Oaklawn Farm Zoo hoping to open, weather permitting, on March 25

John Decoste jdecoste@kingscountynews.ca
Published on March 17, 2016
Spring Colours

Published on 17 March 2016

<p>A male peacock shows off his colours to a flock of female peahens March 16 at Oaklawn Farm Zoo. Co-founder Gail Rogerson says the plan is for the zoo to open for the season on Good Friday, March 25, weather permitting.&nbsp;</p>

Photos by John DeCoste

King Lion

Published on 17 March 2016

<p>Sterk, one of three African lions at Oaklawn Farm Zoo near Aylesford, poses for the camera during a March 16 visit. Born at the zoo, Sterk is the eldest of the three lions in the Oaklawn Farm Zoo’s collection.&nbsp;</p>

Photos by John DeCoste

Hiding for Now

Published on 17 March 2016

<p>This female Australian wallaby at Oaklawn Farm Zoo gave birth earlier this year. Wallabies, like their close relatives the kangaroos, are marsupials, meaning they carry their young in a pouch until they reach a certain age. According to zoo co-founder Gail Rogerson, that will likely be “a while yet” in this case.</p>

Photos by John DeCoste

More Lions

Published on 17 March 2016

<p>Nyah, closest to the camera, is the only female African lion currently residing at Oaklawn Farm Zoo. Behind her in the photo is Obi, one of the zoo's two male lions.&nbsp;</p>

Photos by John DeCoste

Waiting for a New Arrival

Published on 17 March 2016

<p>This female bald eagle at Oaklawn Farm Zoo is currently nesting, having recently laid an egg. The female is one of two eagles, injured in the wild and no longer able to fly, which are currently on display at the zoo.</p>

Photos by John DeCoste

Injured, but Doing Fine

Published on 17 March 2016

<p>This male bald eagle at Oaklawn Farm Zoo can get off the ground, but is unable to fly due to half of its right wing having to be amputated due to injury. “They couldn’t survive in the wild anymore, but they’re getting along just fine here,” says Gail Rogerson of the raptors.</p>

Photos by John DeCoste

Baby Bunnies

Published on 17 March 2016

<p>This group of baby rabbits at Oaklawn Farm Zoo are eagerly awaiting Easter when it arrives on March 27.&nbsp;</p>

Photos by John DeCoste

Native to South America

Published on 17 March 2016

<p>These Patagonian maras (Dolichotis patagonum), a species native to South America, are among the collection at Oaklawn Farm Zoo. Despite having long ears and a body resembling a small deer, they are actually large rodents.</p>

Photos by John DeCoste

Bigger Than Most Babies

Published on 17 March 2016

<p>The ‘babies’ come in all different sizes at Oaklawn Farm Zoo. This pony, or mini-horse as Gail Rogerson calls it, is one of the bigger ones.</p>

Photos by John DeCoste

Lots of Stripes

Published on 17 March 2016

<p>These zebras normally stay inside at night this time of year, but were taking advantage of the spring-like weather March 16 to spend some time outside. The young one in the centre doesn’t quite have all his stripes yet.</p>

Photos by John DeCoste

Moms and Babies

Published on 17 March 2016

<p>The baby goats were staying quite close to their mothers during our March 16 visit to Oaklawn Farm Zoo, but both generations had no problem allowing our photographer into their enclosure to snap a photo.</p>

Photos by John DeCoste

New Arrivals

Published on 17 March 2016

<p>The small capybara in the centre is one of three born at Oaklawn Farm Zoo last Christmas Eve. Along with the one born last June, the two adult capybaras, the only examples of the species currently living in captivity in Nova Scotia, now have four offspring in all.&nbsp;</p>

Photos by John DeCoste

A Labour of Love

Published on 17 March 2016

<p>Gail Rogerson and her husband Ron first opened Oaklawn Farm Zoo in 1984. Npw entering its 32nd season, it has become the largest private zoo in Nova Scotia and a must-see destination for Kings County tourists and local residents alike.</p>

Photos by John DeCoste

Ready for Visitors

Published on 17 March 2016

<p>Oaklawn Farm Zoo near Aylesford is all ready to open for the season, weather permitting, on Good Friday, March 25.</p>

Photos by John DeCoste

AYLESFORD - Oaklawn Farm Zoo, an Aylesford-area institution for more than three decades, will hopefully be able to open for the season March 25, according to co-founder Gail Rogerson.

“This will be our 32nd season,” Rogerson said March 16. A Good Friday opening “will be weather-permitting,” but if it happens, it will mark one of their earliest openings.

“We usually try to open for the season on Easter weekend,” Rogerson said, “and this year, Easter is about as early as it gets (March 27).”

Rogerson is one who will be glad to see an earlier spring, and better weather, than last year, when it was nearly May before the zoo was able to open for the season.

“It’s been a much better winter this year,” she said. “Last year this time, I was still cross-country skiing.”

Just because the zoo isn’t officially open all winter doesn’t mean it still isn’t a busy time for Rogerson, her husband (and zoo co-founder) Ron and the rest of their staff.

“There are lots of little goats and lambs (that have been born since last fall).” In addition to a baby capybara born last June, “there were three born on Christmas Eve.”

A female wallaby gave birth to a baby, which is currently in its mother’s pouch, “and likely will be there for some time yet.”

The zoo has a pair of bald eagles who are unable to fly due to injuries to their wings suffered in the wild.

“They were captured and transported to the vet college on P.E.I.” where they underwent surgery. The male eagle had to have part of its right wing amputated.

After a rehabilitation period, the two bald eagles were donated to Oaklawn. "They aren't able to survive in the wild anymore, but they're getting along just fine here," she said. The female eagle laid an egg this year, which she is currently nursing.

Other zoo residents who have been born since last fall include baby rabbits, Jacob sheep, goats and ponies, as well as the capybaras, which are the only examples of their species currently in captivity in Nova Scotia.

Oaklawn Farm Zoo is located on Ward Road in Millville, about 3 km south of the Village of Aylesford. It first opened in 1984, and is family-owned and operated by the Rogersons.

The zoo boasts a wide range of animals, some quite exotic, including the largest display of big cats and primates in Eastern Canada.

Once open for the season, the zoo will be open from 10 a.m. to dusk daily, including weekends and holidays, until mid-November or the first major snowfall.

For more information on Oaklawn Farm Zoo, visit www.oaklawnfarmzoo.ca or their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Oaklawnfarmzoo.