A favourite with visitors, our female cape barren goose Lucy has two special reasons to celebrate this week. Not only is she sharing her 21st birthday with the centre, but despite being well into her twilight years, Lucy’s finally managed to snare herself a mate – a Hawaiian goose toyboy some 19 years her junior and nearly half her size!
Centre Manager Nigel Williams, said: “Lucy has long been a special favourite of visitors and staff at the centre at Llanelli over the years because of her quirky appearance and friendly nature. She and her sister were one of the first residents here at the centre when it was opened back in April 1991.
“She seemed perfectly happy living the quiet life with her sister in the grounds, but since her sister died 5 years ago Lucy’s obviously been revelling in her single status and decided it was high time she got herself a toyboy! It’s lovely to watch the young male Nene (Hawaiian goose) fussing over her, they look like such an odd couple.”
Lucy’s Nene toyboy doesn’t have a name yet – we’d love you to suggest one! You can add your suggestions to the lists in the shop and on the information desk, or email them to us at email@example.com. We will choose the best name and the winner will receive a free family membership! To see more photos of Lucy with her toyboy, like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/wwtllanelli.
Also celebrating its ‘coming of age’ this week the centre has stacked up an impressive list of achievements since it was opened by Sir David Attenborough 21 years ago this week.
Nigel said: “More than one million visitors have been to the centre since it opened in 1991 to enjoy the stunning wetland landscapes, marvel at the amazing wildlife the diverse habitat here attracts, and get nose to beak with exotic birds from all over the world.”
In celebration of 21 years of the successful creation and management of rare and wonderful habitats and species, the bringing of people and wildlife together, the keeping an amazing collection of wetland birds from all over the world and to winning awards for these successes. Here are 21 of WWT Llanelli’s top achievements so far:
1. Transforming 200 acres of farmland and former industrial sites into natural wetland habitat and managed for wildlife and people
2. Establishing and developing an award-winning WWT visitor centre for people to explore and find out about wetland wildlife
3. Increasing the biodiversity of this area with records of some 1400 species of birds, mammals, plants, invertebrates and amphibians
4. Creating nationally important saline lagoon habitat saltmarsh for invertebrates and over wintering birds
5. Creating and managing winter habitat for over 20,000 nationally and internationally important wetland birds
6. Planting 7 acres of reed bed habitat in the Millennium Wetlands for bittern and summer migrants
7. Recording 21 of the 40 species of dragonfly in the UK on site
8. Having 100,000 starlings roost on site during the winter of 2011
9. Recording no less than 5 species of owl on site
10. Providing habitat to allow little egrets to colonise the site and peak at almost 400 individuals in 2006
11. Having the Millennium Wetlands area of the reserve designated a Key Site for water voles in UK
12. Welcoming more than a million visitors through the doors of the centre since 1991
13. Creating 2.5 miles of wheelchair-friendly paths and hides
14. Providing top class hands-on, outdoor learning to over 100,000 school children
15. Establishing our canoe safari in 2007 – one of the most family friendly in Wales
16. Developing a 500-strong collection of 70 species of ducks geese and swans from all over the world for our visitors to experience up close
17. Being one of the only places in Wales where you can see a flock of bright pink Caribbean flamingos
18. Llanelli’s flock of Caribbean flamingos successfully raising the orphaned lesser flamingo chick, Seren, in 2011
19. Receiving the ‘visitor attraction with style’ accolade in the Swansea Sound / Wave Radio 2008 Style Awards.
20. Winning ‘Top Day Out’ in the first ever Carmarthenshire Tourism Awards in 2009
21. Receiving Silver and bronze awards in the Carmarthenshire Tourism Awards 2011