West Midland Safari Park has submitted plans for new habitats for hippos and African wild dogs.

West Midland Safari Park announces plans for high quality hippo and African wild dog lodges

West Midland Safari Park has submitted plans for new habitats for hippos and African wild dogs.
West Midland Safari Park has submitted plans for new habitats for hippos and African wild dogs.

Visitors can now wake up to see lions, tigers, red pandas, elephants, giraffes, cheetahs and white rhinos.

Now, the Bewdley attraction has announced that it has submitted plans for new luxury lodges that will offer visitors stunning views of two other properties.

Plans have been submitted for eight new lodges, two of which will overlook the new hippo enclosure, and four will comment on the African wild dog enclosure.

The last two will be lodges with two aspects, unique to the safari park and the first for its accommodation offering, which will be between the two new areas, facing the wild dogs on one side and the hippos on the other.

The African wild dog habitats will be the first of their kind in Europe, while the hippo habitats will be the only place in the UK where you can actually see hippos.

One of the unique two-aspect lodges will have a ‘turret’, complete with panoramic views of both lodges, comfortable seating and mood lighting, while two of the Hippo Lodges will be accessible to wheelchair users.

The introduction of eight new kennels also allows the Park to renovate and upgrade the animal shelters, giving them 24-hour access to both indoor and extended outdoor areas.

Head of design at the safari park, Dave Powner, said: “We are delighted to have submitted plans for the next stages of wildlife development.

“This will see a new habitat for animals and places to encourage our hippos and African wild dogs.

“Full immersion in these new areas will be eight sleeping areas, with wild dogs with unprecedented views of the most efficient carnivores in Africa, from the comfort of the lounge and bedrooms.

“We propose to redevelop our hippo area by expanding their current exhibition with an additional 3000m² of grazing land, with continuous access to the ponds and evening access to the ponds in front of the Hippo Lodges.

“The development of the existing habitat for the hippos, together with the new housing structure, will not only allow more modern management of the animals and improved welfare of the animals, but will allow a novel experience of spending the night with large, interesting species.”

The new hippopotamus house will be suitable for breeding programs in the future, with an indoor pool, mud ponds and evening pools for guests to enjoy from their sleeping balconies.

West Midland Safari Park has the largest hippopotamus in the UK and the new habitat will encourage these aquatic mammals to spend time feeding on land and drinking water from their pools.

The wild dog enclosure will be approximately 2,750m², providing ample space for the dogs to explore, which is essential for their health and to stimulate natural behaviour.

Both habitats are connected to the Park’s recently opened African Walking Trail and allow day visitors to view wild dogs from a split-level vantage point, with additional views along the hippo trail.

African wild dogs are classified as ‘vulnerable’ and common hippos as ‘vulnerable’, by the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature), both species face threats from the wild such as poaching and habitat loss.

Both species are part of the EEP (European Endangered Species Programme), a breeding program that supports wildlife conservation by creating reserve populations. The new facilities will enable the Park to continue its important work with the EEP.

Safari Lodges short breaks include breakfast and dinner, close-up views of the animals, admission to the Park for two days, and Theme Park tours, during the summer.

If the plan is approved, the new lodges will open next year, but guests can book the existing lodges and find more information on the Safari Lodges website: safari-lodges.co.uk.

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