Park finds to aid animal welfare

Hands-on help for animals: residents and guests at The Elms' wildlife day get a real feel for conservation
Hands-on help for animals: residents and guests at The Elms’ wildlife day get a real feel for conservation

Meerkats, pythons and a giant toise raised both smiles and funds for animal welfare this August at The Elms retirement park in Lincolnshire.

The exotic guests were the centrepiece of a well-attended wildlife discovery day at the Torksey park, held for residents and their friends and families.

But the animals – which also included a bearded dragon, barn owl, lizard, raccoon and a skunk  – weren’t just there to be admired by everyone.

That’s because the children and grown-ups in attendance were able to enjoy a hands-on experience by petting and even holding some of them in their arms.

All the park asked for in return was a small donation for any photographs taken, with all the proceeds supporting animal welfare and conservation bodies.

The Elms provides some 300 park homes in tranquil rural surroundings
The Elms provides some 300 park homes in tranquil rural surroundings

Tracey Coulson, a director of The Elms and a member of the park-owning family, said the day had proved a fantastic success for all ages:

“It was a great experience for everyone, and the animal experts present did a superb job in telling us about the different species, and how they were working to protect them,” said Tracey.

“We have around three hundred homes on the park, and many of the residents came along and also invited other members of their families, including lots of children.

“Actually getting touch and hold the animals was especially thrilling for youngsters and adults alike, and I’m sure the close encounters will create some lovely memories.

“Residents and guests were also very generous with their donations, and the park has received a big thank-you from the organisers for supporting their work,” added Tracey.

The animals were brought along by Meercats And More which visits schools and other institutions to provide education about wildlife and some of the threats it faces.

The Elms, said Tracey, has been a long-time champion of protecting the natural world, and is a proud long-time holder of the prestigious annual David Bellamy Conservation Award.

The accolade recognises the raft of initiatives taken by the park to help protect the many different animal, plant and bird species which thrive in its 60-acre grounds.

Tracey said that since the park was started by her farming family 35 years ago, it has always tried to ensure that the natural environment was given a major priority.

Residents at The Elms, she said, were enthusiastic supporters of its policies, and many play their part in helping to safeguard the native flora and fauna.

Examples included siting nesting boxes in their gardens, and growing high nectar-bearing flowers which provide foraging for honey bees, butterflies and other pollinators.

There is more information about the park on its website at