The Famous Zoo In Luton- The Whipsnade Zoo

Zoo In Luton- Lionesses Waka and Winta at Whipsnade Zoo
Lionesses Waka and Winta at Whipsnade Zoo

A zoological park is the best area to explore different world animal species. However, these are built for conservation purposes. The animals are conserved in enclosures. Moreover, some are also set free in the park. For the public exhibition, the zoos were maintained properly. Whipsnade Zoo is the famous zoo in Luton.

This conservation park is well maintained. However, several endangered species are also found here. Whipsnade Zoo covers a vast area.

Apart from being such a popular zoo, it has faced lots of criticism. Some incidents have created many objections about the zoo. 

ZSL Whipsnade Zoo and Whipsnade Wild Animal Park is the early name of this zoo. However, the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) owned this zoo. ZSL is a charitable trust. It has been formed to conserve animals and other species. 

Zoo In Luton

Whipsnade Zoo – The Famous Zoo In Luton

1. The Narrative

The Whipsnade Zoo covers almost 600 acres. However, the size of the park is too big so a bus service is arranged for the visitors. The visitors are also allowed to walk in the zoo. Moreover, driving their cars to each enclosure is also allowed. 

Nevertheless, these facilities are not allowed near all the enclosures. Moreover, in some sections, the animals can freely move around the visitor’s car.

This facility is for the “Asian area.” A train service is also organized.

The Great Whipsnade Railway is operated within the zoo. It’s also called the “Jumbo Express.”

Zoo In Luton
Source: Whipsnade Zoo Official Website

Whipsnade Zoo is the largest zoo in the country. Moreover, it’s notable as Europe’s largest wildlife conservation park. Almost 3,626 animals are here. However, some endangered species are also found here. 

Nevertheless, several animals are kept in the enclosure. The enclosures are made according to their size. However, some animals are allowed to move freely. Patagonian Maras, Red-necked Wallabies, and Peafowl can move freely.

1.1 Additional Information 

Address: Whipsnade, Dunstable LU6 2LF, United Kingdom

Contact Number: +44 344 225 1826


2. A Quick History

Stamford Raffles founded ZSL in 1826. He wanted to spread awareness about animals. Moreover, animal conservation was his main motive.

Peter Chalmers Mitchell formed a conservation park after 100 years. He took inspiration from the Bronx Zoological Park. 

In 1926 ZSL purchased a piece of land. Later, it was fenced all over. However, the authorities planted many trees. Various nearby roads were also constructed. In 1928 the authorities started bringing animals to this site.

A golden pheasant, and two Lady Amherst’s pheasants, were brought. Additionally, five red jungle fowl also came along.

Zoo in Luton
Source: Whispnade Zoo Official Website (Zoo In 1931)

After a proper set, the zoo opened in 1931. It was Sunday, May 23rd. However, visitors can easily visit here. Within a day, almost 38,000 visitors came here. Within 1932 the zoo had a huge collection of conserved animals.

However, many endangered animals were also brought.

3. Notable Animals 

  • Aardvark
  • Red Panda
  • African dwarf crocodile
  • African Lion 
  • Przewalski’s horse
  • African penguin
  • Amur tiger
  • Asian Elephant
  • White-faced scops owl
  • Asian short-clawed otter
  • Burrowing Owl 
  • Greater one-horned rhino
  • Marabou stork
  • Panther Chameleon
  • Père David’s deer
  • Rockhopper penguin

Apart from these, many other animals are also there.

4. Recent Changes

A new elephant home was developed in 1996. However, it has been done for architectural replacement. The old home is still at the zoo. It contains the heritage of Tecton and Lubetkin. Nevertheless, they designed this house in 1935. 

Currently, it’s called a Grade II listed building. The authorities are using it for the lemurs’ homes.

Since 2000 the zoo has added many shows to attract visitors. Those are the Lions of the Serengeti, the Rhinos of Nepal, and so on. Moreover, each of these exhibits has its popularity. 

To engage more visitors, these exhibits have been arranged. Till 2009 these shows were added to the zoo activities. However, after renovations in July 2008, the cafe in the zoo reopened. The authorities renamed it the Wild Bite Café.

Moreover, William Windsor retired from the zoo after long-term service in May 2009. He is popularly known as Billy. Nonetheless, he is known for being a mascot of the Royal Welsh regiment. 

5. Attractive Shows

Any kind of demonstrative show attracts more visitors to the zoo. However, the ‘Birds of the World‘ is the one in Whipsnade Zoo. It’s the only demonstration display in this zoo.

However, various bird species are introduced to the visitors. It’s nothing less than an educational exhibit. 

Moreover, this show is a daily activity during the summer. Giraffe browsing and lemur talks are other activities. Nevertheless, the penguin feeding program is noteworthy.

6. Exposition

6.1. Butterfly House

It was inaugurated in 2016. It consists of many butterflies and dwarf crocodiles. However, numerous species were brought here.

In this show, people can walk through the flying butterflies. The visitors were allowed to play with them. Moreover, one of the largest moths is also there. 

Zoo In Luton
By PublicDomainPictures on Pixabay

6.2. Birds of the World

It’s an educational show. Here the keepers explain about bird species. Moreover, their abilities and uniqueness are also explained. 

