25 August 2017

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Tactical Medical Wing lends a hand to the Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens

On Tuesday 22nd August, personnel from Tactical Medical Wing (TMW) based at RAF Brize Norton, attended the Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens, Burford, to help refurbish the animal enclosures.

A team of 9 personnel from Capability and Sustainability Squadron, TMW, were helping the small mammal and primate keepers refurbish the animal enclosures.

Tactical Medical Wing lends a hand to the Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens

The day began in the Colobus monkey enclosure, first the old netting was removed, the grounds and exterior cleaned and generally spruced up. Then new nets kindly donated by station (Special thanks to MSF Air cargo) were positioned and secured to the exterior bars utilising ladders, ropes and plenty of exertion.

After a hard mornings work, the team were treated to lunch kindly provided by the park staff. Keen to continue their hard work, this time in the smaller but more overgrown gibbon enclosure. The plan was the same but this time there was the added hazard of undergrowth, due to the gibbon monkey’s habit of staying suspended for the majority of its lifetime, which highlighted the importance to replace the old nets which were slick to the touch and soiled beyond what is safe for the animals.

Tactical Medical Wing lends a hand to the Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens

Once all the work had been done, personnel and the public were treated to the sight of the animals experiencing the novel change in their environment. The colobus were timid at first but were soon all over the new nets. The gibbons were a little distracted by the recently laid food but they did use the fresh rope swings to get at their feed.

Senior Aircraftman Technician Ross Smith, Medical and Dental Servicing Section Technician said: It’s good to see the monkeys actually using the nets we put up. They really looked like they were enjoying their new stuff. Doing work like this feels really rewarding knowing we have helped the park out doing something they would not have been able to do without us.”

Tactical Medical Wing lends a hand to the Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens

The personnel that took part got an admittedly hard day’s work, but it was a refreshing break from their sometimes claustrophobic clinical workshop and medical store rooms. All involved, be it Service Personnel, MOD Civil Servants or the Keepers supervising; can be justly proud of the work done that will not only benefit the animals at the park, but delight its visitors for years to come.

Mrs Natalie Horner, Deputy Section Head of Primates at Cotswold Wildlife Park & Gardens said: "Our Colobus and Siamang enclosures have been completely refurbished thanks to personnel from TMW at RAF Brize Norton. They not only did all of the hard work for us, they also kindly donated a bunch of dated cargo nets that we're perfect for our primates. We have a lot of happy monkeys on our hands now! It was a lot of fun for me on that day too. I was in charge of the refurbishment so I got to boss everyone around, it was especially fun because one of the guys happened to be my husband!"

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