Focus Area
  • People
  • Populations
  • Africa
  • At the Zoo
Partners and collaborators

All progressive zoos are active in carefully-coordinated conservation breeding programmes, ensuring animal populations in zoos are fully sustainable. It’s a key part of the work that good zoos do – if we don’t have sustainable, genetically-viable populations, then never will there be animals that can potentially go back to the wild.

what makes us different

What makes us unique, is our multi-faceted approach to species conservation, utilising innovative techniques and collaborating with multi-disciplined experts, both in the zoo and in the field, to fully understand a species, and the threats it faces in the wild. We invest heavily in innovation and technology, ask the difficult questions, push boundaries and think about everything an animal will need to survive, and thrive, in the wild. Is the golden mantella frog the right colour? Does the Javan sparrow sing with the right dialect? What temperatures do radiated tortoises need to thrive? If we want to release species into the wild effectively, then we must ask these challenging questions to ensure long term results and real, lasting impact. Finding solutions to complex challenges, is at the heart of what we do, striving to discover facts about species, that no one has been able to uncover before. We endeavour to make sure the animals in our care, are fit and ready for reintroduction into the wild.

our one plan approach

Science and our passion to better understand the natural world, underpins all of this. This involves everyone’s expertise and breadth of knowledge – from keepers and curators on the front line of breeding programmes, managing studbooks and developing creative ways to tag animals, to veterinary experts ensuring the health and wellbeing of every animal, to animal behavioural scientists monitoring group dynamics, to nutritionists planning the perfect diet plans for every species, to scientists performing detailed hormone analysis out of the only zoo endocrinology lab in the UK and providing evidence-based reproductive management advice to zoos everywhere. This elevates animal welfare to a different level, to the benefit of not just the animals here, but in zoos around the world and, crucially, their wild counterparts.



Currently, we have more than 200 projects underway, investigating everything from social complexities among groups of primates, to analysing bioacoustics in cassowaries to better understand their reproductive behaviour, via communications which are inaudible to the human ear, to developing a range of biomarkers in faecal samples to investigate health and reproduction.

This way of working, and this level of expertise, is unique to Chester. It’s what makes us world leaders in the field of conservation and innovation.

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