Conservation : Research at Twycross Zoo

One of the many roles a modern zoo undertakes is research. By researching the animals we hold we can increase our knowledge on how to look after them, study species that could be rare or difficult to study in the wild and ultimately use all this knowledge to better our conservation efforts. Twycross Zoo hosts researchers from colleges and universities across the globe, covering everything from high school projects to post-doctoral theses.

We aim to support research for animals, to improve welfare, improve health care and promote conservation in zoos and in the wild. We are committed to supporting high quality research at all levels from undergraduate to post doctorate. Research facilities include a library and computers with standard software, internet access and access to zoo animal records and a database of zoo-specific documents such as studbooks.

Many of the species at Twycross Zoo are endangered in the wild, and are in conservation breeding programmes for conservation purposes. We have more than 500 animals from nearly 150 species. Our website has details of the entire animal collection, but it is best to check with us regarding suitability and availability.

Every year, we produce a list of suitable student projects which can be obtained by emailing research@twycrosszoo.org. This is so that we can focus the research within the zoo to the topics we are most interested in. In the past, there have been studies of many types carried out at the Zoo. There are some examples below.

Animal based studies

We support a wide range of animal based studies. A major interest is aspects of animal behaviour, such as social interactions, methods of communication, the effect of the introduction of a new enrichment device, or how animals respond to the introduction of a new individual into the group. We are also keen to support analytical studies such as those that focus on nutrition or animal records and veterinary-based projects, including specific case studies.

Education

We have a strong education department that teaches more than 20,000 school pupils, university and college students every year. The department is also responsible for interpretation and signage. We support educational studies and studies on visitor experience and learning.

Business, leisure and tourism and IT

We are a large tourist destination for the East Midlands. We have around 500,000 visitors a year. We support research in areas such as marketing and communication.

Conservation

We contribute to in-situ conservation across the world and may carry out projects to support wild conservation.

Sustainability and biodiversity

We aim to operate as sustainably as we can, adopting novel green technologies wherever feasible. We compost much of our waste and recycle most of the rest. We have developed a new, extensive waterways system with reed beds to clean the water used on site. We have a large site surrounded by farmland and also have our own nature reserve which is a wetlands area thriving with native plant and animal species.

We also welcome ideas for projects which are not on our list but that could link in with our areas of interest. The BIAZA resources for researchers is a good place to look for ideas.