Double Olympic Gold Medalist Rebecca Adlington Makes A Splash At The Award-Winning Yorkshire Wildlife Park

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Double Olympic Gold medalist Rebecca Adlington made a big splash at the award-winning Yorkshire Wildlife Park when she officially opened the new Giant Otter reserve. Rebecca, who won two gold medals in the 400m and 800m freestyle at the 2008 Beijing Olympics unveiled the new home for two endangered female Giant Otters as part of a project to help save the species. She said: “I would like to thank the YWP for asking me along to officially open the Giant Otter reserve today. It was great to see Mora and Alexandra close up and to get to feed them. I really hope the initiative helps save this wonderful species.” Rebecca agreed to do the official opening to lend her support to the work of the Yorkshire Wildlife Foundation. Giant Otters have been devastated by poaching for their velvety pelt and habitat degradation in their native South America, and their numbers have been reduced to fewer than 5,000.
Adlington At Yorkshire wildlife park 2Mora, 2, and Alexandra, 3, who both came from a zoo in Germany, have run of a sprawling 2835sq. metre reserve with a vast 2.5m deep lake. Giant otters can swim 100m in less than thirty seconds while Rebecca’s freestyle personal best for 200m was 1 minute 56 seconds in 2008. The reserve has been designed to resemble their natural wild river bank/wetlands habitat with sand and gravel banks around the water’s edge and raised areas so they can dry off and also dig their own dens in dry ground. Their house is 78sq. metres with two-metre-deep pools heated to 18 degrees. The Yorkshire Wildlife Park Foundation is an active supporter of a key project in remote areas of South America to preserve the Giant Otter threatened by deforestation, commercial fisheries, and increased industrialisation across the Amazon Basin. The charitable Foundation is funding a scheme to improve management and conservation and carry out a local field survey in the 90,000 hectare Cantao State Park, in Brazil, which is home to 700 species of birds and 300 species of fish.
The project will improve awareness of the Giant Otters and the need for conservation, and will create local jobs as 30 oxbow lakes and river channels will be constantly monitored and other areas surveyed. The new otter reserve will help visitors understand the species and their fight for survival. “It was a delight to welcome Rebecca to the park to open our new otter reserve and announce a new initiative to help Giants Otters in the wild through the Yorkshire Wildlife Park Foundation,” said Cheryl Williams. “We have put a lot of work into creating a safe and stimulating home for these beautiful animals who are sadly under threat and we hope to inspire our visitors to help us help them.”
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