, who voluntarily donate their time to help gather vital information for bird conservation. The recent snow storms show how easily bird numbers can suddenly drop, and we need to do whatever we can to help, in the hope that no more animal species become extinct.” The Sorby Breck Ringing Group, which covers NE Derbyshire and part of South Yorkshire, finance their activities through subscriptions and donations, the Tropical Butterfly House, Wildlife & Falconry Centre’s wishing well donation will help the ringing group to continue monitoring bird populations to aid conservation efforts.
World Crocodile Day
Did you know that Gharial crocodiles are close to extinction in the wild?!
It's World Crocodile Day! World Crocodile Day is to highlight the plight of endangered crocodiles and alligators around the world.
Did you know that Gharial crocodiles are close to extinction in the wild?! Last year the Tropical Butterfly House, Wildlife & Falconry Centre raised £1,100 for the Gharial Conservation Alliance.
The money raised helps to stem the decline of these amazing creatures by focusing on habitat protection, enforcement of protected areas, education, and cooperation with local people.
Thank you so much to all of our visitors who donate money to these vital causes, for animals who can't help themselves, or speak up for themselves... we must do this for them, we don't want to see any more animals become extinct!
????: Caimans Darwin and Pedro in the Butterfly House (alligatorid crocodilians)
Bird superstars raise vital funds for charities
There are lots of amazing animals at the Tropical Butterfly House, however it’s the free flying birds who have stolen the show of late.
The wildlife centre’s fantastic Bird Team have trained the resident birds to free fly simultaneously, making the displays an impressive sight! Birds in the display often include the centre’s star red and green macaws Alfie and Kato, blue and gold macaws Delta and Echo, Hahn’s macaws Che and Estaban, and kites Jet, Sonic and Rogue.
Kerry Ladds, Senior Animal Keeper (Birds) at the popular wildlife attraction; “At the end of our free flying bird & animal displays, many visitors have either given a donation, or purchased a wristband for charity. Altogether a whopping £7,645 has been raised so far this year, and all of the staff at the Tropical Butterfly House would like to thank visitors for their generosity. It really makes a difference to animals in the wild” £2,370 has been raised for the World Parrot Trust, which will contribute to groundbreaking field research, hands-on conservation programs, habitat protection, education and awareness programs, encouragement of better protections for parrots, and supporting the rescue, rehabilitation and release of parrots caught in illegal trade. £2,213 has gone to the Hawk Conservancy Trust’s International Vulture Programme (IVP); the IVP focuses efforts on the research and conservation of vultures, 5 of which are now sadly critically endangered. £1,562 has been raised for the SWCC Hedgehog Hospital, which rehabilitates and releases orphaned, injured, sick, or underweight hedgehogs back in to the wild.
£1,000 has been sent to the Gharial Conservation Alliance, which aims to stem the decline of gharial crocodiles by focusing on habitat protection, enforcement of protected areas, education, and cooperation with local people, as Gharial crocodiles are sadly close to extinction in the wild. Visitors keen on crocodiles can see two caiman crocodiles at the Tropical Butterfly House, and may be able to meet Jackson, the baby American alligator during the daily exotic animal encounters.
Finally, £500 has been raised for local wildlife charities; £250 to the SK58 Birders Group, which is an active local bird society who record and monitor the areas birds, and £250 to Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust, which protects and enhances the environment of Sheffield and Rotherham for the benefit of people and wildlife.
Photo includes (from left to right): Red and green macaws called Alfie and Kato with Kerry Ladds, black kite called Shadow with Sophie Wadsworth, African spotted eagle owl called Jester with Sophie Roberts, and Blue and gold macaws called Delta and Echo with Clara Cranstoun.
Baby Alligator arrives at the Tropical Butterfly House
The Alligator is an American Alligator on loan from the UK’s only Crocodile Zoo, Crocodiles of the World.
The Tropical Butterfly House are now raising money for the Chinese Alligator Fund, and the Gharial’s Conservation Alliance’s Gharial Ecology Project, click read more to find out more information...
