Bye-bye Basil

We’ve said so long to one of our reindeer, Basil, who has gone north to join an animal centre in Yorkshire.

The 18-month-old male reindeer, pictured in the centre training for his Christmas grotto duties last year, left us to live with a new herd at Kirkleatham Owl Centre in Redcar.

DZG Assistant Curator Jay Haywood said: “Basil was approaching breeding age and it was the right time for him to move on.

“He was collected from here and his new keepers have promised to give us on update on how he’s doing, so we look forward to hearing his news.”

It leaves us with a total of 11 reindeer and, before long, some of them will be gearing up for their festive duties – just like Basil did.

Each year the reindeer wear halters and harnesses to be walked up to 11th century castle courtyard so youngsters can see them when they come to visit Santa in his Winter Wonderland grotto.

Kirkleatham Owl Centre, founded in 1990, is located in the grounds of the 1709 Kirkleatham Old Hall and is the UK’s oldest established owl centre. Over the years the collection has grown to include a wide range of creatures ranging from vultures and meerkats, to rabbits and emus.

Happy new home Basil!