Research FAQs

Here are some of the questions we're most asked most frequently about conducting research at Chester Zoo.

1. What type of research is carried out at Chester Zoo?

2. How do I carry out a research project at Chester Zoo?

3. How do I find out more information about the animal and plant collection at Chester Zoo?

4. I have never conducted a research project before - what is the first thing I should do?

5. I’m doing an assignment on nutrition, - can you send me details of how you feed the animals at Chester Zoo (e.g. what is fed, nutritional values of each ingredient, feeding regimens)?

6. I am an undergraduate/Masters student and I want to carry out a project that is not purely observational, for example a questionnaire for zoo staff or an environmental enrichment study?

7. How do I find out what research projects are available at Chester Zoo?

8. Are internships and work placements available in the Science Team?

9. Can you answer some questions for my school/college/university project? For example about plant or animal species, numbers, enclosure design, animal care, husbandry, feeding and diets.

1. What type of research is carried out at Chester Zoo?

The research staff at Chester Zoo conduct studies which fall under six main specialisms;

Please view our meet the team page to find out more.

We prioritise projects that address questions that have a positive impact on the species we have in the zoo or the conservation of their wild counterparts.

2. How do I carry out a research project at Chester Zoo?

We have a formal research application review process. Every research project has to be registered with, reviewed and approved by us before the project can begin or before biological samples are collected.

You will need to apply well in advance of when you wish to begin your project. If you’re interested in conducting research at Chester Zoo, you can find out more here.

3. How do I find out more information about the animal and plant collection at Chester Zoo?

Chester Zoo has a large animal collection (20,000 animals of 500 different species) and a very large range of plant species, from microscopic water plants to towering trees.

To find out more about our collection you can explore our website and find out more about our plants and animals.

4. I have never conducted a research project before - what is the first thing I should do?

We strongly recommend that you first read the Zoo Research Guidelines series produced by the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA), which can be downloaded for free from the BIAZA website.

The guidelines offer practical advice on how to set up a research project and cover a range of areas of zoo research, e.g. behavioural observations, nutrition and diet evaluations, assessments of visitor effects, and statistics.

5. I’m doing an assignment on nutrition - can you send me details of how you feed the animals at Chester Zoo (e.g. what is fed, nutritional values of each ingredient, feeding regimens)?

As you might appreciate, we receive regular requests for zoo animal nutrition/diet information, which are not appropriate for us to answer in detail. Information on the feeding ecology of selected species at Chester Zoo can be found here.

For zoo animal nutrition information, the EAZA Nutrition Group maintains a resource page of recommended reading, useful weblinks and conference publications, with many of the latter freely available to download.

6. I am an undergraduate/Masters student and I want to carry out a project that is not purely observational, for example a questionnaire for zoo staff or an environmental enrichment study?

If you are not carrying out a project commissioned by Chester Zoo, then we are only able to approve purely observational undergraduate and Masters’ projects. Projects involving any manipulation to the animal’s environment or husbandry (including environmental enrichment), involving human subjects or questionnaires will not be approved.

We suggest that undergraduate/Masters’ students discuss other project ideas and research questions with their supervisor, which are purely observational, before submitting an application.

7. How do I find out what research projects are available at Chester Zoo?

Zoo commissioned research projects are available on a competitive basis for Master’s students and above only. More information about the procedure for applying for projects can be found here.

8. Are internships and work placements available in the Science Team?

If there are any internships or work placements available in the Conservation & Science Team, we will advertise them on the zoo's website.

Please check our careers page regularly for current vacancies.

9. Can you answer some questions for my school/college/university project? For example about plant or animal species, numbers, enclosure design, animal care, husbandry, feeding and diets.

We receive lots of requests each week asking for help with all sorts of school, college and university projects, all of which we would love to answer. Unfortunately, this is just not possible.

The best thing to do is to have a look around our website where you will find lots of information about our animals, our conservation projects and hopefully answers to your questions.

For information about the species we hold please take a look at the Animals section.

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