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Animal antics including a teddy bears’ picnic on the menu at Cromer zoo’s birthday celebrations

PUBLISHED: 18:22 23 June 2018 | UPDATED: 09:33 25 June 2018

Amazona Zoo owner Benji Cabbell-Manners (right) with, from left: son Hughie, general assistant Erin Barber and head keeper Imogen White
Photo: KAREN BETHELL

Amazona Zoo owner Benji Cabbell-Manners (right) with, from left: son Hughie, general assistant Erin Barber and head keeper Imogen White Photo: KAREN BETHELL

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Cromer’s Amazona Zoo celebrated its 10th anniversary with a fun-packed day of events, including competitions, a teddy bears’ picnic and a whole host of animal activities.

Keeper Ellie Pollard introduces a resident of Amazona Zoo's guinea pig village to Clare Field and her daughters Maicia, 8, and Theodora, 3
Photo: KAREN BETHELLKeeper Ellie Pollard introduces a resident of Amazona Zoo's guinea pig village to Clare Field and her daughters Maicia, 8, and Theodora, 3 Photo: KAREN BETHELL

The popular attraction, which last year welcomed more than 55,000 visitors, was opened on the Cromer Hall estate in 2008 by former British Zoos Federation chairman Ken Sims, who also owned Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens, near Great Yarmouth.

After Mr Sims retired four years ago, Cromer Hall owner Benji Cabbell-Manners and his family took over the reins, adding more animal exhibits, as well as an indoor ‘Jungle Tumbles’ soft play area and an outdoor adventure playground with giant air-filled jumping pillows.

Seven-year-old Cory Chapman, of Mundesley, poses for a photo with Paddington Bear at Amazona Zoo's 10th birthday celebrations
Photo: KAREN BETHELLSeven-year-old Cory Chapman, of Mundesley, poses for a photo with Paddington Bear at Amazona Zoo's 10th birthday celebrations Photo: KAREN BETHELL

As well as being home to exotic animals including tapirs, spider monkeys, marmosets and flamingos, the zoo has a feline forest with ocelots, pumas and a jaguar, a tropical house with snakes, lizards and spectacled caiman and an aviary with Amazonian birds ranging from parrots, to macaws, many of which are adopted former pets.

It has successfully bred squirrel monkeys, marmosets and the hare-like Patagonian mara, runs an adopt-an-animal scheme and is the main sponsor of a research programme into the life of the critically endangered Titicaca river frog, the numbers of which have declined by 80pc in the past thirty years.

Family fun on the jumping pillows at Amazona Zoo's 10th birthday celebrations
Photo: KAREN BETHELLFamily fun on the jumping pillows at Amazona Zoo's 10th birthday celebrations Photo: KAREN BETHELL

“I think we in a fantastic spot and the zoo is doing masses of good,” Mr Cabbell-Manners said. “Coming here is a great way for the general public to see and understand what is happening in the rain forest in South America and I think we play a role in raising awarenesss and keeping the animals’ bloodlines going.”

Weekend visitors had a chance to meet Paddinton Bear, go on a ‘bear hunt’ trail around the zoo and win prizes in a raffle raising funds for the Spectacled Bear Conservation Society.

Amazona Zoo tapirs Ennis and Lutador
Photo: KAREN BETHELLAmazona Zoo tapirs Ennis and Lutador Photo: KAREN BETHELL

“We have been going for ten years and have been a huge success, but we have also had fantastic support from the local community and we wanted to celebrate that too,” Mr Cabbell-Manners said. For opening times and more information, visit www.amazonazoo.co.uk

Family fun on the jumping pillows at Amazona Zoo's 10th birthday celebrations
Photo: KAREN BETHELLFamily fun on the jumping pillows at Amazona Zoo's 10th birthday celebrations Photo: KAREN BETHELL

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