International Women’s Day

8th Mar 2023

On International Women’s Day (IWD), Twycross Zoo is celebrating both its pioneering female founders, Molly Badham MBE and Nathalie Evans, and the UK’s only group of female-led great apes, the bonobo, who are vital for the survival of their species.

International Womans Day News

This year, on Friday 26 May, Twycross Zoo celebrates its diamond anniversary, marking 60 years since its trailblazing female founders opened the gates to the Midlands based zoo.

Badham and Evans were pioneers of their industry, dedicating their lives to Twycross Zoo and creating great success at a time when the zoological industry was heavily male dominated. In the first few years, they even ran the zoo with an all-female team.

The duo established principles of modern species management in captivity and developed practices and standards that are still used today. Going on to become notable figures in the zoological community, as founding members of the National Federation of Zoological Gardens GB & Ireland, now known as BIAZA (British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums).

Though both have now passed away, they are fondly remembered for their work and dedication to animals, and conservation; their legacy lives on through the work of Twycross Zoo, which as a registered charity works to save endangered species from extinction.

International Womans Day Chimp News

As well as being unique in the fact that it is female-founded, Twycross Zoo is also the only UK zoo home to the bonobo species of great ape. Bonobos are human’s closest living relatives, sharing around 98.7% of our DNA.

Diatou, a 45-year-old bonobo who lives at Twycross Zoo, is somewhat of a pioneering female herself, being the first ever bonobo to arrive in the UK.

Diatou was brought into the zoo’s collection by Molly Badham & Nathalie Evans in March 1992, from Wilhelma Zoo in Germany and is part of an EAZA Ex situ program, designed to maintain genetically diverse populations of threatened species. Now, she is a mum, grandma, and great-grandma, and still lives at Twycross Zoo, where she has successfully reared 6 off-spring, helping to ensure a genetically healthy population of her species.

We hope that our trailblazing founders and iconic great ape species inspires you this International Women’s Day.

To continue being inspired, come and meet our troop of bonobos and discover more about the zoo’s 60-year history, with our wonderful History Showcase, including exclusive archive film screenings, visitor memory wall and anniversary collection in the Gift Shop. Visiting Twycross Zoo also supports us  as an international conservation charity, working to save species around the world from extinction.

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