Chief Executive’s Blog

August 15, 2013 § Leave a comment


Hello again.

News from the Scottish Beaver Trial in Knapdale is that five beaver kits born this year have been sighted, which means that the beavers have bred every year of the trial.

Other conservation news for you is that Dr Helen Senn of the WildGenes laboratory and Roisin Campbell–Palmer are both attending the 11th International Mammalogical Congress 2013 in Belfast. Roisin will be giving a talk on beavers and Helen will be giving two presentations about WildGenes work on reintroductions and conservation genetics.

Lake Oku in Cameroon

Lake Oku in Cameroon

Thomas Doherty-Bone who works on the RZSS supported project Conservation and Research of Amphibians in Cameroon and Uganda has just had a paper published. The paper discusses the state of the critically endangered Lake Oku clawed frog which can be found only at Lake Oku in Cameroon. There have been high incidences of deaths with dead frogs being found around the lake from 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2010. The reasons for the deaths still remain unclear as they did not appear to be amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis which can be a common cause of death in adult frogs. You can read more here – Morbidity and Mortality of the Critically Endangered Lake Oku clawed frog Xenopus longipes. T. M. Doherty-Bone et al http://www.intres.com/abstracts/esr/v21/n2/p115-128

I am delighted to announce that the Highland Wildlife Park has been shortlisted for an award by the Highlands & Islands Tourism Awards Team. Congratulations on their hard work.

Education staff have been greatly impressed with the work of the 50 students who attended the Science Summer School at Edinburgh Zoo. This is the eighth year we have offered the week long course which enables 15-17 year olds to experience the application of science at the Zoo and to engage with our expert staff. This year the students studied our warty pigs, capuchins, penguins, gibbons and sun bears. They were challenged to come up with their own research question and behavioural study as well as create enrichment and investigate collection planning, interpretation and veterinary work. One of the more bizarre challenges of the week was suturing a chicken thigh as part of the veterinary workshop, which also included dissection of a fish and demonstration of ultrasound with Romain one of our expert vet team. At the end of the week the students final hurdle was to give a presentation to an audience that included parents and family – which is no easy task, and demonstrates development of one of the most important scientific skills, that of being able to communicate their results. We are very proud of the success of this programme as many past students have used their science summer school experience to help in completing their school studies and in going on to university.

“Our inability to think beyond our own species, or to be able to co-habit with other life forms in what is patently a massive collaborative quest for survival, is surely a malady that pervades the human soul.”
― Lawrence Anthony

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