Working alongside the college’s countryside department, zoo staff and animal management students are working to improve biodiversity across the zoo and surrounding campus. This involves habitat creation and habitat management in the form of tree planting, wildflower areas, bug hotel creation, bird box transects, pond maintenance etc
“European Endangered Species Programmes (EEP) and the European Studbooks (ESB) aim at conserving healthy populations of animals, while safeguarding the genetic health of the animals under our care. These programmes act to provide a future for some of the world’s most vulnerable species” http://www.eaza.net/conservation/programmes/
At Reaseheath Mini Zoo we are currently not involved in any EEP (European Endangered Species Programme) breeding programmes but we have recently been approved to be involved for Pygmy Marmosets and are in the process of applying for Bush dogs via EAZA.
We do however hold a number of species involved in EEPs that could be called up to become part of a breeding group to increase the genetic diversity of captive populations these species include:
Our head keeper and members of the HE department perform yearly Great Crested Newt (GCN) survey’s on campus and zoo ponds. These survey’s are undertaken to help improve ponds across the site for Great crested newt habitat. This has also been done alongside eDNA testing of water for GCN on varies ponds onsite to assess presence or absence. RMZ staff have also set up a toad patrol crossing onsite and recruited volunteers to monitor a stretch of road onsite that toads have to cross to reach their breeding pond for spring. This volunteer scheme runs from the end of January- April.
Here at Reaseheath Mini Zoo conservation education is one of the most important strategies we can implement.
We reach 1000’s of people from students to visitors at the zoo and that is just our in person reach our social media platforms. Through our school holiday clubs, school trips, keeper talks, home school session, outreach and signage within the zoo we can spread messages about the threats wildlife face and what can be done to help them.
The future of the Earth’s biodiversity lies with the next generation, and it is crucial for them to grasp the interconnectedness between humanity, animals, and the natural world. Creating an educational curriculum for all visitors, regardless of age, who come to our collection is imperative in order to instil a lifelong appreciation for wildlife from an early stage. This could foster a sustainable lifestyle that is environmentally conscious and empathetic towards our planet and its inhabitants as these individuals mature.
Nature’s SAFE (Saving Animals From Extinction) is one of Europe’s first biobanks dedicated to preserving cells from the world’s most endangered species for regeneration in the future. They cryopreserve cells in tissues such as ovaries, testicles and ears at freezing temperatures (-196°C / -320°F) in the hope that in the future, these viable tissues may be thawed and used to further conserve thousands of species globally.
We have teamed up with Nature’s SAFE and contribute biological samples to the biobank from the collection at Reaseheath Mini Zoo to help protect species in the future.