Meet a Furry Friend at Amazon World

Just down the road from me in Newchurch, is a little piece of South America known as Amazon World.

I took my daughter there the other day, and even though she has been countless times since we have lived on the Isle of Wight, she still loves it because it seems to be forever changing and developing. The zoo seems to have been constantly evolving, improving facilities and enclosures and now the whole experience is very atmospheric. 

If it’s furry friends you are after there are plenty of furry animals to choose from at Amazon World. There are several species of monkeys, such as the White Faced Saki Monkey (he was perfectly pleasant to me) and the Black Howler Monkey (kept laughing). They have some primates too like the Ring Tailed Lemurs that you can have jump all over you if you choose to walk around their enclosure, although the day we visited this experience wasn’t available. 

Some of my favourite furry creatures are in the new nocturnal area, which is accessed through one of many curtains of plastic acting as an animal/environment barrier between the zones. This feeling of going from one zone to another always gives me the impression I’m playing in an episode of The Crystal Maze.

This darkened zone houses fascinating creatures, such as the Kinkajous (also known as honey bears), cute rainforest mammals that playfully run about in the dark balancing on branches and playing peekaboo through holes in their nest. It’s not completely dark and special lightning enables visitors to see their ‘nighttime’ antics. Some of my other favourites in this area are the Slow Loris and it’s smaller cousin (and harder to spot) Pygmy Slow Loris. The Southern Tamandua is so cute too, like a furry anteater. 

There’s more fur than you can shake a brush at as you explore the zoo, from furry tarantulas to the sleekly pacing ocelot. The zoo actually even has a Larger Hairy Armadillo! Believe it or not, there is also a Lesser ‘Screaming’Hairy Armadilloalthough it was fairly quiet when I saw it.

But I think the furry creature I would most want to be my friend is the heavily endangered Red Panda, which is actually native to China and the Himalayas. They are outside and seem to really enjoy the rain. They day we visited, one panda was curled up asleep in the rain, and the other was sheltering, looking out at us. It looked so cute and, if I’m honest, a little bit cold. I can honestly say I have helped feed these lovely cute pandas because some time ago the zoo asked the public if they had any bamboo to help feed them. I contacted the zoo to say I had so much bamboo sprouting up I’d be glad to donate it. The zoo agreed and even came around to dig it up. 

I love Amazon World and think their continued conservation efforts, educational information and changing experience for the visitor makes it one of my top fav spots to visit on the Island. It’s also perfect for a cold winter rainy day as the majority of the animals are housed inside. You’ll also be supporting a zoo and helping them feed their animals outside of the tourist season.

And maybe, if you’re lucky, you’ll even meet a furry friend.

Philip Bell Author Photo by Chris Cowley

21 December 2018

By Philip Bell in The locals' blogs

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