A flock of pink flamingos are the newest residents to arrive Greater Manchester.
The mesmerising birds – collectively known as a ‘flamboyance’ – are homed on a secret beach at Hopwood Hall College and University Centre in Middleton.
While they’re believed to be the only flamingos in the county, the group certainly isn’t lacking company in their lodgings.
They instead join an array of rare and wonderful creatures being studied by learners of all ages who are completing qualifications in Animal Care.
In fact, the birds even share an enclosure with a troupe of friendly wallabies and have neighbours such as meerkats and armadillos.
The greater flamingos – which are generally found in Africa and Asia Minor – can grow to more than 5ft in height and live for 80 years.
There are currently more than 30 living on the hidden beach in Middleton, but this number could grow as soon as 2022.
It’s expected that the birds will begin to breed next spring – offering a fascinating experience for those who work with them every day.
The students who care for them can be as young as 16-year-olds in further education to adult learners embarking on university-level courses.
Earlier this year the college also introduced its new ‘Animal Academy’ programme and began allowing school-aged pupils to spend a week caring for their the 700+ animals – eight of which are classified as endangered.
Those who undertake a course often go into a variety of exciting careers, including veterinary nursing, zoo keeping and husbandry.
Julia Heap, Principal and CEO of Hopwood Hall College and University Centre, said:
“Our Animal Care courses are already very popular, but right now it feels like our new beach is the best-kept secret in Greater Manchester!”
“The flamingos live in the most tranquil setting and just seeing it is a great reminder not to underestimate all the amazing things happening in Middleton.
“We’ve no doubt that these fascinating birds will make for a truly unique learning experience and ensure our students go into a wide range of dream jobs.”