These days, those working in the wild are collaborating more and more with those who are working on conservation breeding programmes and with animals in zoos. It’s really important that we think both zoo and wild populations of endangered species as a single population so we can manage the issue holistically.
“The term ‘One Plan Approach’ is a relatively new one but the idea of working together in the field and in the zoo to save a species isn’t new; at Chester Zoo we’ve got quite a long history of linking our conservation breeding activities with field projects in the wild. Many of our conservation breeding staff – including our keepers – have been out to our field projects to share their skills and expertise and vice versa.
“This concept is really important to us and we certainly want to be leading the way on this new approach. At the zoo we work with animals at close quarters, in controlled environments and this enables us to do research that would be difficult in the wild but can then be applied in the field.”
ONE PLAN FOR THE SURVIVAL OF THE BLACK RHINO AND JAVAN GREEN MAGPIE
We’ve been pioneering hormone research with our herd of black rhinos at the zoo. By monitoring their reproductive hormones in detail we have improved the chances of breeding and have had seven rhinos born at Chester Zoo in the last ten years.
Now we’re developing a new project with the University of Manchester, using these techniques to influence the management of wild rhinos and their habitats.
The Javan green magpie could possibly be extinct in the wild already due to the illegal trade in songbirds. With our support project partners in Java have been able to breed Green magpies in captivity. They were then able to send two pairs of these beautiful birds to the UK, both of which have bred at the zoo this year.
It will be incredibly hard to change the culture of people keeping songbirds in small cages but with more education, awareness and protection of suitable secure habitat, we hope to be able to return this incredible species to the wild one day.
We’re proud to lead the way in the One Plan Approach and think that every one of us has a role to play in the protection of wildlife.
As a zoo we have a voice and we’re not afraid to use it to inspire our visitors and communities all over the world to take action.