Paignton Zoo is part of the Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust which co-ordinates seven regional conservation programmes in the UK and overseas.
All of these projects are funded by the Trust's zoos and involve many zoo and trust staff in their operation.
Native species - Dormice recovery programme
Hazel dormice (Muscardinus avellanarius) have seen a 50% reduction in their range over the last 100 years as habitats disappear or become increasingly fragmented. Since 2000, as part of the Natural England ‘Species Recovery Plan’, Paignton Zoo has collaborated with several other institutions to breed and release dormice into the wild. Since reintroduction began, dormice have returned to six counties where they had been extinct. Suitable wild sites are carefully selected by the Peoples Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) and careful monitoring has found that these captive bred dormice continue to breed successfully in their new habitats.
Since 1997, the Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust and Paignton Zoo have supported the Dambari Wildlife Trust (DWT), which is based near Bulawayo, in Zimbabwe. DWT focussed initially on the conservation of rhinoceros, carnivores and small antelope. However, since 2011 DWT has adopted the ‘Conservation Across Boundaries’ programme, which incorporates the conservation of these important species into a landscape approach across areas of different land-use and ownership in the Matobo Hills region. This involves working with wildlife authorities to protect and manage black and white rhino populations in the Matopos National Park, with rural communities to monitor elusive carnivores, and with local schools to teach natural history and environmental education. WWCT helps fund DWT salaries and infrastructure and also provides staff for governance, scientific support and fund-raising assistance.
The rainforests of south-western Nigeria are of great conservation importance as they are home to some of the country’s last remaining populations of large wildlife, including forest elephants and chimpanzees. Paignton Zoo and WWCT have supported conservation education in the Omo Forest Reserve since 1993. The education officers work within the local primary schools raising awareness of environmental issues and run a conservation club for teenagers and the wider community. Staff members from both the research and education departments also make annual visits to the Omo Forest Reserve to provide technical support and training to the team. WWCT joined the Omo-Shasha-Oluwa Forest Elephant Initiative in 2010, and is now working with its partners, including the Nigerian Conservation Foundation and ERM Foundation, to establish a protected area for these important forests.
For more information please visit our conservation projects page on the Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust website.
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