29 Nov 2011 02:11:20
Renewable technology helps giant otter and friends stay warm
As one of the world’s rarest animals, the magnificent South American giant otter is a real treat for visitors to the South Lakes Wild Animal Park in Cumbria and now, thanks to the installation of renewable technology by Hecol Ltd, the animals – and their furry friends – are provided with energy efficient heating and ventilation, all year round.
Hecol, which operates throughout the UK, has installed renewable technology from Mitsubishi Electric including seven Ecodan® air source heat pumps at the animal park, with one 5kW unit, three 8.5kW units and three 14kW units providing heating and hot water for the animal homes – including the otter house, and hot water and heating to the offices and the veterinary centre. This is the first stage with more to come as the new expansion plans for the park come to fruition.
“We have also installed a Mitsubishi Electric Lossnay system in the otter house to provide fresh air in the most energy efficient way possible,” explains Brendon Uys. “Lossnay not only recovers the heat from the outgoing stale air to reduce energy use, it also allows the Park owners to switch it to provide free cooling in the summer.”
The Cumbrian animal park is one of only two UK zoos where the public can see this amazing animal – Pteronura brasliensis – which is native to the rivers and lakes of the South American rainforest. With a body length of up to two metres, it is the longest of all river otters and has a highly developed social behaviour, living in groups of up to 10 individuals, who hunt, sleep, and play together. This is one of the most endangered species in South America with an estimated 2,000-5,000 left in isolated pockets due to hunting, pollution and habitat destruction.
The park was built in 1993 by David Gill, an animal nutritionist with a desire to see education and conservation brought into the public awareness by the reality of a close, wild experience. He built the park with his own hands and to this day, still designs and builds all the facilities around the zoo now with the help and assistance of the large staff.
“You can see how important the care of the animals is to David and his team and that conservation is at the heart of everything,” added Brendon Uys. “That is why it was important to provide a sustainable choice for the heating and ventilation systems so that the otters and all the other animals have a comfortable environment in the most energy-efficient way possible.”