Hope springs eternal for zoo with new additions

Young otters and their parents during feeding time at the Five Sisters Zoo West Calder.
Young otters and their parents during feeding time at the Five Sisters Zoo West Calder.

There was a hint perhaps that spring was just around the corner after the emergence of baby otters and meerkats at a zoo today.

However, the appearance of Arctic wolves in a familiar snowy backdrop ensured visitors wouldn’t be getting their hopes up just yet – despite it being March.

Baby meerkat sheltering from the cold at Five Sisters Zoo West Calder.

Baby meerkat sheltering from the cold at Five Sisters Zoo West Calder.

Nevertheless there is a sense of positivity around the zoo ahead of the new season.

Male and female otters have helped to create the enthusiasm after having their second successful litter in January, taking the total amount of otters in the zoo to seven, while meerkats – 16 adults and three babies – are also in a strong position.

The appearance of the newborn otters and meerkats were perhaps symbolic of a renewed sense of hope and optimism for the Five Sisters Zoo in West Calder, which tragically lost nearly 50 species due to a fire in the reptile house in April 2013.

Only two meerkats survived the blaze – Lucky and Phoenix – and today’s total indicates the progress the group has made.

Aria the Arctic wolf enjoys the recent fall of snow at the zoo in West Calder.

Aria the Arctic wolf enjoys the recent fall of snow at the zoo in West Calder.

Likewise, the zoo has undergone a significant period of regeneration with nature trials and new walk through areas added since the tragic accident and 180,000 visitors attending the zoo last year.

It was awarded the Best Tourism Business award by the West Lothian Chamber of Commerce last year.

Lesley Coupar, head of visitor services, at the zoo said: “There is such a community feel to the zoo we have rescued bears and lions before and each time the support we have received from the public has been amazing.

“The otters and meerkats is a special story because they are lucky to be here after the fire. It just shows how far the zoo has come since the tragic accident that there are able to rebuild their families.”

A Meerkat stays in the warm at the zoo

A Meerkat stays in the warm at the zoo

Aria the Arctic Wolf enjoying the fresh snowfall

Aria the Arctic Wolf enjoying the fresh snowfall