A9 Dualling delivers 'Bear' necessities

A9 Dualling - wildlife park - Walker the bear plays with traffic cone

Wills Bros John Paul JV, who are currently dualling the A9 between Kincraig and Dalraddy, has donated approximately 50 traffic cones and six short sections of drainage pipe to the Park. Park residents immediately set to work, to identify the best uses for their new equipment.

Walker, Arktos and Victoria – all polar bears at the Highland Wildlife Park – have had great fun frolicking about with the traffic cones; they enjoy throwing the cones up into the air and hiding things inside them. Musk ox are also enjoying being able to head-butt and roll the drainage pipes.

The materials, which had already been used in the A9 construction project, would normally been disposed of once they were no longer required on the site; however, RZSS Highland Wildlife Park and the contractor have been working together since last year to use of any unwanted material in an innovative and environmentally-friendly way.

Excess greenery felled was also be donated to the Park to be used as animal feed.

The materials have also helped to decorate the animal enclosures for Christmas. Over the festive period, five tree stumps were given to the Park for the musk ox, Japanese macaques, bison, Bactrian camels and yak to use within their enclosure, along with tree bark, pine needles and wood chips, which provided soft flooring for three new animal enclosures - including one housing the iconic Scottish wildcat.

Work to dual the stretch of the A9 between Kincraig and Dalraddy got underway in September last year, with rapid progress made in clearing the site and work is now underway on laying the new road on the southbound carriageway.

Keith Brown, Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work said:

“Work began on this project ten months ago and significant progress has been made, with work now well underway to lay the first section of the dualled stretch of A9 carriageway.

"Donating this material to RZSS Highland Wildlife Park has been an added bonus, and the contractor should be congratulated for exploring opportunities to dispose of this material in such aninnovative way. Their appreciation of the natural beauty and ecology of the Cairngorms National Park demonstrates the level of care and attention towards the area that I would like to see reflected across the rest of the A9 Dualling Programme.”

The contractor is forging ahead now, with the progress becoming more and more visible to road users as work progresses towards completing the new dual carriageway.

Douglas Richardson, Head of Living Collections at RZSS Highland Wildlife Park, said:

“We’re delighted to have received the materials from Wills Bros John Paul JV. The animals have been making good use of the various items, which are being used for enrichment purposes as well as for bedding and flooring in a number of enclosures.”

Paul Gilligan, Construction Manager for Contractor Wills Bros John Paul Joint Venture said:

“We are delighted to have had the opportunity to donate these materials to RZSS Highland Wildlife Park, where they can be utilised within the animal enclosures. These items were directly sourced from our site clearance activities and it is great that we are able to recycle these materials and put them to good use within RZSS Highland Wildlife Park. We look forward to seeing the animals enjoying them”.

Notes to editors

The project is scheduled for completion in summer 2017.

Please visit www.transportscotland.gov.uk/project/a9-kincraig-dalraddy for further information on the A9 Dualling Kincraig to Dalraddy project.