Wednesday, 6 July 2016

The Homeschool Files : Branféré Wildlife Park

As home educators we do like field trips. Last Wednesday we headed South to La Guerno and the Branféré wildlife park (site in French for info in English try here or here). Unlike at a zoo, none of the animals at Branféré are behind bars. They roam around large green spaces and we the visitors must keep to our paths while we roam around and enjoy the show.

Like these lovely Alpacas who'll sometimes even let you get up close and personal...
Baby Alpaca nursing

Or these Dromodaries who seemed very chilled out but kept their distance...

Dromodaires resting

The plentiful Wallabies look very friendly but remained quite shy during our visit. The kids spent a lot of time trying to see if there was anybody in the pouches...

A thoughtful Wallaby

This layout means that sometimes you have to stop to let birds like this cross the path... 
This Peacock is magnificent and knows it!

But Lotta, our youngest's all time favourite animals at Branféré were these guys. Seeing them up close really gives you an idea of just how long those necks are.


I know there are probably some of you who have the same kind of concerns as we do about visiting animals in captivity. Without a doubt the best place for all wild animals is as their name implies, in the wild.  We do not take our children to zoos anymore. We've visited some of the best in our time and even from those we took away an overwhelming sense of sadness to see such magnificent animals as tigers and lions confined in such small spaces.

Branféré's concept is however a far cry from more traditional zoos and is supported by their strong commitment to educating people about biodiversity and helping the environment. For many of the animals this is a lovely setting. You can see the animals are in great condition and clearly well cared for. However, it isn't perfect. For the giraffes and wolves and some of the marine wildlife like otters, I couldn't help but feel they must suffer from such reduced circumstances so to speak. 

For our family, Branféré worked. We had a wonderful day out with good friends and learnt more about animals we've enjoyed studying at home. We didn't shy away from our concerns for the animals but discussed them openly. We also talked about the environmental problems and the human behaviour which means that so many animals are under threat in their natural habitat. Our enjoyment was undoubtedly helped by the sites educational stance and the bird show one of the best I've ever seen - pictures coming soon!

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