Over the last few years, BCA’s Animal Management Centre (AMC) has had a large amount of investment put into it which has transformed it into one of the UK’s best college animal care facilities. In addition to the upgrade in facilities and resources, the AMC has worked hard in creating industry links that will benefit the learning of our students and provide an experience that is invaluable for them to be able to develop their own practical skills.
The AMC houses around 1,400 individual animals consisting of 140 species. The AMC is broken down into five different sections so that students get the best opportunity to work with an array of different species, many of which are more familiar to a zoo setting:
BCA’s exotics house is one the largest of its kind in any UK educational facility. We house a large and diverse range of reptile, amphibian and invertebrate species, many of which are endangered. Our invertebrate collection in particular, is one of the largest in any UK college.
The exotic house facility provides students with the opportunity to work with a setup similar to that of a zoo, as well as being provided with several training rooms where they can practise their handling and husbandry skills.
Some of the species housed here are part of bigger projects. The Electric Blue Geckos that we have are a critically endangered species and the work that our students do with them will contribute towards creating husbandry guidelines for their successful care and breeding in captivity. BCA is also one of the institutes involved in ‘Project Lemur Frog’ which is spearheaded by the Manchester Museum.
For more information on ‘Project Lemur Frog’ please follow this link: www.lemurfrog.org
Small Mammals and Kennels
Our small mammal section consists of familiar domestic species such as rats, mice, hamsters, rabbits, guinea pigs and chinchillas, but it is also home to our nocturnal room which accommodates the not so common Elephant Shrews, Tenrecs and Long Eared Hedgehogs.
Our students are able to familiarise themselves with the handling and care of these animals whilst being in an environment which resembles what they might come across when working in the industry, with many of our domestic small mammals being housed in set-ups that you might find in some of the leading UK pet stores. Likewise, our nocturnal room is themed so that it would not look out of place in many of the UKS’s best zoos.
The BCA college estate accommodates our 450 award winning commercial ewe flock which consists of Cheviots, Pedigree Texel’s, Beltex and Aberdale crosses. The sheep are used to demonstrate and train students in how to gain a practical understanding of how a commercial flock is used and maintained.
We are working closely with industry partners Innovis, to be at the forefront of sustainable and efficient sheep production, by teaching and demonstrating to our students an economically efficient way of producing meat stock animals.
The farm livestock section also consists of various breeds of goats, poultry, camelids and pigs, all of which contribute towards showing students how to successfully care for and maintain animals of this nature.
We currently house such species as Wallaby, Emu, Genet, Agouti and Kookaburra but there is a big and exciting development taking place in the form of our zoo courtyard. The courtyard will house, over time, various ‘zoo’ species, such as otters, meerkats, porcupines, primates and various exotic birds, some of which are part of European studbooks and breeding programmes.
This new resource will provide students with a realistic outlook on how to work with those animals and enclosures that are more associated with being found in zoos. The species have been carefully selected so that students are able to demonstrate varying husbandry techniques, provide different diets and observe interesting behaviours, all of which will contribute towards each individual successfully completing their course.
At BCA we believe that the animals living on our doorstep are just as important as those found abroad and this is reflected in our British Wildlife Section. The section consists of spacious animal enclosures set in an area of woodland on the BCA estate. Among the species housed are Red Squirrel, Hazel Dormouse and European Polecat, all of which are part of collaborative projects with the intent of releasing individuals back into the wild. This has been achieved with another native species that we house, the Harvest Mouse.
The stars of the British Wildlife Section (and arguably the whole animal centre) are our Scottish Wildcats. We are the only college in the UK to house this species and we are proud to be working alongside a number of institutes to help preserve the status of these animals in the wild.
For more information on Scottish Wildcats visit this website: www.scottishwildcats.co.uk
Other facilities and resources include:
- Dog Kennels
- Student Workshop