Coronation Street’s bad girl goes from wild living to wildlife

Coronation Street star Kate Ford officially opened the Yorkshire Wildlife Park's South America Viva on Saturday. Our picture shows Kate feeding a squirrel monkey.
Coronation Street star Kate Ford officially opened the Yorkshire Wildlife Park's South America Viva on Saturday. Our picture shows Kate feeding a squirrel monkey.
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SOME might say her Coronation Street character is a little monkey.

But this little monkey looks like it struck a firm friendship when the actress behind notorious Corrie bad girl Tracy Barlow visited Yorkshire Wildlife Park to give its latest exhibit her backing.

Coronation Street star Kate Ford officially opened the Yorkshire Wildlife Park's South America Viva on Saturday. Our picture shows Kate with one of the viva's inhabitants, a squirrel monkey.

Coronation Street star Kate Ford officially opened the Yorkshire Wildlife Park's South America Viva on Saturday. Our picture shows Kate with one of the viva's inhabitants, a squirrel monkey.

Street star Kate Ford provided a comfy seat for this squirrel monkey as it settled down to eat a snack of sweetcorn on her shoulder.

She toured the site, seeing the lions and tigers as well as officially opening its South America Viva area which will house creatures whose native homes are in danger.

Kate - whose alter ego Tracy is trying to win back her ex Steve McDonald in the TV soap - also wanted raise awareness of threats to South America’s ailing.

Covering more than three quarters of South America, the Amazon Rainforest is the world’s largest and most well known rainforest, and home to more than half of the world’s plant and animal species.

But because of the rate of deforestation plants and animals are becoming extinct before they are even discovered.

Yorkshire Wildlife Park has joined the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums fight to save tropical rainforests.

Its new enclosure includes creatures native to the Amazon including capybara, mara, agouti, rhea and squirrel monkeys.

Kate said: “It gave me great pleasure to officially open South America Viva, which draws attention to the plight of South America’s fragile rain forests.

“Due to the rapid rate of deforestation, the native homes of all the animals seen here are sadly in danger of extinction.

“As South America’s rainforests are home to more than half the world’s plant and animal species, they are becoming extinct before they are even discovered.

“As Conservationists we must work hard to ensure that South America’s rainforests and their precious and unique animals do not slip into extinction. I am proud to support such work.”

The opening day saw South American inspired dishes served in the park, in Branton, and the Doncaster Concert Band played South American music in the courtyard.

Animal factfile:

n Squirrel Monkeys are small, intelligent primates which spend most of their time in the trees.

n The capybara is the largest rodent in the world. Its closest relatives are agouti and guinea pigs.

n Agoutis are also rodents, who live near swamps and forests.

n Patagonian maras are unusual looking rodents with long hare-like ears and a body resembling a small dear.

n The rhea is the largest South American bird. They cannot fly and because they lacks the keel of the breastbone to which the flight muscles attach in flying birds.