Blackpool Zoo praised for vital work

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Blackpool Zoo’s vital work to save three of the most endangered mammal species in the world has been celebrated in a new report.

Blackpool Zoo's baby Western lowland gorilla Meisie

Meisie the Western lowland gorilla baby

Darren Webster, Managing Director at Blackpool Zoo, said: “Our conservation work for animals across the world is vitally important to the survival of species under severe threat of extinction."

Blackpool Zoo’s vital work to save three of the most endangered mammal species in the world has been celebrated in a new report.

The British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) has compiled the document, which outlines the top ten mammal species most reliant on zoos.

The list includes the critically endangered Western lowland gorilla, six of which call Blackpool Zoo home, as well as the Sumatran tiger and the San Martin titi monkey, which Blackpool supports through dedicated conservation and fund raising projects.

Blackpool Zoo’s Western lowland gorilla troop is led by 16-year-old silverback Bukavu. Since his arrival in 2008, he has fathered Meisie, who was the first gorilla ever to be born at Blackpool Zoo, and Moanda, a male baby who was born in November 2012.

Meisie’s mother Miliki, age 18, is the half sister of Moanda’s mother Njema who is 19. The final member of the family is 32-year-old Kena, daughter of the late Snowflake, who was thought to have been the world’s first and only albino gorilla.

Blackpool Zoo was also acknowledged for its work to raise funds for the Sumatran tiger and the San Martin titi monkey.

With two Amur tigers living in its Big Cat House, Blackpool zoo raises awareness and funds for 21st Century Tiger, which is a unique conservation initiative between Dreamworld Wildlife Foundation and Zoological Society of London.

This collaboration, along with zoos across the globe, has donated over £700,000 to Sumatran tiger conservation since 1997.

The red titi monkey breeding programme, which is managed by Blackpool Zoo, supports Proyecto Mono Tocon, which is a project dedicated to conserving Peru’s biodiversity with the emphasis on conservation of the San Martin titi monkey.

Although this species of monkey is not housed in zoos, it is one of the 25 most endangered primates in the world.

Darren Webster, Managing Director at Blackpool Zoo, said: “Our conservation work for animals across the world is vitally important to the survival of species under severe threat of extinction."

“From breeding programmes to fund raising, we work tirelessly to contribute as much as we possibly can.”

“Since 2010, we have welcomed two Western lowland gorilla babies, who will play an important role in the future of the species.”

“Our Amur tigers are firm favourites with our visitors and the work we carry out for 21st Century Tiger enables us to raise money for their equally as endangered cousin, the Sumatran Tigers.”

“We will also continue to support Proyecto Mono Tocon and their commendable efforts to save the San Martin titi monkey.”

“The BIAZA report will create further awareness about the excellent work carried out by dedicated keepers every single day of the year.”

Ends

Picture shows: Meisie, the Western lowland gorilla at Blackpool Zoo

The top ten list of mammals surviving because of zoos
Amur Leopard
Blue-eyed black lemur
Scimitar-horned oryx
Sunartran tiger
San Martin titi monkey
Grevy’s zebra
Livingstone’s Fruit Bat
Pied tamarins
White-naped Mangabey
Western lowland gorilla

More information about the list
Strict Criteria was used to select the top ten. All mammals proposed had to be associated with current field initiatives by zoos and listed as Endangered, Critically Endangered or Extinct in the Wild on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (UICN) Red List of Threatened Species. Particular importance was given to initiatives that included a management role in the species conservation, rather than just providing funds, and priority was also given to the species conservation projects that include habitat protection, education and / or livelihood development.

More information about BIAZA
The British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) is a conservation, education and wildlife charity (charity no. 248553). Founded in 1966, it represents over100 member organisations including all the significant zoos and aquariums in Britain andIreland. Its vision is ‘to be a powerful force in the care and conservation of the natural world and its mission is to support and lead its members to:

  •     inspire people to help conserve the natural world
  •     participate in effective co-operative conservation programmes
  •     deliver the highest quality environmental education, training and research
  •     achieve the highest standards of animal care and welfare in zoos, aquariums and in the wild

More information about BIAZA’s Field Programmes Committee
BIAZA’s Field Programmes Committee encourages, facilitates and monitors the national and international field conservation work of BIAZA and its member collections, and promotes an environmentally sustainable approach. The top ten list was compiled by the committee with input from a number of experts across BIAZA zoos and aquariums.

More information about Blackpool Zoo:
Blackpool Zoo celebrated its busiest year to date in 2012, which was also its 40th anniversary.

Blackpool Zoo is owned by Parques Reunidos, the second largest European leisure parks operator and a leading world-wide player. The zoo is home to over 1,500 mammals, birds, reptiles and invertebrates set amidst thirty-two acres of mature woodland and lakes.

The zoo’s signature animals include elephants, giraffes, big cats, gorillas, orangutans, sea lions, primates, zebras and kangaroos. It is open every day of the year, apart from Christmas Day, from 10am.

For further information, please contact:
Paula Holden or Rachael Ireland at ICG PR on 01772 679383 or email paula(at)icgonline(dot)co(dot)uk or rachael@icgonline(dot)co(dot)uk

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Paula Holden
ICG PR
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Julie Hackett
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