Pembrokeshire’s Friends to the Animals
Published: Monday 30th Nov 2015
Written by: Anita Lee
Rugged coasts, stunning landscapes and more outdoor recreation than most can complete in a lifetime, Pembrokeshire has so much to offer. However, many may not be aware that tucked into the valleys of western Wales, there is some serious animal conservation going on… and not just for the puffins and sheep.
The work being done by local conservation groups, farms, and zoos has given the county a global reputation for protecting various animal species. From rhinos to giraffes, flamingos and even squirrels, animal protection is serious business in Pembrokeshire. And, thankfully, the hundreds of thousands of annual visitors can reap the benefits of their tireless hard work by visiting these exotic and protected animals up close.
For those planning an exciting cottage holiday to Pembrokeshire – whether staying in Tenby, Saundersfoot, or other Welsh villages – be sure to add a bit of animal appreciation and watching to your holiday itinerary. In addition to their dedication to conservation, all of the groups below are helping to make Pembrokeshire an amazing tourist destination.
The Wildlife Trust of South & West Wales
Thanks to government support and private donations, this highly active group endeavours to protect the local landscape and the various species of flora and fauna that it supports. The group is supremely dedicated to protecting wildlife in Wales. They are actively involved in protecting local species – including a special project to encourage the success of the red squirrel population and an effort to create a low impact, but profitable fishing industry to allow marine life to thrive.
The Wildlife Trust provides ecological consultancy services, land management contracting, and advice to local wildlife sites in the region. Pembrokeshire has its own Wildlife Trust officer who, along with volunteers, manages 26 active reserves in the county. They include the Upper Mill Pond and Pengelli Forest.
During 2015, the group sought to protect the Teifi Marshes nature preserve in Pembrokeshire. Through an awarded grant, the group was able to employ a ranger who was tasked with restoring the diversity of habitats on the reserve through habitat management and public engagement. By having a dedicated presence at the marshlands, the group was able to offer ecological expertise, management of the area, and oversaw restoration of the local ecology. The group was able to implement a wildflower management plan and help various species thrive in the area.
For more information or to offer your help, please visit The Wildlife Trust.
Manor Wildlife Park
At the wildlife park, they are keenly focused on protecting hundreds of animal species for future generations to enjoy. Just north of Tenby, the park boasts over 50 acres of parkland. They actively cultivate and nurture local wildflowers, insects and everything along the animal food chain.
Beyond local conservation, Manor Wildlife Park works with other zoos and animal organisations around the world. It is a conservation-led wildlife park. They are actively involved with a number of important breeding programmes designed to help save endangered animals, and eventually re-introduce them to the wild.
Earlier this summer, the zoo welcomed a Sumatran tiger in order to prepare for a breeding project – part of London Zoo’s European Endangered Species Programme. Zoo owner and television presenter Anna Ryder Richardson was overjoyed by the addition of the tiger.
“[The tiger] is genetically very important,” Richardson said. “It’s a very proud moment for us all at the park, great for our loyal visitors, tourists and an honour for Wales, together we can all be a part of tiger conservation.”
Folly Farm Adventure Park and Zoo
This Welsh gem offers visitors the opportunity to see more than 50 different species of animals. One of the major goals of Folly Farm is to nurture and support a number of exotic animals. At the zoo, there are exotic parrots, owls, cranes, herons, and storks. They also have a reptilian centre that is home for a number of snakes, tortoises and iguanas.
Like Manor Wildlife Park, the zoo keepers at Folly Farm are actively engaged in animal protection – especially for vulnerable species. They offer educational talks and interactive feeding times. They are members of EAZA (European Association of Zoos and Aquariums) and BIAZA (British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums). They also take part in European breeding programmes to help protect some of the world's most endangered animals from extinction.
In large, purpose-built habitats, their animals frolic at this Welsh family business. There are lions, zebra, ostrich, camels, and even giraffes. The farm also recently gained international note by welcoming two rare eastern black rhinos to the park. Zookeepers are hoping in the future that a rhino calf produced by the pair may be returned to the wild, where it is believed there are less than 650 animals left.