#WhateverWednesday Five Sisters Zoo!

Frankie Av


I love museums, zoos, places I can learn and experience things. I’ve never been a person who could go on holiday and spend a fortune just to lay by a poolside. I’d rather sit at home than do that! But then, I get homesick and I can’t stand hot temperatures. My brain just doesn’t work in the heat!!

When I am on holiday, I plan out days or time away at places where I can enjoy and learn things. Whether it is at a museum or on a boat trip, I find this a better way to spend my holiday time.

One place which I always visit whether I am on holiday or not, is the Five Sisters Zoo in West Lothian. We visit the zoo frequently, usually monthly or thereabouts. What makes FSZ special is that they are a conservation zoo and often rescue animals which would otherwise be destroyed.

It started off as a very small place, with some reptiles, farm animals and such. Over the years it has grown into a place where rescued animals can live in peace with a new lease on life. Take for instance the three circus bears they rescued back in 2011. The three brown bears were rescued in Belgium from a circus. They had been living in terrible cramped conditions in cages barely large enough for them to turn in. A call was made by the rescuers to find the bears a home, and the FSZ put out the call to the public to raise money for them. And raise money we did, topping the £80,000 pledge. In 2012, Peggy, Carmen and Suzy were welcomed into a newly created two-acre woodland site. Companies from around the area donated materials and money to facilitate the bears arrival.

I have had the pleasure of seeing all of the bears during my frequent visits, and have seen a marked difference in their behaviour. I remember the first time I saw Suzy I cried. She was so lost and afraid looking, not used to such a huge place to live in. She wandered back and forth, pacing the housing area as if still caged in a confined space. These days, you can see her lazing around or playing. The three had also never hibernated before. The zoo updates on their facebook page often about the animals, and the bears now do hibernate in the winter, such is the great work the staff at FSZ carries out to maintain their animals safety and comfort. I always go to visit the bears when I go there, and every time I see one of them I can’t help but smile.

In 2014, the zoo put out another call to the public with the hopes of raising £150,000 to rehome four circus lions rescued from a french circus. These poor beasts had lived their entire lives in a trailer much too small for them. They were castrated and declawed as cubs. They look like females as they lack a male lion’s trademark mane as a result of the castration. But these are some of the biggest lions you are likely to see. The castration meant that hormones which usually went into the growth of the mane, instead contributed to their body growth. These guys are HUGE! Again, the public heard the call and money was raised in excess of the target. Another two acre site was put forward to house them and soon work began. We watched the enclosure being built over the months and could not wait to meet the lions which would have been destroyed if a home had not been found for them. In October 2015, the four lions were successfully rehomed in the zoo and quickly became a huge attraction. They are huge, lazy, layabouts and absolutely gorgeous beasts!

The Five Sisters Zoo is one place I will never get tired of visiting. On one visit I might not see the eurasian lynx, but the next I will. When I was there a few days ago, I saw they had an adorable armadillo I’d never seen before!  It is hard to pick a favorite animal in FSZ, but if I was forced to pick three, it would be the bears, the arctic wolves and the ruff necked lemurs. Of all the lemurs, the ruff necked are my faves! Enjoy some of the photographs I have taken from the zoo, and if you are ever in the area, give the zoo a visit 😀

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F.R. Donaldson lives in scenic Scotland. She is the author of the psychological sci-fi MALEVOLENCE


About oneofthedragons

Samantha K. Balk and F. R. Donaldson met on An Archive of Our Own, one of the many fanfiction sites online, when Sam asked Frankie to illustrate the fanfiction that would one day lead to Sam's first novel. They've been friends ever since! This blog was created as a way to share the oftentimes difficult journey any new author experiences on the uncomfortable quest of an introvert for attention to his or her most personal work. It is meant to remind you that authors don't just appear fully fledged like a George R. R. Martin, that all of us start out unsure and feeling inadequate. Feel free to ask us anything. Sam: sammykaye9@gmail.com Frankie: reluctant.fraggle@gmail.com

Posted on July 13, 2016, in #WhateverWednesday, Frankeh Updates, Updates and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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