A trip down memory lane at Fota Wildlife Park

We look at some of the first animals to take up their new homes in Fota Wildlife Park back in the 80s.
A trip down memory lane at Fota Wildlife Park
Giraffes at Fota back in 1982.

Who remembers the park from the 80s? Today we feature a selection of some of the animals who first called Fota Wildlife Park Home, back in the early 80s. 

Recently Fota Wildlife Park recorded their busiest day on record with almost 9,000 people visiting the wildlife sanctuary.

Park director Sean McKeown told The Echo they were expecting between 6,000 and 6,500 visitors but saw an extra 2,500 animal enthusiasts visiting the park.

Cheetahs at Fota in 1982. 
Cheetahs at Fota in 1982. 

The visits were boosted by the arrival no doubt of four new Asian lion cubs.

This weekend the visitors will have another new attraction, Matheo, a two-year-old, two-toed sloth, who has recently taken up residence in the Tropical House.

Speaking about the park's newest addition, lead Ranger, Kelly Lambe said: “We are thrilled to welcome Matheo to the collection of animals here in the Tropical House at Fota. We also recently added Seahorses who have been very popular with the public, and we are expecting Matheo the sloth to be equally as popular with visitors. This is the first time we have had a sloth reside in the Park and so far, he’s been settling in exceptionally well. Although they are primarily nocturnal animals – in fact, they can sleep for 15 hours a day easily, he has been quite active so far. Matheo has been making regular trips out of his nesting box into his specially constructed high-level branches and platforms in the Tropical House – where he is essentially free roaming.  

A peacock at Fota in 1983.
A peacock at Fota in 1983.

"Male sloths are solitary outside of the mating season so his new habitat at Fota will suit his needs very well. ”

She added: “His arrival from Germany and his initial acclimatisation to the Tropical House have been filmed by Red Pepper Productions for Virgin Media Television for a four-part documentary series to air soon – so we look forward to Matheo’s appearance across the nation’s TV screens.” 

The park will be hoping that the crowds flock to the park again this bank holiday weekend, to view the new addition.

A monkey at Fota back in 1983.
A monkey at Fota back in 1983.

Over the Easter break, from the Thursday to the Bank Holiday Monday, the park welcomed almost 30,000 people through the gates.

The Park director said Fota normally gets around 460,000 visitors annually, but if the numbers keep going like they are, the aim is to hit half a million visits by the end of the year.

The park has the capacity for 12,000 people.

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