The historic walled garden at Hartpury College has been transformed into a mini zoo with the opening of its new animal collection.
Meerkats, prairie dogs, exotic birds, rodents (including guinea pigs) and rabbits have officially moved into their new homes in purpose built enclosures in the heart of the campus.
The centre has been officially opened by Paul Probyn, from the Royal Veterinary College London, and Hartpury College Principal Russell Marchant.
Paul Probyn, Head of Academic Development at the Royal Veterinary College London, said: “I am very impressed by the new facilities at Hartpury. They are spacious, well-built and the animals are well-housed. There is also a broad range of species so students are able to get hands-on experience working with animals. This will make them very attractive to employers as they develop new skills that you can’t learn from a text book.
“Animal collections will also be of a huge benefit to students who aspire to study at veterinary medicine. They will be able to demonstrate at interview that they have the hands-on experience and knowledge of working with a range of different species.”
Hartpury College runs a range of Animal Management programmes for all levels including an exclusive pre-veterinary programme for A level students and graduates from its Bioveterinary and Animal Science degrees also go on to win places to train as a vet.
Principal Russell Marchant said: “Our animal courses – both diploma and degrees – are growing in popularity. We pride ourselves on producing students that are highly skilled, knowledgeable and employable. We will continue to invest in our animal facilities to ensure students have the opportunities to develop their knowledge and skills by working with a broad range of species.
“We also work with local schools throughout the year and the new animal collection will provide younger students with opportunities to get experience with animals.”