Howletts Wild Animal Park and The Aspinall Foundation
Howletts Wild Animal Park is the only zoo in the UK that has a herd of African Elephants. Due to things such as the ivory trade and being poached for their tusks 100 elephants per day loose their lives. They are endangered in the wild which is very sad. Elephants also play an important role, during the dry season they use their tusks to dig for water which provides water for them and other animal species that live in the same area.
Howletts was set up by John Aspinall in 1957, it used to be a private zoo before opening to the public in 1975. In John's memory they have the conservation charity The Aspinall Foundation that work with Howletts and their partner zoo Port Lymne release some of their animals from the zoo into protected reserves in the wild which will hopefully help the survival of the species. The past few years the Foundation has released western lowland gorillas, black rhinos, javan langurs and european bison back into the wild. For more information on the Aspinall Foundation please visit their website https://www.aspinallfoundation.org
If you are a wildlife lover visiting Canterbury in Kent I recommend Howletts Wild Animal Park, it is a great day out for families and people who would like to visit a variety of animals from African Elephants to Monkeys, Tigers and Leopards. I was in my element because of the different big cats, elephants and monkeys.
Tigers are one of the animals I have always been passionate about visiting and photographing, I was excited to visit one of their beautiful tigers Arina that has a special story, she was hand reared by the keepers when she was cub after being abandoned by her mum. When Arina was younger she developed a lack of bone mass which causes her to limp when she walks. Despite what Arina has been through, she still has a zest for life and bond with her keepers. I was also enjoyed seeing their handsome Sumatran Tiger Achilles who moved from ZSL London Zoo in July 2018 as part of the breeding programme to help save the species from becoming extinct in the wild. Achilles is one of the tigers I have got attached to since watching him growing up as a cub so during my visits to Howletts I always like to spend longer photographing him. Since living at Howletts Achilles's keepers have realised that he is food oriented and one of his favourite places is on the higher platform.
They also have Javan Langur Monkeys. Some of the problems these species face in Asia are habitat destruction, hunting and young monkeys being taken away from their mums for the illegal pet trade, it is some of the reasons why they are an endangered species and need our help in the wild. One of Howletts conservation projects is the Javan Primate Project outside Malang in Indonesia, they rescue langur monkeys from the illegal pet trade and reintroduce them back into the wild and protected areas.
Normal entry price is £22.95. If you book online you save 20% For visitors travelling by public transport Howletts is a 90 minute train journey from London Victoria to Bekesbourne station. From Bekesbourne there is a mini bus service.
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