European Bison helped by Fota

The good folk at Fota Wildlife Park have helped to relocate six European bison ( Europe’s largest land mammal and the European cousin of the American Buffalo ) to the wild in Romania.

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Water Access for Visitors to Fota Wildlife Park

Good news for Fota as it has been revealed that developments to Cork Habour will include providing water access for visitors to Fota Island Wildlife Park.

Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney said “I see Cork Harbour as Ireland’s greatest marine asset, as a natural harbour, and we have never used it to its full benefit, and we’re going to start doing that now”. He continued: “We are going to have an active harbour, which will be about more than angling and sailing out of places like Crosshaven. It is going to have other nodes of significant development, which everybody can buy into, which will be publicly owned, and that’s what I want to create,” he said.

Fota Island Wildlife Park Expansion will Extend Visitor Season

The €600,000 expansion at Fota Wildlife Park will result in a tourism boost for Cork as the opening season will be extended during the winter months. The expansion will make the park an weather facility.  Stephen Ryan who is head of marketing at Fota explained that “Unlike the existing unique open nature of the wildlife park, this proposed facility will provide the public with access to a series of additional indoor areas. which will be seen as a great benefit to tourists in cold and wet weather,” he said. Continue reading

New Animal Care and Conservation Centre at Fota Wildlife Park

Work has begun on a new Animal Care & Conservation Centre at Fota Wildlife Park that will house native and globally endangered species.

The project is supported by a significant investment by South and East Cork Area Development (SECAD) and will cost over €600,000 to develop onsite at Fota Wildlife Park

Head of Marketing at Fota Wildlife Park Stephen Ryan believes that this new facility could also prove beneficial to other tourism businesses in the East Cork area; he said “the new facility will extend our visitor season into the winter months and assist hotels in Cork etc. with marketing the Cork destination for winter breaks”.

Fota Wildlife Park is currently the most visited tourist attraction in the South West with 377,000 visitors in 2012 and research taken at the park has indication that the park has an annual economic benefit in the region of €167m to the Cork area.

Grant support of €200,000 is being provided by SECAD.

Baby Giraffe Video Clip

As we mentioned last week, Friday 10th august was a special week for visitors to Fota Island Wildlife Park with the appearance of not one but two baby giraffes. On what was one of the busiest days for the park, over 4,000 visitors showed up to see Blaithin and her three week old baby giraffe make its first debut, but instead were treated to a rare sighting of the live birth of a baby giraffe as well.
A live birth of any wild animal is rare indeed, never mind a giraffe, and its things like these unexpected arrivals that add an extra dimension to family visits to the wildlife park which always mixes educational with entertainment values. Whilst we all mightn’t have seen it, thankfully with smartphones and new technology such momentous events are happily recorded and uploaded for future viewing.

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Baby giraffes spring a surprise at memorable dayout at Fota Island Wildlife

It seems these last few weeks Fota Island Wildlife Park has been going through a baby boom of sorts. Just after we have mentioned the rare baby black and white ruffed lemur making an appearance at Fota recently, along came two more baby infants to Fota. This time the giraffe population has seen a jump in numbers as not one but two baby giraffes were born within three weeks of each other both making an impromptu joint appearance last Friday to the surprise of all.
Last Friday 10th august was billed as the day in which the three week offspring of Blaithin and Walda would be unveiled to the public, but things took an unexpected turn when another giraffe Sapphire decided to steal the limelight going into unexpected labour at 3pm in front of a massive crowd gathered at the African Savanna. Lucky guests gathered to see a giraffe calf were treated not only to the appearance of the new three week old baby but to the rare sighting of a live birth of the latest baby giraffe. The latest arrival was born at 4pm to the delight of the crowds who documented the action, uploading comments and images live to the parks Twitter feed, as it happened. As with all things on a visit to Fota, such as case with the baby ruffed lemur, who we now know is born in a nest, visitors left more educated and informed on wild animal habits as they got to see first hand how a giraffe gives birth: standing upright throughout with the newborn calf unceremoniously dropping 6ft to the ground. Continue reading

Clever strategy and ethos beats the recession

If ever there was a shining example of an organisation or company outwitting the recession, then Fota Island Wildlife Park would be it. A not-for-profit organisation which receives not subsidies from the Government, Fota Island Wildlife Park has reversed an initial recession led slump to gain new visitors and maintain regulars through a very clever and innovative series of park improvements and marketing strategies.

When the slump hit them in 2008, instead of cutting prices or tightening their belts, the wildlife park whose income goes to entirely to maintaining the welfare of the animals, decided to put in place measures that would attract new customers whilst keeping their loyal fanbase. Realising that families want to be entertained and need a fun and varied day out to keep returning, the Fota Island based wildlife park started investing in adding extra wow factor elements such as African drumming, magic shows, Easter egg hunts and Mother’s Day fairs as well offering family friendly face painting, arts and crafts and story telling services to their usual attractions. Continue reading