The Alligator is an American Alligator on loan from the UK’s only Crocodile Zoo, Crocodiles of the World. It has been named Jackson after the US state capital of Mississippi where American Alligators are commonly found in the wild.
American Alligators can live up to around 35-50 years old in the wild (60-80 years in captivity), and can grow to up to just over 12 feet long! Jackson is just 2 years old, and only 16 inches long at the moment. Visitors will be able to meet Jackson during some of the twice daily Exotic Animal Encounters, along with lots of other amazing creatures including Snakes, Insects, Lizards, and adorable Hedgehog-like Tenrec.
There are only 2 species of Alligators in the world; the Chinese Alligator, and the American Alligator. The Chinese Alligator is sadly critically endangered in the wild. The Tropical Butterfly House are now raising money through the sale of wristbands for the Chinese Alligator Fund. The fund aims to secure and improve existing habitats, continue the Chinese Alligator breeding programme, and set up education, and ecotourism projects.
The Tropical Butterfly House has an array of reptiles on display in the Butterfly House and Nocturnal Room, including 2 adult Caiman Crocodiles.
There are 23 species of Crocodiles in the world, 6 of which are critically endangered in the wild, including the Gharial Crocodile. The Tropical Butterfly House are now raising money through the sale of wristbands for the Gharial’s Conservation Alliance’s Gharial Ecology Project. The projects aim is to stem the decline of Gharials by focusing on habitat protection, enforcement of protected areas, education, and cooperation with local people.
£1,242 raised for SWCC Hedgehog Hospital
Thank you to visitors for raising vital funds for sick and orpaned hedgehogs
The Tropical Butterfly House would like to thank visitors for raising £1,242 for the SWCC Hedgehog Hospital!
The Hospital admit nearly 600 hedgehogs a year
The hedgehogs are brought in by members of the public and are either orphaned, injured, sick or underweight, they are then nurtured back to health, and released back into the wild
A single hedgehog can cost the Hospital £100+ if an x-ray and small operation is required, therefore donations like this are vital!
The funds were raised from the sale of Tropical Butterfly House wristbands at the end of the twice daily Animal & Bird Displays this autumn
Click here to read more about the Hospital
The Tropical Butterfly House do not currently look after any hedgehogs however hedgehog-like tenrec can be handled on the Exotic Animals Experience (£34.95 including admission)
£4,910 raised for critically endangered Vultures
The Tropical Butterfly House, Wildlife & Falconry Centre in North Anston, Sheffield would like to thank visitors for raising £4,910 in donations for the Hawk Conservancy Trust’s International Vulture Programme (IVP)
The Tropical Butterfly House, Wildlife & Falconry Centre in North Anston, Sheffield would like to thank visitors for raising £4,910 in donations for the Hawk Conservancy Trust’s International Vulture Programme.
In July last year, the Hawk Conservancy Trust kindly donated an African White-backed Vulture named Zulu to the centre. Now 3 years old, Zulu shares an enclosure with Marley the Mynah Bird, and two Von Der Decken’s Hornbills named Bill and Vonda. Zulu is hugely popular with staff due to his gentle nature; he can be seen running after staff, appearing to help them clean his enclosure!
Zulu has since been trained to star in the centre’s Animal and Bird Displays, taking place at 12:30pm and 14:45pm daily. Zulu is an incredible and rare sight to see as only a few wildlife centres in the UK have an endangered Vulture in their displays.
The impressive £4,910 was raised during the Animal and Bird Displays over the centres Amazing Animals Superheroes summer event. The Tropical Butterfly House and the Hawk Conservancy Trust would like to thank visitors for their generosity.
Zulu is an ambassador for the International Vulture Programme run by the Hawk Conservancy Trust in Southern Africa and South Asia. The conservation and research work of these programmes covers six vulture species, including the African White-backed Vulture.
