Posted: 07/04/2011 16:24:54 by Anne-Marie O'Neill

A SNOW leopard which featured in a movie starring Daniel Craig and Nicole Kidman is the latest addition to a South Lakeland zoo.

Young male Pavan, one of two leopards who played the part of Stelamaria in The Golden Compass, will be housed in a walk-through enclosure at Lakeland Wildlife Oasis at Hale, near Milnthorpe.

Staff have created a homely feel for their new feline friend with the enclosure designed to look like a Himalayan village with plenty of rocks for him to climb and snooze on.

An acrylic tunnel running through the enclosure will allow visitors to see Pavan in his own habitat in what is thought to be the UK’s first walk-through big cat exhibit.

Assistant manager of Lakeland Wildlife Oasis, Caroline Howard, said: “We’re really excited about Pavan’s arrival - he’s a real celebrity cat! His new home is amazing. You can walk right through his territory while he ranges around you - even above your head!”

Pavan has arrived from UK charity the Cat Survival Trust which helps conserve endangered cats.

Once he has settled in his new environment, zoo staff hope to form a breeding pair by adding a female snow leopard to Pavan’s enclosure.It is not known how many snow leopards are left in the wild but they are now classed as endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

Lakeland Wildlife Oasis is joining the captive breeding programme which is run by the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums.




Posted: 07/04/2011 16:09:02 by Anne-Marie O'Neill

A PAIR of ospreys have returned to their nesting site in the Lake District. The birds are back at Bassenthwaite Lake - 10 years after the first male osprey chose the area for a nesting site.The bird, known as No Ring, was the first to nest in the Lakes for 150 years. Experts say he has returned with the female he paired up with for the first time in 2007.

It is hoped the birds will rear an 11th generation of young after two male chicks were produced last year.

Graeme Prest of the Lake District Osprey Project said: "It is wonderful news that the ospreys have returned for another season and have already mated. With a bit of luck, the female will be laying her eggs soon.”

Almost 100 people are part of a volunteer project to provide 24-hour observation on the nest. They also engage with the public about ospreys at the Dodd Wood viewpoint and Whinlatter Visitor Centre.

The public Osprey Viewpoint at Dodd Wood, near Keswick, has been opened and telescopes are being provided to see the birds.

Live images from the nest are also being beamed to a big screen at the nearby Whinlatter visitor centre. The osprey project is managed by a partnership of the Forestry Commission, Lake District National Park Authority and the RSPB.



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