Chief Executive’s Blog

June 15, 2012 § Leave a comment

This week saw Scotland get into the swing of the Olympic spirit, as the Olympic torch made its way through the country – it even made a quick pit stop at Edinburgh Zoo.  Some of our staff were lucky enough to get the opportunity to hold the torch.  In particular our panda team took a great Olympian action shot with the torch, definitely worth a visit to our Facebook page to see some of the photos.

News from the Highlands is that Marty and Dominica, our Amur tiger couple, have been spending more and more time together in the same enclosure. This is exciting news for the Society, as there are only thought to be around 400 and 450 of these rare and endangered big cats left in the wild.  If successful, their cubs could be the first to be born at the Park in over three years and would play a vital role in the conservation of this species.

Sarah Robinson, one of our conservation and research managers, has just returned from the EAZA Conservation Forum in Vienna.  Sarah gave a presentation to our colleagues on a selection of RZSS on-going research work.  Her talk included the Delta Diet Key, a project that started back in 2007 with the aim of supporting the sustainable management of the world’s largest wetland, the Brazilian Pantanal.  The Key is a tool developed to understand and analyse plant resources quickly, discovering which herbivores are eating what type of plant.  Using the plant key enables strategies to be developed and implemented to ensure that the Pantanal continues to be able to support and nourish both wild and domestic animals.

WildGenes, the genetics lab at Edinburgh Zoo, has hosted three German scientists this week from the Senckenberg Research Institute.  RZSS is collaborating with the Institute on beaver and wildcat genetics projects that aim to provide genetic information to assist with the conservation management of these species.  Dr Ross McEwing, one of our WildGenes scientists, has just left Bangkok in Thailand for Jakarta in Indonesia.  Ross is training other scientists around the world in important wildlife DNA forensics.

With Father’s Day just around the corner, Edinburgh Zoo has a host of events on offer this weekend, including a BBQ lunch at the Big Griller and creative arts and crafts activities.  The Highland Wildlife Park has a special Dads go free offer with a full paying child; visit the Highland Wildlife Park’s Facebook page to download your voucher.

Still on Father’s Day, one of Edinburgh Zoo’s newest fathers is Meta; a grey-legged douroucouli.  Meta has recently fathered a second baby with Delzi, our female douroucouli.  Arriving on the 1st June, the baby is too young to be sexed and is sticking fairly close to its parents.  Grey-legged douroucoulis, also known as night monkeys, are instantly recognisable due to their large eyes and their brightly coloured stomachs and under arms.  You can see this growing family in the Magic Forest at Edinburgh Zoo.

Best wishes,

Hugh Roberts


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