Visiting a wildlife centre or safari park is a great opportunity to learn more about animals that you don’t encounter on a daily basis. It’s a fantastic way to educate the kids about other areas of the world and the importance of conservation.
Would you believe it? The Siberian Tiger is the largest cat in the world. Yup. Even bigger than a lion. That means you really shouldn’t mess with it. No two tigers have the same stripy pattern, so every single one has its own unique coat. They actually have manes which help to keep them warm. These guys are solitary hunters and will even take on bears. There are only between 400 and 500 Siberian Tigers left in the world due to poaching.
From one biggie to the next, the ostrich is the biggest and heaviest bird on the planet. To allow for greater speed, ostriches only have two toes on each foot. On a good day, an ostrich can reach speeds of 43 mph and run steady on 31 mph. One of their strides is 10 to 16 foot long. When running isn’t an option, ostriches can kick predators with their amazingly strong legs – don’t expect to walk away from that one.
In the 18th century, ostriches were almost driven to extinction. Today, they are still hunted for their feathers, meat, and eggs.
The mountain gorilla actually has very few natural predators, but thanks to humans (poaching, war, habitat destruction), this animal has become one of the most endangered on the planet. There are only around 700 left in the world. Largely, you can find them in national parks.
They are a shy species, but aggressive when threatened. A mother will fight to the death to defend her babies. Mountain gorillas are social and live in large groups headed by an alpha male; usually a mature silverback. Newborns are as helpless as human babies and spend their early life clinging to their mother’s back.
There are plenty of ways to help gorillas around the world, whether that’s through supporting a conservation charity or visiting an altruistic organisation, such as a safari park with animal welfare at heart.
The cool thing about being a rhinoceros is that you can look like you’re wearing armour! This is thanks to the Indian Rhinoceros’s skin folds. These guys have prehensile lips that can grab grass – yes, GRAB grass. During the cooler parts of the day, the Indian Rhinoceros will eat, and when it gets too hot, they’ll submerge themselves in a river or a mud hole.
Although they have weak eyesight, they make up for this with pinpoint hearing and a strong sense of smell. Through conservation efforts, the Indian Rhinoceros is actually slowly recovering numbers. Rhinos are often killed for their horns.