Chester Zoo has welcomed a new male tiger as part of their mission to protect his species from extinction.
‘Handsome’ Dash has been chosen through the breeding programme for his genetic match with the zoo’s female tiger Kasarna.
Dash is a Sumatran tiger, one of the rarest big cats on the planet, with as few as 400 in the wild.
The three-year-old big cat has travelled from Fota Wildlife Park in Ireland to hopefully hit it off and mate with Kasarna, who was born at Chester Zoo in 2015.
The critically-endangered tiger is described by Chester Zoo staff as ‘handsome and confident’.
In the wild, the tigers are only found on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia, where as little as 7% of its original habitat remains.
Sumatran tigers are excellent swimmers thanks to their webbed paws, and have stripes that are closer together than most other species of the big cat.
Mike Jordan, director of Animals and Plants at Chester Zoo, said: “Dash is a handsome, confident young tiger and he’s quickly settled into his new surroundings. He’s been carefully matched with female tiger Kasarna, based on his age, character and his genetics, and we’re hopeful that they’ll soon strike up a close bond and, one day, go on to have cubs.
“Sumatran tigers are exceptionally rare and, sadly, their wild population continues to feel enormous pressure from mass-scale habitat loss, poaching and human-tiger conflict.
“Their prospect of survival is hanging by a thread and the endangered species breeding programme, run by Europe’s leading conservation zoos, is a vitally important part of the international effort to ensure these magnificent animals are here for generations to come. Every single cub could be critical to its future.
“Without conservation efforts like these, the future for the Sumatran tiger may soon look similar to that of Javan, Caspian and Balinese tigers, which heartbreakingly are all now extinct. We have it in our power not to let that happen and we’re going to do everything we can to ensure it doesn’t.”
Featured image: Chester Zoo
Kids & Family
The best things to do in Greater Manchester this week | 11 – 17 December 2023
Ay’up, you lovely lot — it’s another week with plenty to do here in Greater Manchester and another step closer to the big day and that post-roast and mince pie-induced napjust because you can.
We have no shame in admitting we’re starting to feel very festive now and while the weather might be a bit cold and miserable of late, it’s not like we aren’t used to it around here and so long as you’re wrapped up, there’s nothing to stop you heading out and enjoying yourself.
To be honest, there aren’t many things that get us in the Christmas spirit quite like seeing Manchester buzzing with people clad in big fluffy jumpers and bobble hats, bags of shopping, giant hotdogs and a cup of mulled wine in hand.
You’ll be glad to know that Manchester’s iconic markets are still around for plenty of time and while, yes, they might be a bit busy and pricey at times, it’s only once a year and we never feel guilty about treating ourselves to proper Bavarian beer served in a big frosty stein.
We don’t need to talk you through this one: you know them and (most of) you love them and The Manc office will certainly be soaking up as much of the international culture as we can before they disappear again for 12 months. But what else is on in Greater Manchester this week?
Monday, 11 – Sunday, 31 December
In that same breath, another Manc staple during the holidays is the ice rink and, thankfully, Skate Manchester is sticking around right up until 2 January, so you’ve got plenty of time to moonlight as the new Torvill/Dean even if you don’t make it there this week.
Located over in Cathedral Gardens, this little corner of the city centre has plenty to keep you busy while you wait for your booking and afterwards too, from a sizeable chunk of this year’s Christmas Market stalls, the National Football Museum and the Corn Exchange just next door. See you on the ice.
Manchester’s newest and arguably prettiest park just got even more eye-catching thanks to the truly spectacular Twilight Trail over in Mayfield. Having now tried it for ourselves and still admiring it from afar on the train into town, it’s well worth a visit this winter and only a tenner for adults.
Located just around the corner from Depot Mayfield with food and drink traders spilling over from the adjacent Freight Island, it’s one of the best festive light trails you’ll find anywhere in the region this year — and believe us, there’s plenty to choose from.
Christmas at Heaton Park
Monday, 11– Sunday, 31 December
Another such one of those light trails is just half an hour away from the city centre, so if you looking for some more Yuletide attractions beyond the bustle of central Manchester, this year’s Christmas offerings at Heaton Park are the perfect option.
