Tuesday 25 February 2020

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Lifestyle & Leisure

A doc on the wild side

Wednesday, 5th February, 2020 4:40pm

A new four-part documentary series set in Fota Wildlife Park will explore the lives of the animals and the rangers who care for them.

Speaking about the new documentary series entitled ‘Fota: Into the Wild’, Director of Fota Wildlife Park, Sean McKeown said: “The documentary is basically showing two aspects. Firstly, the behind the scenes operations of the wildlife park, and how the animal staff interact with the animals.

“The other aspect is the conservation work we do, in areas outside of the park. But some of the animals we have here such as the European bison are part of a reintroduction program into Poland. More recently we’ve sent animals to Romania, which the second episode will cover.”

Produced by Red Pepper Productions for Virgin Media One, the new four-part documentary series is presented by Andrea Hayes. Filming for the documentary series began over a year ago, and covers both the work carried out in the park, and in foreign conservation ventures.

The first episode of the series is available online at virginmediatelevision.ie/player. The second episode will air on Sunday 9 February at 8pm.

One episode focuses on rangers who work with the black and white ruffed lemurs, and also focuses on what is happening in their natural habitat in Madagascar. Sean and members of the ranger team visited Madagascar to see the lemurs in the wild, and witness the dire threat to their existence.

“There are only about 200 of them left there in the wild. The area we were in should have had over 250. But there were 12, and the numbers are dropping. They could disappear from there in five to ten years,” continued Sean.

Fota recently announced the birth of two baby Columbian black spider monkeys, born in the park to mothers Batty and Norma. The Columbian black spider monkey has been classified as critically endangered due to hunting, habitat destruction, and a long birth cycle which sees females only give birth every two or three years.

Fota also fund other projects in Madagascar, such as the Madagascan pochard, which Fota have been funding since 2012. The funding allowed them to set up and run a breeding centre. The project proved to be a huge success, and this year some of the birds were released back into the wild.

For further information visit fotawildlife.ie.

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