The African White-backed Vulture species has undergone a rapid decline in the wild owing to habitat loss and conversion to agro-pastoral systems, declines in wild ungulate populations, hunting for trade, persecution, collisions and poisoning.
This decline has a devastating effect; diseases such as rabies and bubonic plague, for which dogs and rats respectively are the primary source of, may increase as a consequence of vulture declines. Wildlife and livestock could also be at increased risk from dog and ratborne pathogens.
In India, rising cases of human anthrax due to handling infected carcasses or consuming poorly cooked meat of infected livestock are believed to be linked to the precipitous decline of vultures.
Sadly this year Zulu’s species has been upgraded from endangered to critically endangered which makes this funding all the more important.
Andrew Reeve is the Centre Manager and Curator at the popular wildlife attraction “We are hugely grateful to our visitors for raising this money, they can be confident that their money is going to make a real difference to this important cause. The Hawk Conservancy Trust are doing great work in monitoring and investigating aspects of Vulture ecology. They have started work on an anti-poisoning strategy in South Africa and a large part of the money raised will go towards supplying and distributing poison response kits, and related training”
£161.85 raised for the Jane Goodall Institute
On Bank Holiday Monday 29th August 2016, we had a very special visitor!
The Gorilla Guy was here! Visitors donated a minimum of £1 to have a photo with him, raising vital funds for the Jane Goodall Institute; a charity dedicated to the preservation of chimpanzees and their habitats.
The Gorilla Guy is a performer within a "Hollywood standard" animatronics Gorilla suit that is of such high quality it’s hard to tell that he’s not a real life Gorilla!
Visitors to the Tropical Butterfly House met the Gorilla Guy on Bank Holiday Monday 29th August 2016 in the Wilderness Walk-through, which opened last year and contains Wallaby, Mara and Agouti.
Visitors donated a minimum of £1 to have a photo with him, raising vital funds for the Jane Goodall Institute; a charity dedicated to the preservation of chimpanzees and their habitats.
Altogether £161.85 was raised, £136.85 from members of the public, and £25 from the Gorilla Guy himself! The money will go towards much needed items such as baby formula and bananas for infant and adult chimpanzees.
The Tropical Butterfly House would like to thank everybody who donated to this amazing charity.
£3,050 raised for the Madagascar Fauna & Flora Group
Beating last years total!
The Madagascar Fauna & Flora Group (MFG) are a dedicated group whose main aim is to conserve the native species of Madagascar. One of these animals is the lemur, approximately 16% of lemur species are considered to be critically endangered in the wild, therefore action is vital.
For more information on the work that the MFG do, please click here.
The Tropical Butterfly House are proud to raise money for this great cause each year in the daily free flying bird and animal displays, and would like to thank visitors for raising this money.
£768.67 raised for SWCC Hedgehog Hospital
Approximately 600 orphaned, injured, sick or underweight hedgehogs are admitted to the SWCC Hedgehog Hospital every year!
The Tropical Butterfly House, Wildlife & Falconry Centre, and Shepreth Wildlife Conservation Charity (SWCC) would like to thank visitors of the Tropical Butterfly House for raising £768.67 in donations for the SWCC Hedgehog Hospital.
The SWCC Hedgehog Hospital admitted 562 hedgehogs from April 2014 - March 2015, an increase of 155 from the previous year. They are expecting to have admitted nearly 600 hedgehogs in this financial year. The hedgehogs are brought in by members of the public and are either orphaned, injured, sick or underweight. They are then nurtured back to health at the hospital, and released back into the wild.
A single hedgehog can cost the Hospital in excess of £100 if an x-ray and small operation is required, therefore donations like this are vital.
The Tropical Butterfly House raised the funds over their annual Santa, Elves & Sleigh Bells Christmas event, where visitors generously donated at the end of the centre’s daily Animal and Bird Shows. The centre do not currently look after any hedgehogs themselves however they do have tenrec, which resemble hedgehogs and can be handled on the Exotic Animals VIP Experience.
