Pipes Recycled Into Custom Love Nest for Honey Badgers

Wed, 16/06/2010 - 1:00am

Keepers at Howletts: The Aspinall Wild Animal Park have concocted an innovative way to recycle concrete pipes donated to the park by neighbouring Kent based firm, Milton Precast.  The pipes were used to create a state of the art ‘Love-nest' for long time Howletts resident Honey Badger, 25 year old female Winnie, ahead of the arrival of her new mate, 4 year old male Tyson.

Winnie's long time mate, Boris, sadly died last year, so keepers were overjoyed to hear that a new male, Tyson, would finally be arriving from Edinburgh Zoo in April to keep Winnie company. However, Tyson was a renowned escape artist, so staff decided to update Winnie's enclosure before he arrived. Integral to this refurbishment was a new living area for the badgers.

Enrichment & Research Officer, Mark Kingston Jones, who is responsible for assisting the keepers with enrichment and studying the effects of improving the lives of the animals cared for at both Howletts and Port Lympne, commented:

‘It was important that Winnie and her new mate had a suitable area to retire and have privacy, especially as they are only just getting to know one another. Honey Badgers are semi nocturnal and live in burrows in the wild, and we wanted to replicate their living preferences as closely as we could'

Help came in the form of a donation from Milton Precast, the largest independent manufacturer of precast concrete drainage products in the UK which is based near to the Canterbury Wild Animal Park in Sittingbourne, Kent. Milton Precast donated 2 large 5' by 3' pipes, 8 smaller pipes and 2 ‘biscuits' or lids, which were used to construct a spacious underground home for the happy couple before Tyson's arrival.

The burrow has 4 runs travelling into two large central areas, which were covered in earth to replicate the Honey Badgers natural living environment. While the new burrow is a spacious and private haven for the Tyson and Winnie, Keepers are still able to remove the biscuits to clean inside. Tyson arrived soon after the completion and romance seems to have blossomed between the pair.  

Mark commented:

‘The new burrow system has been a huge success and we are hugely grateful to Milton Precast. We are often looking for unusual materials to make enrichment items and it is great to work with local firms to come up with innovative solutions that not only recycle old or unwanted materials but also enrich the lives of our animals.'