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Fine dining for the residents at nature centre.

Byline: MIKE LOCKLEY Staff Reporter mike.lockley?trinitymirror.com

BUTCHER Peter Gumbley is the pork of the town after scooping a contract to keep the exotic creatures at a wildlife centre well fed.

Thanks to Peter, the ocelots and lynx at Birmingham Nature Centre, Edgbaston, won't have to worry where their next rabbit is coming from. The otters will be dining on trout and meerkats cracking open the eggs.

"It's the weirdest order I've had," said Peter, who has run a butcher's on Pershore Road for over 40 years.

Peter won the PS3,000-a-year contract for the Birmingham City Council tourist attraction when it was recently put out to tender.

And he's confident sourcing all the items on the long shopping list, including clams, mussels, cheese, whitebait and beef ribs, will not be a problem.

"To be honest," he said, "rabbits with their fur still on have proved the most difficult.

They've been in short supply because of the cold weather, but we've found someone in Evesham."

On a typical month, Peter will deliver 40 rabbits, 36 eggs and 30 racks of lamb.

Centre manager Les Basford said: "It is essential the animals receive the correct dietary requirements. What they require - and how much - varies throughout the year.

"It sounds unusual, but most of the stuff is just normal food. It's just the amount that sets our grocery list apart from a normal household's."

The animals, some of them endangered, aren't averse to sweet snacks, either. Alerted by forecasts of a heatwave, staff spent yesterday pulping fruit to make ice-lollies for the capuchin and squirrel monkeys. The centre is involved in a number of captive breeding programmes and this week staff celebrated after venomous beaded lizards hatched. || Volunteer positions are also available at the Nature Centre, with work experience on offer for under-16s.

For more informtation, visit http://www.birmingham.gov.uk/parksworkplacement.

There is also the chance for members of the public to sponsor animals.

CAPTION(S):

Otters, meerkats and lynxs will all be queuing up for some of Peter Gumbley's exotic fare.

Peter Gumbley said his contract to supply the Birmingham Nature Centre is the weirdest order he has ever had.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:May 3, 2013
Words:363
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