According to BBC Wildlife ‘When it comes to variety, beauty and abundance of wildlife, Cumbria is the county with everything’.
If it’s the best place to live, it’s also the best place to visit.
The Lake District Wildlife Park has welcomed a new arrival, a young male Red Panda called Charu who arrived from Dublin Zoo on 25th May.
Keepers at the Lake District Wildlife Park are hoping that Charu will breed with their existing Red Panda Meili (meaning beautiful one in Chinese).
Meili arrived from Whipsnade Zoo in autumn 2013. Since arriving, she has become quite a star, creeping down her Oak tree for treats during the Red Panda Talk, while keepers explain how they live how they are becoming more vulnerable in the wild.
Charu is getting used to his new surroundings and is quietly being introduced to Meili. For the first few days he will be in his own space, but when they get used to seeing each other, they will then share the oak tree and the enclosure. Visitors will be able to watch progress and how they are getting on.
Cumbria is rich in birdlife. Over 200 species of bird are recorded in Cumbria in any one year. Many visitors to the Lake District in recent years have shared in the excitement of ospreys breeding near Bassenthwaite Lake, the only actual Lake in the Lake District, the others are meres or waters.
The Osprey Project has made viewing Osprey accessible, through telescopes in Dodd Wood and via the webcam display at the Whinlatter Visitor Centre.
Between April and August the Ospreys put on their annual aerial display between Whinlatter and Bassenthwaite. They have an impressive five feet wingspan – if they’re flying about you can’t miss them. They first nested beside Bassenthwaite in 2001 – the first wild osprey to breed in the Lake District for 150 years.
The birds were encouraged to stay with the help of a purpose built nest provided by the Forestry Commission and the Lake District National Park. This was the culmination of several years of hard work. Ospreys had been summering in the Lake District since the mid 1990’s and in 2001 they started breeding, immediately adding sticks to the nest.
Once the breeding pair lay their eggs, wardens keep a round the clock watch on the nest to prevent thieves stealing the eggs. Ospreys usually lay three eggs which take about six weeks to hatch. The young stay in the nest for six or seven weeks. In late summer the female will migrate south leaving the male to teach the youngsters the art of fishing.
Ospreys are not the only big birds to be seen circling the Lakeland fells. Look out for buzzards, peregrines and Kestrels.