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Conservation Education at Whipsnade Zoo

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Visits to zoos are sometimes mixed in terms of peoples feelings about them. Space, size of enclosures, animal welfare and well being etc.

I went to meet the team at Whipsnade zoo in Dunstable this week and it was great! My mission was to visit the aquarium and meet the team of scientists, conservationists and rangers at the park.

Whipsnade Zoo

The ZSL (Zoological Society of London) is a global conservation charity with a community working around the World to protect some of our planets most beautiful and endangered species. Their donations and funds going to maintaining this and other zoo’s to allow us to see these creatures in all of their glory. 

My interest in this zoo was to explore and discover the marine life in the aquarium that is joined with the butterfly house at the base of the zoo. 

The ‘Aquarium is a round-the-world journey through ten of the planet’s most extreme aquatic habitats, from a vibrant flooded forest in Brazil, to an African puddle! Whilst also providing a base for our leading conservation work, protecting some of the rarest and most critically endangered fish on the planet.

These habitats provide an accurate snapshot of life across the globe, built by the zoo’s conservationists to celebrate wildlife and showcase the precious ecosystems that we are at risk of losing. Watch snakes slither across the branches and geckos jump leaf to leaf across their forest habitats, as fish shoal below between the roots.’

‘Whipsnade Zoo is a conservation zoo which means behind the scenes we’re working to protect species, restore habitats and inspire change for wildlife. 

Our Whipsnade aquarium is the first public aquarium in the UK dedicated to conserving threatened and extinct-in-the-wild freshwater fish. These include species like the La Palma pupfish and Turkish killifish. 

As one of the few places in the world working with freshwater fish our aquarium was set up to prevent species like these from becoming extinct. Incredibly, 50% of the world’s fish species live in just 1% of the world’s water – freshwater habitats like lakes and rivers.

Whipsnade Zoo

Freshwater fish are found all over the world in all sorts of habitats including those you might be familiar with – like ancient lakes and fast flowing streams – as well as some more unusual places like underwater caves, flooded forests and even puddles. Sadly freshwater fish are often overlooked by traditional conservation programmes, but we know they are amazing and important animals and they’re in trouble. Pollution, damming and water drainage have all destroyed their natural habitats an invasive species often introduced by humans have had a devastating impact on wild populations.’ Whipsnade Zoo.

The zoo is much bigger than you could imagine and this really came across when exploring the area, its viewpoints, massive enclosures and green areas to sit and picnic in. It is a great day out with ample things to see and do. Visit Whipsnade and contribute to the future and to the wildlife and nature of the World that so desperately needs our help.


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About Author

Chantelle is a PADI Master Instructor and Managing Editor of The Scuba News UK. Her passions lay in travel and conservation. she has been all over the world and worked on some exciting projects and dived some spectacular sites. Her thirst to explore and drive to meet and work with new and interesting people has motivated her to keep moving. She works in some extremely remote areas and has a strong media presence. She has worked with various magazines and media and is keen to promote the good work that she comes across and the individuals who really invoke change in their fields. She has dived for over 20 years and is always seeking out the next thrill and dive experience. She can be found at UK dive shows and online easily and is always keen to hear your stories and say hello.

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