Broxbourne’s Paradise Wildlife Park gets Land of the Tigers plans back on track

PUBLISHED: 07:00 12 August 2020 | UPDATED: 09:49 12 August 2020

Visitors will be able to watch tigers like Alena here swim and play from an underwater viewing station (photo: Zoological Society of Hertfordshire)

Visitors will be able to watch tigers like Alena here swim and play from an underwater viewing station (photo: Zoological Society of Hertfordshire)

Zoological Society of Hertfordshire

A new tiger habitat, the first of its kind in the UK, is due to open this autumn at Broxbourne’s Paradise Wildlife Park. We take a look as the park welcomes back visitors after a hugely challenging time

Paradise Wildlife Park CEO Lynn Whitnall (photo: Hertfordshire Zoological Society)Paradise Wildlife Park CEO Lynn Whitnall (photo: Hertfordshire Zoological Society)

If you have swum deep into a Siberian river only to encounter one of the most fearsome land creatures, then you won’t need to visit Broxbourne this autumn. If not, then a new experience with rare tigers can be had at Paradise Wildlife Park.

Don’t worry, you don’t actually need to get in the water, the new Land of the Tigers habitat allows viewers to watch these awe­-inspiring animals swim and play from beneath the surface of a deep pool at a special glass viewing area. And not only tigers but beautiful fish too.

Land of the Tigers is part of a major redevelopment of the park run by The Zoological Society of Hertfordshire. Created from the former cheetah and lion enclosures, the habitat is the new home of Siberia and Aleena, eight-­year-­old Amur tigers. The sisters were born in The Big Cat Sanctuary in Kent, a related site to Paradise, where their sister Amasia is part of the European Endangered Species Breeding Programme. Siberia and Aleena could also be matched with a male Amur.

Paradise Wildlife Park CEO Lynn Whitnall said the team were hugely excited about the new habitat. ‘This will be the second brand new habitat in as many years following the success of our Lion Pride Lands,’ she said. ‘Land of the Tigers will bring visitors closer to our beautiful tigers than ever before through the incredible underwater viewing part of the habitat.

‘Amur tigers are endangered so we hope for the patter of tiny paws in the years to come to further contribute to the European breeding programmes and continue to show our charities’ contribution to conservation both in the UK and around the world.’

The opening of the habitat comes after a very tough period for Paradise, which was forced to close due to the pandemic. Costs of food and care for the many animals in the park, normally met by admissions and special experiences, continued while income disappeared.

Siberia looks forward to getting settled in (photo: Zoological Society of Hertfordshire)Siberia looks forward to getting settled in (photo: Zoological Society of Hertfordshire)

Lynn said that over the 12 weeks of lockdown the park experienced ‘a huge loss and we did become concerned for the future of Paradise’.

‘All the money we would gain from ticket sales would go directly back into the welfare of our animals so you can imagine how worried we were getting when we couldn’t sell tickets anymore,’ she explained.

‘But now we are allowed a limited amount of people on site, we can begin to rebuild the losses. So we are encouraging people to come visit us and enjoy the much­needed day out but also keep safe on site and rebuild the charity with us.

‘We are so grateful for all our supporters’ commitment to keeping our animals and park afloat during this crippling few months. So many amazing people have dropped off food donations to keep our food stocks plentiful and we cannot be more thankful for this. Again, we wish to extend a huge thank you to those who have donated money to our Just Giving or sent us Facebook Stars as donations on our social posts, we could not have made it through this terrible time without you.’

On July 4 the park reopened animal habitats such as Amazon and Beyond, Reptile Temple and Birds at Paradise, Rex Express and others. Outdoor play areas also reopened. The restaurant remains closed but there is a barbecue and ice cream parlour and visitors are welcome to bring their own food (no glass). From August the Big Cat Feed experiences – choose to get up close to snow leopards, white lions or tigers – can also be booked. The team originally aimed to open Land of the Tigers in August, but this has had to be delayed until the autumn in order to accommodate social distancing measures at the new facility.

Paradise Wildlife Park director Tyler Whitnall said staff were ‘so happy’ to see people ‘enjoying the park and our amazing animals’ again. He added, ‘Thankfully there have been no concerns with the one­-way system or any of the other social distancing measures so we are now more excited than ever to welcome the general public back to the park.’

For booking information and updates on the opening date of Land of the Tigers, go to pwpark.com

Latest from the Hertfordshire Life