Chester Zoo swept the board at this year’s annual awards of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) – picking up 15 awards in total!
CELEBRATING OUR ZOO EXPERTS
The British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) bring together zoos across the UK and Ireland that have demonstrated their dedication to conserving the natural world through research, conservation and education.
Every year, the members of BIAZA congregate to celebrate their collective achievements. To receive a BIAZA award is to be recognised as making an outstanding contribution to global conservation, directly or by inspiring others.
This year, Chester Zoo is honoured to have received fifteen BIAZA awards – of these fifteen, seven are gold awards, the best in their respective categories.
Dr Kirsten Pullen, CEO of BIAZA, said:
“Our annual awards ceremony recognises excellence in the work being carried out by our zoos and aquariums as well as our associate members. Our community is committed to conservation, education, research, and having the highest levels of animal welfare and this is highlighted by the incredibly high standard of award submissions this year.”
Gold Award – Sustainable Palm Oil City
Earlier this year, Chester became the first Sustainable Palm Oil City in the world. This Chester Zoo led effort has brought together businesses, restaurants and attractions across the city, committing to source their palm oil exclusively from sustainable sources. In the comings months and years we hope this commitment will be adopted by cities across the nation and further abroad.
Gold BIAZA Trailblazer – Cat Barton,
Our Field Conservation Manager, Cat Barton, picked up this award for all of her work on our Sustainable Palm Oil campaign. She drove our Sustainable Palm Oil City project forward, putting immense time and effort into the campaign, which led to Chester becoming the world’s first sustainable palm oil city! On top of managing numerous field projects with our conservation partners in Borneo and Sumatra. Huge congrats, Cat!
Gold Award – Preventing the extinction of Javan green magpie (Cissa thalassina)
Chester Zoo holds a population of 13 Javan green magpies at the zoo. There are only 71 animals remaining in ex-situ populations around the world in total, with wild populations depleted and close to extinction in the wild. Our team of expert curators and keepers have developed a great understanding of the species’ biology, created animal husbandry guidelines and made great contributions to the ex-situ breeding programme. Chester Zoo also supports conservation breeding efforts at the Cikananga Conservation Breeding Centre in Indonesia.
Gold Award – Bumblebee Abode Garden
As bumblebees disappear from the world at an alarming rate, we’re doing all we can to help them. Our Bumblebee Garden at Chester Zoo showcases numerous purpose built hives designed to help a colony thrive, as well as a collection of wildflowers upon which they are reliant for food. Most crucially, it highlights how anyone can get involved with helping to conserve bee populations across the country. We can all make Wildlife Connections – making small changes to our gardens and green space that make a HUGE difference to local wildlife.
Gold Award – Sumatra at Islands, a story of the wildlife trade
The interpretation in the Sumatra habitat in islands was designed to show how pervasive the illegal wildlife trade is to everyday life. This is not only an issue in countries around the world, but has crossed our border and can be as simple as buying an exotic shell on a trip to your local seaside! The creative interpretation showcases all of the activities we’re involved with to prevent the illegal wildlife trade and, most importantly, show visitors how they too are vital to stopping it.
Gold Award – Crisis communications during the Chester Zoo Monsoon Forest fire
In what was an incredibly difficult time in Chester Zoo’s history, our teams across the zoo banded together to continue delivering information as events unfolded. We were overwhelmed by the outpouring of public support that has since been applied to support conservation activities in Indonesia.
As a result of the generous donations that were made by the public in the wake of the fire, our conservationists are able to create five wildlife protection projects.
Gold – Developing zoo husbandry protocols that facilitate conservation translocation – Chester Zoo, ZSL London Zoo, Bristol Zoo Gardens, Jersey Zoo, Paignton Zoo
Working in partnership with zoos across the country, our veterinary and curatorial teams have worked to develop ex-situ animal husbandry protocols to facilitate the conservation translocation of the mountain chicken frog. This critically endangered amphibian is endemic to the Caribbean islands of Montserrat and Dominica, where it is threatened by poaching, volcanic activity, and the deadly chytrid fungus. Chester Zoo supports breeding and translocation efforts for this species to prevent its extinction.
We are also honoured to have received BIAZA awards recognising our work in:
Our Discovery and Learning team connect many different people with wildlife and the zoo’s conservation work, inspiring people to take action to prevent extinction! Our work with 32 primary schools to co-develop a conservation curriculum supported by our Safari Ranger outreach programme, digital resources, and workshops received a BIAZA bronze award. And a BIAZA silver award was given for our work in late 2018 to host a professional development and networking week with twelve international education partners. The programme helped to support participants to achieve their conservation education goals and facilitated the sharing of conservation education practice across the our partners and with us at Chester Zoo.
Chester Zoo is home to a team of dedicated researchers working together across multiple scientific disciplines to make a difference in wildlife conservation. BIAZA awards were awarded for their work on monitoring the impacts of management interventions in a troop of Sulawesi crested macaques at Chester Zoo, and developing treatment protocols to fight the deadly chytrid fungal disease in highly threatened salamanders.
Our work in Mexico to support the ex-situ breeding and reintroduction of the tequila splitfin, a fish thought to be extinct in the wild until very recently, was honoured with a silver award. Our teams also worked with local communities in Mexico to foster engagement and participation in the project.
Another silver award went to the Action Indonesia project which is generating global species masterplans for Anoa, Babirusa, Banteng and Sumatran Tiger. A large component of this project is led by our education team, which pulls together resources and campaign materials for zoo educators and the public to create a cohesive and collaborative approach to educating communities.
ANIMAL HUSBANDRY, CARE & BREEDING
Our teams across the zoo work collaboratively to ensure the best possible animal husbandry practices for our animals, and drive globally important breeding programmes. Two of our zoo projects received BIAZA awards.