FLAMINGOS are spreading their wings after a new enclosure was opened at Lotherton Wildlife World near Garforth in east Leeds.
The new seven-metre high aviary is home to 33 birds and includes heated indoor quarters and even a heated indoor pool where the flamingos can warm up during cold snaps.
Experts at Lotherton are hoping the flock, which now includes pure bred, Chilean flamingos, can start producing eggs and take part in the international breeding programme to protect and preserve the species.
Coun Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council’s deputy leader and executive member for environment and sustainability, joined Lord Mayor of Leeds Coun Jane Dowson to open the new enclosure yesterday.
Coun Yeadon (Lab/Kirkstall) said: “It was a real privilege to be at the opening of the spectacular flamingo enclosure and I am delighted to say that the new arrivals are settling in brilliantly.”
Maria Akers, Lotherton’s estate manager, said: “The new enclosure will really give the flamingos more of a chance to display their natural behaviour, with space for them to fly and new areas where they can nest and hopefully raise chicks.
“This will give visitors a better opportunity to observe and learn about these beautiful birds and hopefully enable us to contribute to ongoing efforts to protect and preserve them for future generations.”
As well as the flamingo enclosure, the newly-finished parts of the attraction include a brand new main entrance to the park complete with a timber boardwalk that winds through the Forest Zone.
The completion of the new areas of Wildlife World follows the hugely-successful opening of the new 120,000 litre penguin pool earlier this year, which is home to a colony of 17 Humboldt penguins.
One of the penguins has been named Lucinda in honour of Coun Yeadon, who is stepping down at May’s all-out local elections.
Coun Yeadon said: “It was a wonderful surprise to be told that one of our amazing penguins has been named after me and I’m absolutely thrilled with this honour.
“Penguins have always been one of my favourite animals and it was an incredible experience to be at Lotherton for the opening of their new habitat just a few months ago and to see them in their fantastic new environment.
“It’s also been a real privilege to have been involved in work that has gone into Lotherton Wildlife World and to learn more about the difference it will make to protecting and conserving some of our planet’s vulnerable species for future generations.
“I’d like to say a huge personal thanks to everyone involved and I can’t wait to pay little Lucinda the penguin a visit in the future.”