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Pumas arrive for Cromer Zoo opening

PUBLISHED: 15:27 02 April 2008 | UPDATED: 08:54 13 July 2010

TWO pumas set about exploring their new north Norfolk home yesterday as the first major arrivals to check in at an emerging tourist attraction.

The pair of big cats, which are sisters, were introduced to their new enclosure at Cromer Zoo, which is due to open in a few weeks.

TWO pumas set about exploring their new north Norfolk home yesterday as the first major arrivals to check in at an emerging tourist attraction.

The pair of big cats, which are sisters, were introduced to their new enclosure at Cromer Zoo, which is due to open in a few weeks.

One strutted around the pen, which has climbing trees and a two-bedroom cage at the back, but the other timidly stayed in its transport cage for a little longer when the pair were delivered yesterday morning.

The pumas, which live in North and South America in the wild, were bred in captivity at Salzburg in Austria.

They were bought over to the Britain last year to serve a six-month quarantine at Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens, near Yarmouth, whose owner Ken Sims has also created the Cromer attraction.

Mr Sims believed that Cromer would be one of only two zoos in Britain to house pumas, the other being in Dartmoor.

There are also plans to start breeding pumas by bringing a male to the zoo, which will house 80 different species on the 12-acre plot.

Work on the zoo began in November 2006 when the zoo won planning permission.

It hoped to open last summer but was delayed because of bad weather and problems in acquiring the animals.

This week, Mr Sims said there was no firm opening date, but he was still hoping it would be at the end of May - although he was keen to emphasise that it was dependent on the weather and getting a licence.

Zoo director Jim Irwin-Davis said it was “pretty exciting” to see the pumas in their new enclosure, and the zoo coming together after so much hard work.

The next big cats to arrive will be jaguars, but the next few weeks would be busy, said Mr Irwin-Davis, with the arrival of many more of the resident animals, including a flock of flamingos on a lake overlooked by the café.

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