6.3. Wild Wild Whipsnade

2010 is its foundation year. This site consists of wild animals. They are generally found in Britain. Moreover, all these animals are endangered.

They arrived here for conservation. Wild boar, Wolverines, Europeans, Bison, etc. are there. 

Zoo In Luton
Source: Wolverine Facts (Whispnade Zoo Website)

6.4. Cheetah Rock

Through this, the visitors get to know about cheetah conservation. However, the conservation project by ZSL in Tanzania is informed.

In 2022 three cheetahs were shifted from Ireland. Moreover, cheetahs found here are moved from Northeast Africa. These are Sudan cheetahs.

Zoo In Luton

6.5. Passage Through Asia

It’s a large paddock. Here the visitors can interact easily with the animals. However, they can drive their cars near the enclosures.

The Jumbo Express train is also a choice for riding. Moreover, herds of fallow deer and yaks are found. Bactrian camels, and sika deer, are also on the list. 

6.6. Children’s Farm 

It’s designed for children’s attractions. However, it’s a home for domestic animals. These animals are allowed to roam freely. Moreover, the visitors are allowed to interact with them.

Chickens, cows, llamas, goats, and other livestock animals are found. Pip, Bennett’s wallaby, is found here. The keepers took care of her after her mother abandoned her. 

6.7. Rhinos of Nepal

It was founded in February 2008. Four Indian rhinos moved here. Bali, Hugo, Behan, and Beluki are the rhinos. The zoo reuses the rainwater.

The pool water is heated by solar energy. However, they are trying to go with eco-friendly methods. 

Metal bars are not used as barriers. Moreover, recycled wooden railway sleepers are used. 

6.8. Elephant Herd

Nine Asian elephants are found here. Some calves were brought during the European Endangered Species Program. This site acquired an area of seven acres. Mud wallows, pools, and dust baths are present here.

Moreover, on the Queen’s birthday, a calf was born. Later, it was named “Elizabeth.” There is the Centre for Elephant Care. It’s nothing but the indoor arrangement for the elephants.

Zoo In Luton

7. Financing

The state government didn’t help the zoo with maintenance. However, the state authorities are not involved in funding. The requirements are fulfilled with the zoo entrance fees.

Funding also relies upon the ‘Fellows’ and ‘Patrons’ schemes and zoo memberships. 

Moreover, the various corporate sponsorships have helped this zoo a lot. The budget is also maintained by the Gift Aid charity donation scheme. Nonetheless, charitable events benefit the zoo for betterment.

8. Animal Escape

A huge chaos developed when ‘tea party’ chimpanzees escaped from their enclosure. However, in 2007 September this occurred.

Koko and Jonnie, in a way, shift from the London Zoo to The Gorilla Kingdom. During this shifting, they escaped from the chamber. 

However, Jonnie moved towards the public. But Koko obeyed one of the keepers. The trained firearms squad shot Jonnie.

Nevertheless, it was a safety measure for the people. Later the authorities faced a lot of criticism. 

Zoo in Luton
Source: Whispnade Zoo Official Site

Nonetheless, they explained that they didn’t want the public in trouble. The audience questioned why they didn’t use tranquillizers.

The zoo answered that they were not sure about tranquillizers. Moreover, they were in doubt that it would affect them or not. As a quick reaction, the zoo shot the chimpanzee, Jonnie. 

9. Objections

After delivering a stillborn calf, an elephant died in the zoo. This incident took place in 2002. However, people thought that the elephant, Anna, died due to the wrong treatment.

It’s stated that unnecessary surgery was carried out during the calf delivery. Nonetheless, later the authorities cleared the cause of death. The death was caused due to infection that is caused during stillbirth. 

9.1 The Incident

A threatening incident took place in 2021. While fleeing from the enclosure, two female bears were killed. However, these European brown bears were shot. The audience criticized the authorities for such an incident. 

The director of the charity Freedom for Animals, Sam Threadgill expressed that it’s an unfortunate incident. Moreover, the animals were shot for the safety of the people. It’s nothing less than a protective measure for visitors and other animals. 

Moreover, people questioned introducing tranquillizers to the animals. The tranquillizers took almost 20 minutes to affect the body.

So adding tranquillizers was not an option at that time. As an outcome, the zoo faced a lot of criticism around the globe.

10. Television Series Filming

Whipsnade Zoo has been set for many television series. However, Primeval had been shot over here. The famous BBC show “Super Vets” was filmed over here. 

Moreover, in 1991 an episode of Brum was shot here. The producers titled the episode “Safari Park.” 

Moreover, Jamie Oliver used the environment of the zoo for an advertisement. This took place in 2001. Nevertheless, season 1 of Merlin was filmed in the zoo.

Young, Dumb, and Living Off Mum’s tasks were organized here. Moreover, Tots TV has visited the Whipsnade Zoo too. 

Final Verdict 

Whipsnade Zoo is nothing but a treat to the eyes. It helps in exploring new species of animals. However, the public can observe the endangered species there.

However, animal exhibits attract visitors the most. Visiting this zoo will be valued at every penny. It’s one of the greatest places for animal lovers.

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