We want you to have a great visit with us. Please be aware of our terms and conditions before booking:
- Online tickets must be purchased at least 1 day in advance of the intended visit date
- Tickets are non-refundable and non-transferable.
- There is no additional charge to view the polar bear
- With the exception of fully trained guide dogs, no dogs or pets are allowed in the Park. For more information including nearby kennel facilities please click here.
- We cannot guarantee that any of our animals will be on show at any one time.
- In extreme weather conditions we may have to close the Park.
- Online ticket purchasers are reminded that for operational, technical, safety or animal welfare reasons any advertised exhibit or attraction or any of the onsite facilities may be closed, removed, altered or otherwise unavailable at any time. the Highland Wildlife Park reserves the right to alter or cancel any presentation or feeding time without notice if required.
- On busy days, visitors to the Park will be guided to park in a particular order so as to maximise available space on site
- Before booking please review our full terms and conditions.
03/03/2019 in Highland Wildlife Park
Above: Head keeper Una Richardson, inspects the pine hoverfly larvae at RZSS Highland Wildlife Park
We have an exciting new species in our charge here at the Park - the pine hoverfly!
The breeding project, previously hosted at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo, has been relocated to the Wildlife Park, where the conditions are more favourable and the site is surrounded by the species natural habitat.
In the wild, the pine hoverfly lives in ancient pine forests, laying their eggs in rotten tree stumps. Due to loss of suitable habitat their population has severely declined and captive breeding is necessary to boost the native population in their last remaining habitat in the UK - Cairngorms National Park.
Above: Pine hoverfly larvae waiting to pupate
Pine hoverflies play an important role in the ecosystem as a pollinator, which has increasing significance with the decline of bee species. The larvae also helps to recycle natural debris on the forest floor.
Breeding pine hoverflies in captivity is not straight forward. To ensure we give the project the best chance of success we are working alongside RSPB Abernethy, Scottish Natural Heritage and the Forestry Commission. We were also delighted to welcome Dr Ellen Rotheray to the Park, an expert on the species, and to date, the only individual to successfully breed the species through a full life cycle in captivity. Dr Ellen studied this species as part of her PhD and it was extremely valuable to be able to learn from her experience as we develop our plans and facilities for this project.
Above: Looking for pine hoverfly in Cairngorms National Park with Dr Ellen Rotheray
Below: Pine hoverfly larvae
As with our conservation programmes with wildcats and Amur leopards, we have developed a special breeding habitat from them away from public areas. Unfortunately, this does mean that the project will not be visible directly to our visitors, however we do plan to provide regular updates both online and through our interpretation at the Park. At present the hoverflies are in a larval form, but we will be monitoring them closely in the coming weeks as they are to due to pupate, with flies hopefully emerging in the summer.