Be a Keeper for the Day at the Highland Wildlife Park
Run by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, the Highland Wildlife Park offers visitors the opportunity to drive around the main reserve and view a range of Scottish wildlife and animals from around the world in spectacular natural surroundings in addition to exploring the walk-around area on foot. Opened in 1972, the Highland Wildlife Park, located seven miles south of Aviemore, offers entertainment and education, with conservation being the focus.
Resident Scottish wildlife includes red deer, wildcats, pine martens, red squirrels and capercailie, with European wildlife including European bison, European elk, eagle owls, lynx, wolves and beavers. Animals adapted to mountain living that may be spotted during a tour of the Highland Wildlife Park include Przewalski horses, yaks, klangs, bharals, Japanese macaque, red pandas, Bactrian wapiti (Central Asian red deer), Bactrian camels, Mishmi takin and Chinese goral – the latter two having similarities to both goats and antelopes. Tundra habitat is home to reindeer, arctic fox and polar bears.
Physically fit visitors over the age of 18 years can participate in the park’s “Keeper for the Day” program where they will be able to interact with the animals while shadowing the regular keepers on their daily rounds. Participants help with feeding the animals and taking care of their daily needs. The “Carnivore Keeper for the Day” includes interacting with wolves, arctic foxes, wildcats and tigers, which is not included in the “Keeper for the Day” program.
Visitors exploring the walk-around area may want to bear in mind that there are scheduled times during which the keepers will present an informal talk while feeding the animals. Included in this schedule are the snow monkeys (11:30); Polar bears (13:15); wildcats and pine marten (13:45); camels (14:00); tigers (14:30) and red pandas (15:30).
Keen photographers will have plenty to aim a camera at during the “Behind the Scenes” photography tour. Accompanied by an experienced guide, photographers will have the opportunity for up-close encounters with the polar bears and tigers, as well as exploring the main reserve with a good chance of viewing the animals found there. Land Rover tours are also available, ensuring that all visitors to the Highland Wildlife Park can enjoy nature at its best, in one way or another.