Beale Park in Pangbourne has introduced new members to its animal family in a bid to save two currently endangered species.
Habitat loss has resulted in a “severe” threat to both lynx and guanacos, with the latter also facing competition from other grazing animals.
One of the park’s star animals, a two-year-old male lynx named Finn, is part of a species that was once a common big cat in Europe but has since become extinct in some areas.
He has now been joined by a two-year-old female lynx called Lox, who “settled in very quickly”.
Chris Lusby, Assistant Director of Living Collections, said: “She’s doing great. She’s still very shy. Finn follows her around, she plays with him and they’ll sit next to each other… well not next to each other but at a sufficiently close distance from each other.”
He said audiences enjoyed seeing Lox roam around, queuing up to check on her, and hope that she and Finn bring more Lynx out into the world and into the park.
Beale Park said it made the pair part of a major European breeding program.
He said: “The hope is that Lox and Finn will help in efforts to boost lynx populations while work is being done on habitats in their homelands to create environments suitable for generational regeneration. future.”
Beale Wildlife Park’s living collection manager, Paul Betchley, added: “Our pair of lynx are settling in well together and we are about to start work on a new state-of-the-art enclosure which offers top quality accommodation while by strengthening the interaction with visitors.”
The new enclosure, which the park hopes will be one of the largest, if not the largest, enclosure for these animals, will provide enough space for the two Lynx to roam, with trees for them to climb.
Mr Lusby said: “Now we have two lynx, hopefully more than two lynx, they will have a bigger enclosure, in another part of the park.
“It’s quite impressive. Lox loves to climb trees, she will be climbing them for hours. The public will be able to see her while she is in the trees.”
The other members joining the Beale Park family are four female guanacos and one male guanaco son.
Guanacos, South American members of the camel family, have suffered a “substantial decline” and are now considered an endangered species by the governments of Peru, Paraguay and Bolivia.
One of the five new arrivals is said to be one of the “only breeding females in a UK zoo”.
Mr Lusby said: “A few weeks ago we went looking for guanacos, four females and one male.
“Unfortunately he is the neutered son of one of the females, but he is welcome to stay.”
He added: “They are doing really, really well, there have been no problems with them. They went straight from the trailer to the paddock and it’s like they’ve been here their whole lives.”
Beale Park said once a breeding male is found, it will be the only place the public can encounter baby guanacos.
Mr Bletchley added: ‘Our female guanacos include Gracie, who was hand raised and is about as affectionate as she comes.
“We are thrilled to welcome these majestic camelids to the park and are thrilled at the prospect of contributing to the conservation effort.
“We are thrilled to play our part in protecting these magnificent animals and providing them with an exceptional home in the park, while supporting the conservation of their habitats in the wild.”
The park will be open to all members of the public from February 15 and will remain open permanently.