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On Your Marks, Get Set, Bake!

On Your Marks, Get Set, Bake! GBBO At Drusillas Park


It’s been a weekend of soggy bottoms at Drusillas Park as Zookeepers competed to make the best ‘bakes’ for their animals. There has been some hot competition and keepers have been battling to prove themselves and win that star baker top spot.

Drusillas staff have been busily donning their aprons and grabbing mixing bowls to make the most inventive ‘cakes’ for their animals.



From panda bamboo pellet cakes, to insect pies and more there have been some very inventive bakes produced at the Park. However, the star baker spot was nabbed by Drusillas Head Keeper, Sophie Leadbitter, with her rather brilliant coati cake concoction.

Impartial zookeepers carefully examined all the cakes entered to the competition and whittled it down to Sophie Leadbitter’s sweet potato ‘pie’ and Hanna Campbell’s beetroot ‘sponge’. Drusillas resident coatis were then presented with the cakes and allowed to choose their favourite.

Sophie stole the starlight from eager baker Hanna Campbell by a landslide, as the coati’s devoured the sweet potato and left the beetroot untouched.
Head Keeper, Sophie Leadbitter, said she was “chuffed to bits” to have won the competition. She continued to say: “it took me quite a few hours to make and decorate the coati cake. I had no idea what it tasted like so was hoping it would be okay!”

“The first cake I baked was made with leafy pellets which just dissolved into nothing overnight, Paul and Pru would have definitely told me off for my soggy bottom and lack of flavour!”

“I’m hoping the second cake will get me the Hollywood handshake from Paul! It’s made from mashed sweet potato and veggies – an absolute coati favourite!”

Although Bake Off might seem a strange activity for zoo animals, the whole process was designed to be part of the zoo’s enrichment programme, which ensures a diverse diet and physical activity is enjoyed in imaginative and unusual ways. Enrichment is carried out within all the enclosures on a daily basis to encourage the animals to work a little harder for their food as they would in the wild, as well as providing mental stimulation.

Head Keeper, Sophie Leadbitter, said: “Our coatis really enjoyed their bake-off judging role! It’s always a gamble with enrichment as to how well it will be received, sometimes you work really hard to create something nice and the animals turn their noses up at you and aren’t having any of it. But this was a huge success.”

“The coatis were straight over to judge the bakes. They devoured the sweet potato pie within minutes and were quite aggressively batting each other out of the way for the last slice. Sadly, for Hanna they really didn’t like her beetroot cake!”

“I think I did have a slight unfair home advantage as I had a better idea as to what would make a great coati cake from my years as a zookeeper, but Hanna works in our marketing department so she was just working on guidance from other zoo staff on how to make her bake! I’m still taking the win though!”

Poor Hanna was asked to leave the Drusillas tent after her frosty cake reception, so now all that remains is the big question…Who will win the Drusillas Great British Zoo Baking Challenge overall? Will Sophie stay in the top spot or will another member of staff swoop in and steal her crown?


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