Chief Executive’s Blog

July 26, 2013 § Leave a comment


3D Cakes Penguin SculptureAs you will probably know, Monday was Edinburgh Zoo’s 100th Birthday and we had a spectacular day of celebrations. Local Corstorphine business 3D Cakes created a life size king penguin sculpture for the big day, which can be seen on display at the front entrance for the next two weeks. Every child that visited the Zoo during our birthday received animal masks and had the opportunity to hunt for 100 toy pandas that had been hidden around the site.

John Hannah at the Edinburgh Zoo Centenary celebrationsWe were also paid a visit by Scottish actor John Hannah who had narrated the recent Edinburgh Zoo documentary Animal Magic. It was an immense pleasure welcoming John and his family to the Zoo and John seemed to enjoy meeting our penguins and saying hello to visitors in the park on the day.

While it is wonderful to reflect back on the amazing memories and achievements at Edinburgh Zoo over the past century, it is also the perfect time to look forward to our future. Conservation and education are two of our primary aims – as the world becomes ever more overpopulated, polluted and stripped of its natural resources, we will continue to play a crucial role in raising awareness amongst visitors about the importance of securing a future for all species, including our own. We will also continue to expand its work on ground-breaking conservation projects both within Scotland and on an international level.

Edinburgh Zoo Centenary Rose Garden - Dutch GoldImageAlso at Edinburgh Zoo, Simon Jones our Curator of Plants and Head of Sustainability last night hosted a gardens talk and walkabout for the Zoo, which was very popular despite the poor weather. During his talk, Simon discussed the many flowers and plants found on the site as well as the different projects currently being undertaken by the gardens team. One major project is the centenary rose garden, which will be completed around November.

In other exciting news, I am delighted to announce that the Highland Wildlife Park has won funding support from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The funding of £51,700 will go towards a redevelopment and engagement project to enhance the Park’s infrastructure, interpretation and education. This will include constructing a 350 metre long raised walking platform from the Park’s entrance through the front drive-through reserve to give walkers and cyclists direct access to the Park. New interpretation and an audio digital learning guide will be created to enhance visitor experience and learning and we will also be developing a volunteer and education programme. More volunteers will be on site to promote our conservation projects and learning packs will be created for use within local schools and community groups. Finally, the funding will also go towards expanding the Park’s Scottish wildcat facility.

The more species we allow to become extinct the closer we ourselves come to extinction.’ Gerald Durrell.

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