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Whipsnade Wild Animal Park

788 of 1170 nominations

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Whipsnade Wild Animal Park

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Whipsnade Wild Animal Park

The English have always been committed naturalists and the learned men who founded the Zoological Society of London and the London Zoo in 1826 were no exception. Whipsnade Wild Animal Park was created to allow the study of animals in a natural environment, something which the smaller site of the zoo in Regent’s Park couldn't provide. They found a 600-acre site at Hall Farm, near Whipsnade village in the Chiltern Hills, and the animals were able to take up residence in 1928.

The first inhabitants were possibly not what we would consider to be very “wild” (being three pheasants and five red jungle fowl) but deer, llamas, wombats and skunks soon followed, and elephants, rhinos and pandas have all been residents at one time. The innovation was the openness of the park, giving the animals freedom to roam, and this liberty was extended to the first human visitors who arrived in 1931. The animals suffered the privations of rationing and cold along with their keepers during the second world war, but Whipsnade has continued to develop as an important centre for research and conservation of wildlife worldwide.

NOMINATION 788 OF 1170

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The brainchild of Sir Peter Chalmers Mitchell of the Zoological Society of London. Whipsnade was opened in 1931 on the Dunstable Downs, beautiful countryside in the heart of Bedfordshire. Whipsnade was a revolutionary idea of an open air zoo in the countryside, where animals would occupy large enclosures instead of cages. Even famous author Gerald Durrell spent some of his formative years as a keeper at Whipsnade Park. Today the park is one of the foremost zoos in the UK, and is involved in conservation of wildlife across the globe.

Paul Holgate


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My favourite Icon of England has to be the Cornish Pasty.

Ian Baldry

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