22 February 2017

Bloom at Chester Zoo highlights the spaces at the zoo and the incredible wildlife that can be found within them. There are many gardens just waiting to be explored, each different from the last and each with their own story to tell.

Our horticulture and botany team work hard all year round to make sure the gardens and spaces not only look great but also play a vital role in conserving local wildlife.

The team recently created a Bumblebee Garden to help our fuzzy friends find vital food and shelter as bumblebee populations are disappearing at a worrying rate.

Here members of Chester Zoo horticulture team tell us more about the bumblebee garden

Below we take a look at some of the other work our conservationists are doing to help UK wildlife beyond the zoo thrive. We’ve highlighted a couple of their successes over the past 12 months…

This footage was captured the last time our team went out into the field to collect another round of data. How cute?!

TRACKING PINE MARTENS

Pine martens are thriving in Scotland, but in England and Wales the population is very fragile. Two years ago we joined forces with The Vincent Wildlife Trust on their pine marten recovery project, to restore viable populations of pine martens to Wales.

For the past two years the project has relocated pine martens from Scotland to mid-Wales. Once the animals are relocated they are given a ‘soft release’ to ensure that they’re given as much of a chance as possible to adjust to their new surroundings. The translocation has been very successful with 20 pine martens being relocated in 2015 and a further 19 individuals in 2016.

Pine marten. Photo credit: Lydia Murphy
Photo credit: Lydia Murphy

It’s not just about moving the animals; our staff help monitor the success of the translocation and the progress of the animals using camera traps, radio tracking and field surveys. These tracking methods enable the project to obtain further information so, for example, we know that at least half of the females released in the first year successfully gave birth in Wales which is an excellent result. The next stage of the project is to continue following this year’s released individuals, find out if they will also successfully raise young and to see which habitats are favoured for permanent territories.