SAFARI Park staff are celebrating the success of their conservation efforts during 2017 helping to raise thousands of pounds to help support various animal charities.

Through staff and guests efforts, West Midland Safari Park has raised more than £15,000 - which will be split between animal charities and projects chosen for the vital work they do in conserving some of the most threatened species in the world.

Keepers were at the forefront of fundraising in carrying out a variety of energetic and often thrill seeking activities to raise as much money as possible.

From static cycling in the Park and racing for rhinos in the Birmingham Velo, to running the Great Birmingham Run and bravely bungee jumping in aid of bats. One member of staff, Park electrician Colin Mclarty even ran the London Marathon to support Rhino Week.

Supporting the fundraising initiatives, local artist Zaza Shelley created beautiful limited edition prints of the Park's animals. So far, the exclusive prints have raised nearly £600, which will also be donated to selected animal charities.

She said: "I am thrilled and honoured to have had the opportunity in 2017 to support the Safari Park with fundraising for their chosen conservation charities.

"I was allowed access to the Park to draw, photograph and paint the animals, which I hugely enjoyed.

"Assisting the Safari Park with their conservation projects has really heightened my own awareness of conservation and the fundamental importance for these animals to be protected in the wild if they are to have any future at all."

Every year since 2014, the Park's wildlife team choose conservation charities and a week is set aside to focus solely on each campaign. Throughout 2017, the Park has held six conservation weeks for different animal species - Lemur Week in March, Bat Week in May, Rhino Week and Protect Lions Week in June, Wildlife Awareness Week in July and Conservation Dogs Week in September.

Katie McDonald, research and conservation officer, said: "Since we started our big conservation drive in 2014, we have raised over £50,000 for causes that urgently need funds to conserve wild populations of animals related to those we hold at the Park.

"Staff put a great deal of effort into engaging our guests on the conservation topics we are championing. The more people who understand the threats to wild animals and their habitats, the more progress we can make in preventing species declines."