Monday, March 18, 2019

News: Tropical Butterfly House celebrating 25th birthday

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The Tropical Butterfly House, Falconry and Wildlife Park in Rotherham will celebrate its 25th anniversary this weekend and is marking the milestone event with a variety of commemorative activities throughout the year.

When the North Anston park first opened in 1994 it was just the butterfly house, a nature wildlife trail and a small shop and café.

It opened on a shoestring budget, during an economic depression with three employees, butterflies, peacocks, a tarantula spider and a snake followed by barn owls, an eagle owl and later in its first season, goats and chickens.

Discovering in the first year that the key to future success could be allowing its visitors to handle and get closer to the animals they love, this very same ethos remains its USP today. Now renowned for its collection of exotic animals from around the world including many endangered species, the park offers its visitors daily up-close animal encounters and free-flying bird displays alongside views of the best of British wildlife.

New additions over the years include Lemur Heights and Meerkat Mansion. The site also includes purpose built conservation areas for native wildlife.

Visitor numbers have grown to over 150,000 per year in 2018 and the park now has over 60 staff.

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Andrew Reeve, wildlife park manager at The Tropical Butterfly House, Falconry and Wildlife Park, said: "Since arriving as park manager eight years ago the park has constantly been changing and developing. We have grown from a 4.5 acre to 8-acre site, doubling our visitor numbers at the same time.

"Our collection has become more focused on endangered species, with lots of new species being added over the years, from lemurs and otters to vultures. This has driven our fundraising efforts, for example when the visitors see the lemurs here and learn about their story, they are essentially helping to raise funds for survival in their native wild habitat."

Kim Bellis is the managing director and the owner's daughter and has spent all her life at the park and will be taking over the reins. She said: "As a family business we are all very proud of what the team have achieved here over the last 25 years.

"The legacy of my dad's labour of love brings it back to where it all began, inspiring the next generation's passion for nature. Now following the success of the park, he is now able to return to his passion for plants and animals and enjoy all the new challenges the new conservation sites will bring."

Tropical Butterfly House, Falconry and Wildlife Park website

Images: Tropical Butterfly House, Falconry and Wildlife Park

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