Chief Executive’s Blog

July 12, 2013 § Leave a comment

With the official centenary date of Edinburgh Zoo almost here, our celebratory Sand Zoo is almost complete. An amazing work of art, I’ve been watching the sand sculpture take shape each day. The level of detail Jamie and Andy from Sand in Your Eye have put into the animals’ fur, skin and general form is amazing. In case you’re wondering what I’m talking about, we’ve had a massive three by three metre sculpture made out of sand that features animals from Edinburgh Zoo created on our mansion house lawn. There is also a 12 by 12 metre beach in the city complete with deck chairs, parasols and buckets and spades nearby. It’s all been perfect timing with the stunning heat wave we’ve all been experiencing across the country. The Sand Zoo is open from now until probably the end of August – nature dependent! Come in and enjoy it whilst it lasts.SandZoo_completed_kp_12.07.13_web

Still with Edinburgh Zoo’s centenary, BBC1 Scotland will air a documentary Animal Magic – 100 Years of Edinburgh Zoo on Sunday 14th at 7pm. Taking a look back at the Zoo’s history, the documentary is filled with famous faces, both human and animal, as well as spectacular historic footage. It covers how the Zoo has evolved over the past century since 1913 and what our future vision is, as conservation is of course more vital now than ever to protect and maintain the diverse world around us. If you’re unable to watch the documentary live on Sunday it will be available via BBC iPlayer, but here’s also a sneak preview of a couple of clips

RZSS Conservation in Action 2Still with Edinburgh Zoo, our Discovery & Learning team are currently running an event called RZSS Conservation in Action in the Budongo Trail lecture theatre, highlighting the conservation work of RZSS around the world. Drop in until Friday 19th July to learn about four in-situ conservation projects, both at home and abroad: The Scottish Beaver Trial, Highland Tiger project, Budongo Conservation Field Station in Uganda and the Pantanal Conservation and Research Initiative.

Throughout the summer holiday we will have two Nuffield Research Placement students doing studies at the Zoo. Nuffield Research Placements provide over 1,000 UK students each year with the opportunity to work alongside scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians. Placements are given to students in their first year of a post-16 science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) course. Nuffield particularly supports students who don’t have a family history of going to university or those who attend schools in less well-off areas.

One of our students is working on the Zoo’s long term analysis of how chimpanzees utilise the plants within their enclosure and the other is looking at which animals our visitor’s anthropomorphise (attribute human characteristics onto non-human things) more than others. She will look into what factors dictate the level that we anthropomorphise certain animal species, such as the evolutionary closeness of the animal. Their final reports are due at the end of August, so check back then to hear about some of their findings.

Travelling to the north, this week was the first week of Science Summer School up at the Highland Wildlife Park. A group of students studied three different species and learnt about conservation and science on site, giving presentations of their work at the end of the week. The Park has also been awarded the Tripadvisor Certificate of Excellence – the Certificate of Excellence is awarded to businesses that rank in the top 10% worldwide for traveller feedback.

Moon FestivalFinally, tickets have just gone on sale for a special one off Moon Festival event at Edinburgh Zoo to tie in with the Chinese Moon Festival. On Thursday 19th September guests can enjoy an evening panda viewing on the candlelit walkway and join in a night-time lantern walk to visit other species in the Zoo. We’ll also be serving Chinese tea and mooncakes, traditionally shared during the moon festival. The event will last an hour and a half and there are two timeslots to choose from when booking: 6.30pm to 8pm and 7pm to 8.30pm. Adult tickets are £20 and children are £15. Visit either or phone Jo on 0131 314 0340.


“Nature is not a place to visit. It is home.”
― Gary Snyder


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