£2,665 raised for the Hawk Conservancy Trust
For vital International Vulture Programme
The centre would like to thank visitors for raising £2,665 in donations for the Hawk Conservancy Trust’s International Vulture Programme (IVP)
Back in July this year, the Hawk Conservancy Trust donated an African White-backed Vulture named Zulu to the centre.
Two year old Zulu is hugely popular with staff due to his gentle nature. He can be seen running after staff and trying to help them clean his enclosure which he shares with Alfie the Turkey Vulture, and two new residents, the Von Der Decken’s Hornbills named Bill and Vonda.
Zulu was also very popular with Emmerdale actor Cain Dingle (played by Jeff Hordley) who was the first member of the public to hold Zulu (pictured) when visiting the centre with his family this summer.
Zulu has since been trained to star in the centre’s Animal and Bird Shows, taking place at 12:30pm and 14:45pm daily, including during the Santa, Elves & Sleigh Bells Christmas event shows. The centre expects the shows to be very popular as they are one of only a few centres in the UK which has an endangered Vulture in their shows, and they are an amazing and rare sight.
The African White-backed Vulture species has undergone a rapid decline in the wild owing to habitat loss and conversion to agro-pastoral systems, declines in wild ungulate populations, hunting for trade, persecution, collisions and poisoning. This decline has a devastating effect; diseases such as rabies and bubonic plague, for which dogs and rats respectively are the primary reservoirs, may increase as a consequence of vulture declines. Wildlife and livestock could also be at increased risk from dog and ratborne pathogens. In India, rising cases of human anthrax due to handling infected carcasses or consuming poorly cooked meat of infected livestock are believed to be linked to the precipitous decline of vultures.
Zulu is an ambassador for the IVP run by the Hawk Conservancy Trust and supported by a growing international partnership of supporters. This programme supports and operates a range of programmes in southern Africa and South Asia. The conservation and research work of these programmes covers six vulture species, including the African White-backed Vulture. Andrew Reeve is the Centre Manager and Curator at the popular wildlife attraction “We are hugely grateful to our visitors for raising this money, they can be confident that their money is going to make a real difference to this important cause. The Hawk Conservancy Trust are doing great work in monitoring and investigating aspects of Vulture ecology. They have started work on an anti-poisoning strategy in South Africa and a large part of the money raised will go towards supplying and distributing poison response kits, and related training”
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Arachnophobe Charlotte Burke-Sheen has Tarantula on her head
Charlotte completed a Face Your Fears challenge of holding a Chilean Rose Tarantula to raise money for mental health charity Mind.
On Saturday 5th September 2015 visitor Charlotte Burke-Sheen completed a Face Your Fears challenge of holding a Chilean Rose Tarantula to raise money for mental health charity Mind.
Charlotte was so scared of spiders she has previously slept in her car to avoid one!
Not only did she hold Rosy the Tarantula in her hand, but she was also brave enough to have Rosy on her head!
Charlotte has raised more than £200 for the charity so far, 200% of her target.
Further donations can be made on her justgiving page: https://www.justgiving.com/tarantula-terror/
Louise Larcombe, is the Marketing Manager at the wildlife attraction voted the no. 1 thing to do in Sheffield on Tripadvisor “We were all really surprised and in awe of Charlotte when she asked if she could have Rosy the Chilean Rose Tarantula on her head! Charlotte was visibly shaking on arrival and backed away from Rosy when she was placed a metre away from her, so the transformation was amazing to see. I think Rosy has helped Charlotte with her Arachnophobia”
Face Your Fears experiences at the centre cost just £30 per person including park entry: https://www.butterflyhouse.co.uk/vip_experiences.php
If visitors aren’t feeling brave enough to hold Rosy the Tarantula, they can instead hold a snake, lizard, bearded dragon, tenric (similar to hedgehogs), tortoises etc.
The Hawk Conservancy Trust
We're raising money for the Hawk Conservancy Trust who genereously donated Zulu our African White-backed Vulture to us on 29th July 2015.
