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A little bit of animal passions at Marwell
10:57am Thursday 14th February 2013 in News
ANIMAL passion! The creatures at Marwell Wildlife near Winchester show it is not only humans who enjoy a kiss and cuddle on Valentine's Day.
A loving peck, an affectionate nuzzle, a clinch here and there - the animal kingdom is no sloth when it comes to the mating game.
Even the pygmy hippos, Nato and Wendy, like to get up close and personal.
Now humans are invited for a “romantic stroll” around the zoo this Valentine's Day.
Head of marketing, Paul Simmons, said: “We know a lot of couples visit on Valentine's Day and some people even get engaged here.
“Our snow leopards, Irina and Indeever, really seem to love each other. We have photos of them snuggling and kissing. They are especially inspiring for romantic couples.”
Among the animals which mate for life are penguins.
Ralf the balding penguin became a celebrity in 2010 when he was fitted with a wetsuit to help him with his seasonal baldness.
Soon the 14-year-old Humboldt penguin could have a new spring in his step. He and his mate, Coral, are already parents and are expected to add to their family.
Mr Simmons said: “Ralf is such a character and a good father. That is why he needed the wetsuit. Previously we kept him indoors to protect his sensitive skin from the sun and cold.
“But then he needed to be outdoors to be on father duty.”
Zoo keepers are keeping their fingers crossed for more snow leopard cubs and a pygmy hippo calf this year.
They are also hope Amur leopards, Akin and Kaia, will produce offspring in the near future too. With only 35 Amur Leopards left in the wild, a new arrival would be a major cause for celebration.