Cheshire is one of the most science-rich areas of the UK and we were thrilled to be one of 14 locations providing activities during the half-term holidays as part of ‘Amazed by Science‘ earlier this year. The annual event aims to promote and celebrate science, technology and engineering throughout the region.
We gave our visitors an opportunity to meet our team of scientists working behind the scenes at Chester Zoo.
Communicating the science we do is really important, we want to inspire the next generation of conservation scientists. And give our visitors the opportunity to learn how we collect the information and evidence used to make some of the decisions necessary for managing populations of endangered species, both in the zoo and in the wild.
We had a number of activities available for children and adults alike to learn about the science we conduct and how it helps the animal at the zoo and in the wild. Visitors were able to learn about animal behaviour research by guessing what different primate facial expressions mean, see the challenges of following a meerkat mob, learned about the intricacies of bird communications by becoming a cassowary, and foraged like an aye-aye!
It was great to provide our visitors with a sneaky peek into the work we do in the laboratory we have right here at the zoo – quite a few people didn’t know we had one on site. We explained why we study animal dung and what we find out from these studies. Visitors had a look at our fake ‘zoo poo’ and learned how we can monitor menstrual cycles, find out whether an animal has reached puberty or when is the best time to mix a potential breeding pair. Visitors also had a go at finding out which one of our fake zebras was pregnant in our hormone game. Find out more about life in the Chester Zoo lab here.
With over 20,000 animals to feed we need to make sure they all get the right foods. Our nutrition team taught visitors the difference between carnivores, herbivores and omnivores and visitors got to match the food to the animal in our fun food chess game. Find out more about how we feed our animals here.
We work in the field through links to our conservation programmes developing new field techniques and monitoring biodiversity. Visitors learned how we monitor populations of golden mantella frogs in Madagascar using capture-mark-recapture techniques and had a go themselves with our fake frogs – find out more about the technique here. Visitors also had a go at identifying animals caught on camera traps from our field programmes all across the world.
Interested in meeting some of the team? There’s an opportunity to hear more about our science at the Science in the City festival at Manchester Cathedral on Tuesday 26 July – see how we use science to save wildlife;find out more here >>