Chief Executive’s Blog

May 2, 2014 § Leave a comment



Last night was a very special evening for RZSS, with Dr Jane Goodall talking to an audience of over 600 people at Edinburgh’s Assembly Hall. The event was a partnership between RZSS, the Jane Goodall Institute UK (JGI) and the University of Edinburgh, with all proceeds from the evening going towards the wonderful conservation work carried out by JGI UK.

Jane has been a very dear friend of mine for a number of years and it has been an absolute honour to have her visit RZSS and Edinburgh Zoo during her very busy 80th birthday celebrations. She is a real inspiration – at an age when most of us would be hoping to settle down she spends most of each year travelling the world to raise awareness about the work of JGI as well as encourage each person to do their part in preserving the planet for generations to come.

Her talk, titled ‘Jane Goodall: Reasons for Hope’ was the public launch of RZSS’s Tribal Elders: Words of Wisdom series, an ongoing series of events featuring some of the world’s most inspiring and innovative people on the planet. The series aims to rekindle the ancient tradition of oral storytelling between elders and younger generations, and will offer a unique platform to distil the wisdom of a lifetime. As the inaugural tribal elder, Jane passed the baton on to broadcaster and zoologist Aubrey Manning, OBE, who will be the second Tribal Elder featured in the series, on Thursday 23 October 2014.

In an exciting conservation update, Glen Rosa, one of Highland Wildlife Park’s European bison this week arrived in Romania as part of a coordinated reintroduction project. Led by the Aspinall Foundation, seven female bison from the UK and Northern Ireland were selected for release into the Vanatori Neamt Nature Park, where they will help augment numbers and genetic diversity within an already established group of reintroduced bison. European bison had become extinct in the wild less than 100 years ago but thanks to the work of zoological organisations they are gradually making a comeback.

In other animal news, breeding season has begun this year with two Mishmi takin calves born recently at Highland Wildlife Park to kick things off. Both calves are female and fitting in well with the herd – they can be seen in the enclosure near the entrance to the parking lot. The first bison calf has also been born at the Park to Glen Farclas, bringing the total number of bison to 17. At Edinburgh Zoo the penguin nest site is abuzz with activity; the gentoos have now laid over 38 eggs! Their antics can be watched via Penguin Cam and this year we have included a handy diagram of the nest layout so you know how the keepers track their progress.

Finally, this Saturday 3 May, Scottish Opera will be coming to Edinburgh Zoo for two exclusive performances of ‘A Little Bit of Madama Butterfly’. The 20 minute performances are based on a form of Japanese storytelling and are brought to life by a storyteller, colourful illustrations, a singer and two instrumentalists. Occurring at the Education Centre at 11:30am and 1:30pm, the performances are free with Zoo entry.

For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled. ~Richard P. Feynman







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