Chief Executive’s Blog

January 11, 2013 § Leave a comment

Welcome to my first blog of 2013.

Last year was a great year for RZSS and I’m sure we can all look forward to another exciting year ahead for both Edinburgh Zoo and Highland Wildlife Park.

Elephant_ rideFirstly, 2013 is an extremely special year for Edinburgh Zoo, as it celebrates its centenary. A wonderful milestone of 100 years which will see a whole range of special events, talks, lectures and lots more, take place over the course of the year. Some of the events will include some new firsts for the Zoo, including Edinburgh Zoo Nights which will be specifically for adults to experience the Zoo like never before. I’m also particularly excited to say that a unique centenary exhibition will take place in Edinburgh’s Central Library, which will guide visitors through Edinburgh Zoo’s 100 year history – packed with stories, photos and memorabilia.

This truly special occasion is also the perfect time for us to look back and reflect over the last 100 years to the present day; and as part of the celebrations the Zoo is also looking to collect memories from visitors that have come to the Zoo over the years. Your memories can be submitted as photographs, written copy or film footage. In addition, it would also be wonderful for visitors to share their memories with us on camera – a talking head style piece. To share a special memory of Edinburgh Zoo at any point over the last 100 years, please email Sandie Robb, or send in to Sandie Robb, Senior Education Officer, Edinburgh Zoo, 134 Corstorphine Road, Edinburgh, EH12 6TS. Please be sure to include your full name, year of birth and contact telephone number or email, also stating that you give permission for RZSS to print this memory and any images provided in any of RZSS publications and websites.

As a conservation charity, RZSS is involved in many different conservation projects worldwide. One of the latest projects sees us play a vital part in the conservation of two threatened species of tragopans, members of the pheasant family. In my last blog of 2012 I mentioned that the Highland Wildlife Park recently took on some new winged residents, Satyr tragopans and Temminck’s tragopans. The project is spearheaded by the Indian Government working in conjunction with the Wild Pheasant Association (WPA).

Satyr_TragopanThe project aims to establish breeding groups for these two species and create a successful conservation breeding programme for these colourful birds, so that they are available for potential reintroduction in the future. The Highland Wildlife Park was brought on board to act as a pre-export quarantine facility; the birds were housed in the Park’s purpose built bird facility – having worked with the WPA on previous occasions it was great to know that they value and have confidence in the Park’s abilities to handle this key aspect of the project.

The ever popular Annual Zoo Review is due to take place on Thursday 17th January, running from 7pm – 9pm it’s a fantastic opportunity hear Zoo staff take a look back at 2012 and also look forward to the coming 12 months. This illustrated talk from some of our experienced and dedicated animal keepers will then be followed by a question and answer session. Tickets for the talk are £5 for members and £7 for non-members and due to the popularity of this event you can reserve a space by calling 0131 314 0379. Tea and coffee will also be served from 6.30pm.

Staying with events for now, the successful Zoo Tots programmes is back again this year. The series of events specially designed for six months to five years old is ideal for youngsters to try their hand at fun new activities and play sessions and learn whilst having fun at the same time. The programme kicks off on Friday 15th February and will run every Friday until 19th April. Each activity costs £2 per child and Zoo admission also applies. For more information on Zoo Tots or any of our other up-coming events please visit

Lastly, as part of the Zoo’s centenary events, head along to the Budongo Trail – home to Edinburgh Zoo’s 19 lively chimps – from 15th January to 26th November to watch some fascinating documentaries and footage taken at Edinburgh Zoo over the last 100 years. The screenings will take place from 11am – 3pm at the Budongo Trail lecture theatre.

Bye for now,



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