With top-of-the-range visuals from the same people behind Christmas at Kew and equally impressive levels of audio production from the Raymond Gubbay division of Sony Music, this is one that will leave you looking like a wide-eye kid whether you are one or not.
Monday, 11– Wednesday, 13 December
As part of the wider Winter Fest events over in MediaCity, the first half of this week is also your last chance to grab a few bargains and hopefully a real diamond in the rough and do your bit for charitable organisations around Greater Manchester in the process.
The Charity Super.Mkt pop-up is the first of its kind in the UK and has now set up shop in Central Bay over at Quayside. Featuring multiple different non-profits and packed with plenty of pre-loved gems, this is the perfect place to grab a steal whilst also embracing the festive period as a time of giving.
One of the best-loved cult favourite music events on the planet is coming to Manchester, so it only makes sense that it’s taking place at one of the best of the hottest venues in the world, let alone the UK — and these lot should know, they’ve played plenty of them, with residencies in Ibiza and more.
Electronic gig promoters and festival organisers, elrow, are returning to The Warehouse Project on Saturday, 16 December and bringing their XXL experience to raving masses. This time delivering their aptly named Delusionville theme, it’s going to be one of the biggest nights of the WHP 2023 calendar.
Remember this one? The last chapter of One Eight Six’s rollercoaster story might have had a sad ending around this time in 2021 but from the ashes of that fire emerges a new bar reborn and more sleek and stylish than ever.
Having returned to the Deansgate strip and Manc nightlife scene over the weekend, it’s the second phoenix we’ve seen come to life in the North West this winter and we had the honour of being among the first to catch a glimpse of its new. It didn’t disappoint.
It wouldn’t be a weekend without the Makers Markets popping up somewhere in the area and fortunately, you’ve got the choice of not one, not two but three different collections of stalls in Chorlton, Sale and West Didsbury.
With Chorlton’s pop-ups arriving on Saturday and the other two the following day, if you’re someone who doesn’t enjoy the chaos and fanfare of the main Christmas markets, you’ll still be able to get lots of festive goodies on a smaller scale here, as well as enjoy the usual artisanal charm and sense of community. Here’s what Prestwich looked like this past weekend:
Now, THIS is the kind of stuff we want to be doing at this time of year: getting a head start on our festive binge of Disney films through the medium of ice skating and at one of the best venues to see any kind of live performance.
Celebrating ‘100 Years of Wonder’, the legendary Disney on Ice production is enjoying a run of shows at the AO Arena and not only will you get to see all the princesses and classics like Toy Story and Aladdin but the Manchester crowd will also get to see the world of Encanto brought to life for the very first time. A truly unforgettable way to spend a winter’s eve.
Secure your spot to watch the spectacular show HERE.
Bar Hütte’s legendary karaoke cabins are back and they’re bringing alpine vibes, cosy furnishings, twinkling lights, live music sessions and a steady flow of drinks, of course — and this year, there’s not one but two locations in Manchester city centre.
While Bar Hütte at Great Northern is heading back to Deansgate, with 15 cosy private ‘hüttes’ neatly positioned under a heated stretch tent and twinkling lights, Bar Hütte at Kampus also has a nice new outdoor terrace comprising of eight snug, wooden karaoke booths nestled beneath the trees and an ‘Aprés Ski Bungalow’ serving as an indoor alpine bar. Find out more and grab tickets here.
What better way to round off a week than by listening to one of Manchester’s most beloved music sons? Liam Fray’s one-off special show is an early Christmas present if we’ve ever heard of one and while we’re not going to kid you about there being any tickets left for this thing, you could still stand a chance of grabbing one on a resale maybe — who knows?
The Courteeners frontman is playing the one and only Albert Hall in what will be a slightly more intimate performance for the local lad who’s used to filling out stadiums and headlining festivals. We swear we can hear him practising a rendition of ‘Fairytale of New York’ as we speak and we’re welling up already.
Christmas Screenings at King Street Townhouse
King Street Townhouse
Saturday, 16 December onwards
A whole host of classic Christmas films are hitting the big screen at the little picture house tucked away inside King Street Townhouse this month. The more we learn about this classy little hotel and spa the more we fall in love with it.
With a marathon of three films set to be screened on each day of the event, the Christmas screening schedule has all the hits: Love Actually, Home Alone and the ever-enjoyable Elf, which is somehow celebrating its 20th anniversary this year if you can believe that.