We're raising money for the Hawk Conservancy Trust's International Vulture Programme which operates in Africa and South Asia.
It covers six species:
- African White-backed Vulture (classified as endangered)
- White-headed Vulture (classified as vulnerable)
- Hooded Vulture (classified as endangered)
- Lappet-faced Vulture (classified as vulnerable)
- Oriental White-backed Vulture (classified as critically endangered)
- Long-billed Vulture (classified as critically endangered)
Vultures form an important ecological component of our natural environment, cleaning up carcasses and decreasing the spread of diseases.
Positioned at the top of the food chain, vultures are an indicator of the health of the environment below them.
Today, vultures face an unprecedented onslaught from human activities such as electrocutions and collisions with electrical structures, poisoning, land-use changes, a decrease in food availability and exposure to toxicity through veterinary drugs, just to name a few.
Fundraising efforts go towards the purchase of tracking tags, fieldwork and research costs, survey expenses, and for a conservation breeding facility.
More than £1,000 has been raised so far.
For more information on this programme pelase click here: https://www.hawk-conservancy.org/ivp/index.asp
£2,987 raised for endangered Madagascan animals
We're proud to have raised £2,987 in 2015 for the Madagascan Fauna & Flora Group! Thank you to visitors for raising these vital funds...
The Madagascan Fauna & Flora Group (MFG) is a consortium of international zoos, aquariums, botanical gardens and universities who work in partnership with the Malagasy Government on conservation strategies for the fauna and flora of eastern Madagascar.
What they do...
They work with multiple partners to reduce the threat of invasive species, propagate endangered tree species for habitat restoration, monitor frog populations for chytrid fungus, patrol Betampona to monitor and report
Their research is aimed at gaining a deeper understanding of the complex interrelationships of ecosystem processes, species' ecological needs and anthropogenic disturbances in order to guide conservation strategies.
Their Saturday School program prepares primary school children to advance to secondary school while also learning about nature; week-long camps introduce older children to environmental concepts through tours and activities in Parc Ivoloina and we raise environmental awareness through multiple venues.
They mentor undergraduate and graduate students, teach classes and hold workshops that provide targeted hands-on training in a variety of disciplines, work with farmers to improve the quality and quantity of food they produce and teachers to incorporate active learning strategies.
The Tropical Butterfly House and its visitors are proud to raise funds every year for this great cause.
Comic Relief - Red Nose Day 2015
We raised money for Comic Relief by having a sleepover in the Tropical House on Friday the 13th!
We also dressed up in animal onesies with our red noses on Saturday 14th March.
On Friday the 13th staff at the Tropical Butterfly House, Wildlife & Falconry Centre dared to sleepover in the Tropical Butterfly House!
They were accompanied by flying bats, noisy frogs, curious birds, scary spiders, and fluttering butterflies.
Not much sleep was had that night!
On the Saturday staff pretended to be animals for the day!
They dressed up in animal onesies and outfits, with painted faces, and red noses, and lived like animals throughout the day. Duty Manager Tony Butler even got in with the Crocodiles!
£437.96 was raised in total!
The Ara Project
We're supporting the Ara Project - a charity trying to protect the long term future of Costa Rica's beautiful Great Green Macaws and Scarlet Macaws, with the help of two of our adorable trained parrots!
Our two Hahn's Macaw brothers, Ché and Esteban, are working hard during our Bird Shows to help their wild cousins in Costa Rica by collecting donations for the Ara Project. These two tiny parrots have been trained to gently take coins (and notes!) from your fingertips - so as well as the amazing feeling you get from donating to such a worthy cause, you also get a really memorable close encounter.
Costa Rica's Macaws have declined in numbers as a result of deforestation (for logging and agriculture), in-country illegal pet trading, and some are even killed deliberately for food, feathers, or even just because they are considered pests for destroying crops grown in areas that used to be their homes.
