Tuesday, 14 January 2020

Chester Zoo – Good news for animal conservation

For the first time in its nearly 90-year history, Chester Zoo has recorded the highest number of animals! This is amazing news for the charity's conservation efforts, as it continues to protect the future of threatened species. 

Welcome little one; photo courtesy of Chester Zoo

The annual headcount revealed that the wildlife conservation charity is home to a grand total of 35,139 animals from more than 500 of the world's rarest species. The site is home to:

  • 1571 mammals
  • 1759 birds
  • 339 reptiles
  • 677 amphibians
  • 6739 fish
  • 24,054 insects

Last year saw many breeding successes, which resulted in thousands of births and hatchings at the zoo, including a critically endangered West African chimpanzee, an Eastern bongo calf, a Sumatran orang-utan, and thousands of rare Bermudian snails.

Mother and baby; photo courtesy of Chester Zoo

"The huge new figure is an absolute credit to our teams, who are working incredibly hard to prevent the extinction of a multitude of species. The data gathered will help to form future plans of international breeding programmes for the world's most endangered species."  
Mike Jordan, Chester Zoo's Director of Animals and Plant Collections 

The site also welcomed a host of new species to its state-of-the-art habitats, including three new lemur species, fossa (Madagascar's cat-like carnivore), and the world's most threatened small carnivore, the Grandidier's Vontsira.

A Grandidier's Vontsira; photo courtesy of Chester Zoo

This news comes as 2019 saw a record two million visitors pass through the zoo's gates: especially encouraging after the devastating fire at the end of 2018. The income generated enables the zoo to make a hugely positive impact on wildlife through its carefully-managed breeding programmes and it's field project in more than 30 countries worldwide. Some of the projects undertaken last year include: helping return five critically endangered Eastern black rhinos to an area of Rwanda where they were previously extinct; carrying out the world's first radio tagging of a giant pangolin, one of the world's most trafficked animals, to gather data of their movements in Uganda; bred hundreds of endangered large heath butterflies ready to release this year in Manchester's mosslands.

Here's hoping that 2020 is just as successful for Chester Zoo and conservation efforts.

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