Other festive favourites on the lineup every weekend leading right up until the big day include It’s a Wonderful Life, The Holiday, The Muppet Christmas Carol, How The Grinch Stole Christmas, Bad Santa and more. You can book your perfectly cosy cinema seat HERE.
The best Christmas light trails in Greater Manchester and beyond
Greater Manchester has been invaded, with so many light trails taking place this year it feels like you’ve been swarmed by fireflies.
There are light trails in parks, light trails in the city, light trails in zoos and light trails in gardens.
There’s a style to suit every taste too, whether you’re into a colourful, nostalgic Christmas, or ultra-tasteful festivities that take your breath away.
There’s even a light trail that will hit the brief if you’re particularly interested in blending winter light trails with disco music…
So we’ve travelled the length and breadth of the north west to pick out the best light trails that are worth your time and money this Christmas.
Know of one we’ve missed? Reach out to us through our socials.
Christmas at Heaton Park, Manchester
A brand new festive light trail has opened in Manchester this winter, filling Heaton Park with glowing orbs, neon trees, and fairylit tunnels.
The spectacular new festive event loops around the park’s lake, where installations on the water include colourful ships and light beams.
And down in the woods you’ll find a laser garden, a flurry of bubbles, larger-than-life glowing flowers, and twinkling pink trees.
You can stop off at a festive teepee for a mulled wine, toast your marshmallows on an open fire, and whizz around the fairground rides at the end too. Did we mention the whole trail is dog-friendly, too?
Adult standard tickets £18 | Running until 31 December | Tickets here
Manchester’s newest city centre park, Mayfield Park, has been transformed into a festive ‘Twilight Trail’ for the first time ever this Christmas.
This brand-new immersive experience is made up of several spectacular light displays, unique lantern installations, and a captivation sound-scape dotted around the pristine new park – with each circuit estimated to take around half an hour.
And at the end you can dive into Winter Island, Freight Island’s Christmas season, and grab yourself some food and drink, from a build-your-own boozy hot chocolate bar from Cocoa Cabana, to the Smoking Coal German BBQ, serving a whole bratwurst menu, Schweinshaxe in a bun, and a classic hog roast butty.
Adult tickets £10 | Running until 31 December | Tickets here
The Twilight Trail is now open, and running right through until the new year, and you can find out more and grab tickets here.
Put Big Light On Bolton, Bolton
Easily the light trail with the best name in Greater Manchester is Put Big Light On Bolton, which has a range of light installations installed in the town centre.
There’s everything from a giant moon by Luke Jerram to a Dan Archer creation that brings the Northern Lights to our hometown.
There are special events taking place around the light festival too – but most of it wraps up this weekend, so you’ll have to move fast.
The completely free Lightwaves Festival is back at Salford Quays this week for its 10th instalment, this time with 15 artworks – three of which are brand new commissions.
Highlights include a luminescent artwork in the shape of a six-metre-long whale shark, complete with transparent fish scales, and a tunnel of giant mirrored rings across the piazza that people can walk through.
Then there are giant glowing flowers and a fire garden you can roam around too.
7-10 December | Free, no tickets needed
Castlefield Viaduct, Manchester city centre
Castlefield Viaduct in Manchester, the lush National Trust site built up on a disused railway viaduct, is inviting visitors to see the urban green space by nightfall.
There’ll be a free Lantern Lates series where the park will transform into a ‘magical, sparkling grotto’.
Visitors can climb up to Castlefield Viaduct , the huge industrial landmark that has views right across Manchester city centre, and savour the winter wonderland created for the coming season.
It’s before the National Trust project closes for a few weeks in the new year for work to refresh the gardens for spring and summer.
A brand-new immersive experience has opened at Chester Zoo for the festive season this week.
Lanterns and Light gives visitors the chance to explore captivating light installations and be transported into enchanting lands filled with colour and festivity, all while meeting orangutans, lions, dolphins, and woolly mammoths as they make their way along the trail.
There’s also colour changing displays stretching as far as the eye can see, birds and stars adorning the zoo’s winding paths and trees, and a spectacular Winter Cathedral tunnel of lights.
Until 31 December | Adult tickets £22 | Buy tickets here.