It's estimated that there are now only 35 breeding pairs of Great Green Macaws left in Costa Rica, and a total wild population of only around 1000. The Ara Project breed and release both Great Green Macaws, and Scarlet Macaws (whose numbers have also dramatically declined), as well as monitor and support wild populations, engage members of the public and educate visitors about the importance of Macaw conservation.
Head Bird Trainer and Presenter, Heather Scott, volunteered at the Ara Project for 6 weeks in February 2015.
Sponsored head shave raises record amount for VulPro
Bird trainer, Jus Lig, set a challenge - if £5000 could be raised for VulPro to help save endangered Cape Vultures by International Vulture Awareness Day... she would shave her hair off! Well, we did it...
The Tropical Butterfly House, Wildlife and Falconry Centre started a fundraising campaign three months ago and has now raised a record amount for VulPro, a charity based in South Africa working to protect critically endangered vultures. A fundraising evening in August raised £1220, bringing the total raised so far to £6400!
Bird trainer, Justine Lig, is particularly passionate about the cause, and came up with the idea that she could shave her head on International Vulture Awareness Day, 6th September, if they reached a target of £5000 in sponsorship and donations and is reported to be overwhelmed to have reached and exceeded the target so early. The team, which also includes Ben Coulson and Heather Scott, organised a Vulture Fundraising Evening which included a variety of live entertainment and a popular charity auction.
Justine herself also did a Poi performance to music, after which Zoo Curator and Manager, Andrew Reeve, announced a big surprise; “In recognition of Justine’s passion for the conservation of vultures, her hard work and amazing fundraising efforts, the park’s owner is funding a two week trip to VulPro in South Africa so that she can volunteer with the team and help practically with the work they are doing too.”
During daily free-flying Bird Displays, the team have also been fundraising with the help of two tiny Hahn’s Macaw brothers, Ché and Esteban, who take donations from the fingertips of audience members, and have been selling charity wristbands.
Kerri Wolter, founder of VulPro, is thrilled with the amount raised and the enthusiasm of the Tropical Butterfly House team; “Justine’s passion and commitment to help with the work we are doing is inspiring to me personally as well as to VulPro. We hope others will be inspired to know that one person’s efforts really can make a difference in the world. Vultures are very misunderstood and underappreciated so raising awareness in such a unique and brave way is brilliant to help conservation efforts. We are extremely grateful to Justine and look forward to working with her here in Africa.”
On Saturday 6th September, crowds gathered to see Justine's friends and colleagues, Ben and Heather, wield the clippers. At 12.30pm, Justine was given a Mohican (which she very much enjoyed!) and later the same day, had the rest shaved off. The team at the Tropical Butterfly House are immensely proud!
The amount raised will fund the construction of a new aviary for VulPro’s ninety unreleasable vultures, as well as the ongoing monitoring and research projects and expanding Cape Vulture breeding programme.
The Cape Vulture (Gyps coprotheres) is classified as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List with an estimated population of 8,000 (https://www.iucnredlist.org/details/22695225/0) however VulPro’s research this year suggests the population is much lower, at approximately 3,700 and rapidly declining.
Vultures are suffering a rate of decline thought to be faster than that of the Dodo and some species, such as the Cape Vulture, face extinction by 2020 without drastic measures to protect them. One of the biggest threats to vultures is a veterinary drug, Diclofenac, which is widely used to treat cattle, but is fatal to vultures who consume the carcasses of animals treated with it that do not survive. Lead poisoning, culling for use of vulture body parts in traditional medicines and collisions with and electrocutions from power lines are other major reasons for declining vulture populations. A more modern threat is that of poachers, who deliberately poison the carcasses of elephants and rhinos that they have killed in order to kill the vultures too, in an attempt to stop circling vultures alerting the authorities to their illegal activities.
The Tropical Butterfly House recently celebrated 20th anniversary and attracts almost 100,000 visitors a year.
The Tropical Butterfly House, Wildlife and Falconry Centre is a member of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA). BIAZA represents its member collections and promotes the values of good zoos and aquariums. For further information, please telephone 020 1449 6351.