Chief Executive’s Blog

June 8, 2012 § Leave a comment

I am delighted to share the news that Jubilee Monday was the busiest day at Edinburgh Zoo for over three years, with a staggering 6,518 people enjoying being out and about exploring the park.  There was a great atmosphere at both of our parks, and the chimpanzees at Edinburgh Zoo and snow monkeys in the Highlands certainly enjoyed the union jack themed enrichment.

In the Budongo Trail at the Zoo, the female chimpanzees Eva and Edith have been spending lots of time with the male chimps as they are regularly in oestrus, which is very encouraging and we hope this may result in babies later this year.  The Living Links building, home to our squirrel and capuchin monkeys, has had a face lift over the past few months, with new indoor climbing frames erected and 28 large Scots pine trees planted in the outdoor enclosures.  These latest additions provide natural climbing opportunities for the monkeys.

The busy breeding season is well underway for our feathered inhabitants.  Three seems to be the magic number with our birds as the Nicobar pigeons, green winged doves (the new ones) and the chestnut backed thrushes have all produced three chicks so far.  Our pair of Egyptian vultures also laid their first eggs this year and the bird section is hand rearing a violet turaco that was abandoned by its parents – and it is doing very well indeed.  We just need our pair of Steller’s sea eagles who are showing a significant amount of interest in their keeper built nest to join in now.

Onto events, and on Thursday 21st June, we are hosting a Gardens Tour at Edinburgh Zoo with Simon Jones, our Gardens Manager.  It promises to be a really interesting and informative event. From 6.00- 8.00pm, it’s £5.00 for members and £7.00 for non-members and booking is recommended by phoning 0131 314 0334.

On Friday 22nd June we have a pre-school event organised by our Education Team.  The Deep Blue parent and baby event is free with Zoo entry, and there are classes at 10.30am and 2.00pm.  The classes include interactive storytelling and songs, with complimentary tea, coffee and biscuits. Again, booking is essential, so please call 0131 314 0330 or get in touch by email on

On the same day, there is also a drop in Bio Blitz activity taking place all day at Edinburgh Zoo.  Free with Zoo entry, visitors are invited to try their hand at identifying native insect, bird, mammal and plant species in our special survey area.

Our research team, based in our WildGenes lab, have had another busy week and have been hosting a scientist from the University of Padova in Italy. Michele Vidotto has been working with our team on a sturgeon genomic project – which aims to develop different techniques to enable the tracing of sturgeon and caviar. These Caspian Sea natives are extremely endangered due to overexploitation for their high value caviar. The research that our team is carrying out will go a long way to contributing towards rescuing the sturgeon population and stopping the illegal caviar trade.

Lastly, at the Highland Wildlife Park we have another of our extremely popular Behind the Scenes Photography Tours taking place on Saturday 23rd June.  Giving visitors the chance to explore and photograph the Park and its inhabitants with our experienced guide, advance booking on 01540 651976 or is essential.

I thought you might also like to know that Edinburgh Zoo is currently the number one followed animal attraction in the UK on twitter, with over 12,000 followers.

Best wishes,

Hugh Roberts


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