The core activities of modern zoo management include conservation, research and education. In our latest video, we hear about the research that is carried out at Twycross Zoo, which is crucial to increasing our understanding of the biology and behaviour of the endangered species we care for.
The earliest research conducted at Twycross Zoo was carried out in 1961 and focused on a cattle parasite. Since then, we have greatly expanded our focus and now have approximately 80 researchers and students working with us every year. The areas of interest vary greatly; from analysing the enclosure use of one of our animal groups to help us assess and, where necessary, improve how they move around their enclosure; to nutritional studies where we analyse one of our animal diets and compare that to their wild-type diet and their nutrient requirements. We are proud to be the only zoo in the UK with all 4 types of great ape and this is a huge advantage for us in terms of comparative research, where we can compare one species of ape to another – often including humans!
We also carry out a lot of research with our elephant group and we collaborate closely with specialist elephant groups in the wider zoo community. Collectively, we look at aspects of their behaviour, such as their sleeping behaviour, using 24 hour video recording and their ability to communicate via infra-sound, which humans cannot hear. To study this, we work with a research group that use specialist microphones to detect the infra-sound.
It’s a fascinating aspect of the work we do here at Twycrooss Zoo, so if you would like to learn about our research, have a look here.