Natasha Balletta Photography | A Day Trip to Chester Zoo, Elephants and Andean Bear Cub

A Day Trip to Chester Zoo, Elephants and Andean Bear Cub

If you are visiting Chester and are a wildlife lover, I can thoroughly recommend Chester Zoo, it is one of the largest zoos in the UK and has 15,000 animals. In 2017 it was voted the third world's best zoo by Tripadvisor and when you visit you will understand why, they have a great selection of animals, walk through enclosures with beautiful tropical birds and because of the layout and designs of the enclosures when you visit it does not feel like a zoo. I have visited several times over the years, no matter how many times I visit I always enjoy my visits to the zoo as much as the first time and would visit more often if it was nearer. One of my favourite animals that I have got attached to are their Hi Way Asian Elephant Family, I could spend all day with their young elephant calves Indali, Nandita and Aayu, they have such playful characters and are always fun to watch and photograph. One of the other animals I enjoyed photographing was their Andean Bear Cub, she was adorable and did not keep still for long. She is the first andean bear cub to be born in the UK. The Andean Bear is also known as the spectacled bear, they are found in South America in the wild and are the last living bear out of the short faced bear family which is very sad and were listed as vulnerable by the IUCN in November 2007. 

Chester Zoo is one of the oldest zoos in England, it was opened by George Mottershead during the second world war in 1931. George's idea behind the zoo was to open a zoo without bars, he has achieved this over the years and the zoo has grown a lot since they first opened. In July 2015 they opened their islands developement where you can visit animals such as orangutans, sumatran tigers and sun bears that are endangered in the wild. The islands also has a indoor monsoon forest which has reptiles, exotic plants and birds, it is the largest indoor exhibit in the UK and the rhinoceros hornbill, it is he largest bird found in South East Asia. One of the ideas behind the islands is so that visitors can learn more about the conservation work Act For Wildlife are involved in and habitats for animals that live on the islands of Panay, Papua, Bali, Sumatra, Sumba and Sulawesi. Visitors can also enjoy a river boat ride throughout the islands.

Chester zoo is well known for their conservation work. Chester Zoo's conservation programme Act For Wildlife fund projects in the UK and overseas including teaching people how to live with elephants in their natural habitat. The Elephant is the largest land mammal living on Earth, they live in Nepal, India and South East Asia. Due to habitat destruction, human conflict and being poached for their ivory they are critically endangered and have declined by 50% in Asia. As there is still a demand for ivory tusks, everyday 100 elephants loose their lives which is shocking and very sad. It is one of the reasons why these special mammals could become extinct. The EU have recently confirmed elephants could be extinct in only 25 years because of the ivory trade. One of the organisations who carry our great work is Chester Zoo's conservation Act for Wildlife, they do projects in the UK and overseas including teaching people how to live with elephants in their natural habitat. One of their campaigns is We Never Forget in memory of Bala and Hari from Chester Zoo who unfortunately passed away from the Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpes Virus, the virus affects young elephants around the world. Through the campaign they are funding research to try and help elephants in zoos and the wild so less are affected by this devastating disease. In the future they hope to find a cure. Act for Wildlife also helps orangutans, the past 10 years they have been working with Hutan Kinabatangan Orangutan Conservation programme to protect the wildlife and orangutans in Borneo. They have got together with Hutan's education programme and their HEAP Team where they provide knowledge about the forests and impact people can have on wildlife. Due to educating people in their communities and working with schools and government departments they have started to build up postive relationships within the community.

For more information on Chester Zoo and their conservation projects please visit Chester's Zoo's website www.chesterzoo.org or Act For Wildlife's website www.actforwildlife.org.uk

Below are a few of my favourite photos from my visits to Chester Zoo.