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By Amy Pilsbury on

Conservation from aves to zebras

Find out more about the conservation science being showcased by Chester Zoo and the University of Manchester at this year's Manchester Science Festival.

Conservation is at the heart of everything we do at Chester Zoo. We care for over 21,000 animals from 500 different species, hold five national plant collections, and work on more than 80 different conservation projects in over 30 countries around the globe. We want our conservation research to improve the wellbeing of the animals and plants in our care and to ensure that wild populations are healthy and sustainable. We’ve teamed up with the University of Manchester to do just that!

The partnership with the University of Manchester is delivering high-impact scientific research and conservation projects to protect some of the world’s most endangered species. Chester Zoo Conservation Scholars and Fellows are working on exciting research projects, all contributing towards our work to prevent extinction. We will be at the Manchester Science Festival highlighting a few of these exciting projects:

  • Endocrinology (the study of hormones) is emerging as a powerful tool in conservation and is being used in several of our partnership projects:
    • Chester Zoo Conservation Fellow, Dr Danielle Gilroy’s postdoctoral research is looking into populations of Grevy’s zebra in Northern Kenya to see how population performance could be improved in the region.
    • Conservation Scholar, Jake Britnell is studying the Cape mountain zebra in South Africa to better understand the factors affecting their reproductive success.
    • Nick Harvey is a Conservation Scholar studying the Eastern black rhino in Kenya in order to improve breeding success among wild populations.
  • Songbirds are hunted to near extinction in the forests of Indonesia. Some are bought and sold in the pet trade and used in singing competitions. We work with others as part of breeding programmes to ensure these birds don’t become extinct. Rebecca Lewis, a Conservation Scholar, has been investigating populations of Java sparrows and whether their calls differ between groups in zoos and groups in the wild. This will help us to understand how birds communicate and we can use this research to decide how best to manage breeding programmes to protect songbirds.
  • Chester Zoo Conservation Scholar, Veronica Cowl has been studying the behavior of our troop of 19 Sulawesi crested macaques. We want to find out how the macaques react to different changes in their habitat.

During the Manchester Science Festival, you can have a go at being a conservation scientist! We will be in the Great Northern throughout the festival with lots of activities to get involved in. Meet our scientists (selected dates) and join in with video calls to our endocrinology labs (3pm on selected days) to talk to some of our conservation scientists and see them hard at work.

By sharing this exciting research, we hope to inspire you all to join us in our challenge to Act for Wildlife and protect the living world.

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