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ABOUT

Watatunga is a stunning new wildlife reserve in west Norfolk.  Situated amongst 170 acres of woodland, grassland and lakes, Watatunga provides a unique environment for over twenty types of ungulate and rare bird species to roam at their will.   We run breeding programmes for many of our species including the Malayan sambar, hog deer, barasingha and the great bustard, a spectacular bird which went extinct in the U.K. in 1832.

Access to the reserve is via guided tour only and must be pre-booked online via our website.  We also offer luxurious self-catering accommodation with stunning views of the animals and the option to organise private tours for small groups in our electric buggies or large groups in our safari trailer. 

Step inside Watatunga and be part of conservation today for wildlife tomorrow.

UNGULATE SPECIES LIST

If you are visiting to see a specific species, please contact us in advance to ensure it is on site.  At certain times of year we move species off site to prevent hybridisation or avoid over grazing and supplementary feeding.

Axis deer – Axis axis
Blackbuck – Antilope cervicapra
Chinese water-deer – Hydropotes inermis
Fallow deer – Dama dama
Nilgai – Boselaphus tragocamelus
Western roe deer Capreolus capreolus
Scimitar-horned oryx – Oryx dammah
Sitatunga – Tragelaphus spekii
Roan antelope – Hippotragus equinus
Père David’s deer – Elaphurus davidianus

Mountain Bongo – Tragelaphus eurycerus isaaci

Barasingha (Western swamp deer) Rucervus duvaucelii
Blesbok – Damaliscus pygargus phillipsi
Hog deer – Axis porcinus porcinus
Red deer – Cervus elaphus
Mouflon – Ovis orientalis
Indian sambar deer – Rusa unicolor
Kafue Flats LechweKobus leche kafuensis

Nile Lechwe – Kobus megaceros
White-lipped deer – Cervus albirostris
Water buffalo – Bubalus bubalis
Manchurian sika deer – Cervus nippon mantchuricus 

ED POPE

ED POPE

Founder, Watatunga.

Ed is a full-time arable farmer who inherited his father’s fascination with Africa and in particular, the many antelope and gazelle species which he discovered there. Proud to be able to name every species of British duck by the age of four, Ed has long been an admirer of Sir Peter Scott and his generation of maverick conservationists. Now a father himself, Ed would like to pass on the genius of nature’s complex systems to the next generation but recognises that it will take much more than a few individuals to ensure that our planet’s precious biodiversity can survive. That’s why Ed is so passionate about establishing Watatunga’s education work and ensuring that young people are empowered to tackle the challenges ahead.

With a background in agriculture, a seven-year stint in the city and a busy farm to run, Ed has not followed a conventional route into conservation. However more recent trips to Africa with his sister Annabel, an internationally renowned wildlife artist, made him increasingly aware of the pressure that habitat loss and hunting were exerting on many of the species he had grown to love. Ed is also involved in an international collaboration to reintroduce the Great Bustard to the U.K. and is proud to have the only Norfolk specimens of this little known bird which went extinct in the U.K. in 1832.

JULIAN STOYEL

JULIAN STOYEL

Animal Consultant, Watatunga.

Julian is widely recognised as the leading deer conservationist in Europe.  Now an advisor to the board of ungulate management the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the world’s most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of biological species, he is a founding member of the Watatunga team. Having set up Red Oak Genetics, a consultancy business, Julian travels the length and breadth of the UK advising zoos, safari parks and private collectors as to how to ensure the best possible conditions for their stock within the constraints in which they operate.

Julian has always longed to create a reserve where the animal’s privacy and habitat is awarded equal importance to the visitor experience.  He has seen first-hand the powerful results this can have on breeding programmes and he believes that Watatunga is unique in combining these two elements.  Julian drives Watatunga’s genetics work, collaborating with universities across Europe to monitor our stock and ensuring that previously forgotten species are awarded the attention that they deserve through work with bodies such as EAZA Deer TAG.

ANNA HAMILTON

ANNA HAMILTON

Accommodation and Education, Watatunga.

Anna has a track record of getting young people outside and having fun. Having trained as a primary school teacher, she has taught in locations as diverse as the Ecuadorian Amazon, Croydon, Lambeth and Rome and in each setting has been a passionate advocate of outdoor learning. Anna works part-time for Watatunga, developing the educational aspects of the park and managing our communications and self-catering accommodation.

JONATHAN USHER SMITH

JONATHAN USHER SMITH

Reserve Manager, Watatunga.

Jono grew up with a veritable menagerie of orphaned and rescued animals running round the house and followed in his parents’ footsteps into the world of conservation, volunteering from a young age in the wildlife park his father was managing. He is passionate about the conservation and management of native species and improving biodiversity.

Moving away from work with native species, he worked for a variety of different collections, expanding his animal husbandry knowledge and learning about conservation and reintroduction programmes around the world. It became clear to him that there is a real need to improve the zoo community’s knowledge and management of deer and antelope held in captivity, from husbandry through to genetics and he is particularly proud of having set up the husbandry guidelines for European Elk.

Jono brings twenty-five years of experience of working with a wide range of animals in zoos across the U.K. and is responsible for the health and well-being of the animals as well as the curation of the reserve at Watatunga. You will meet Jono leading tours with Dee or out amongst our animals in the reserve

SARAH WRIGHT

SARAH WRIGHT

Sarah discovered her love of animal conservation while volunteering on a scuba diving project in Mexico. This influenced her life’s work and has so far taken her to several other countries including South Africa where she qualified as a Safari Guide and lead big 5 safaris in the Kruger National Park. After returning to the UK, she worked as an Animal Keeper, expanding her knowledge of animal husbandry, welfare and enrichment. This inspired her current award-winning doggy day-care business which she runs alongside her role as a guide at Watatunga.

With a love for wild spaces both in the U.K. and overseas, Sarah takes great pleasure in passing on her knowledge about the natural world and her passion for wildlife to her two young children – and now also to everyone she meets on tour!

ALEX DOUGLAS

ALEX DOUGLAS

Alex cannot remember a time she wasn’t fascinated by nature and wildlife. Training as a teacher she worked in the Channel Islands and volunteered at the Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust. Moving to South Africa was a dream come true as she spent the majority of her time there guiding in the Kruger National Park and other National reserves such as Hluhluwe/Umfolozi in KwaZulu Natal. The call of Norfolk and her family saw her returning home and she was amazed to discover Watatunga. She joined the team at the end of last season and relishes the opportunities to share the amazing and unique stories of the animals and birds in our custodianship. Alex cannot imagine a planet without these rare and endangered species and is determined to help as many people as possible to appreciate, value and conserve them for future generations through the safaris she guides at Watatunga Wildlife Reserve

Conservation Today for Wildlife Tomorrow

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