Chief Executive’s Blog

June 6, 2014 § Leave a comment

Last week I mentioned that the Society was taking part in BIAZA’s annual Love Your Zoo Week. Well, if you did not get the chance, I would really recommend taking a look at our six conservation focused YouTube videos.

From a breakthrough in Pallas’s cat breeding that revolves around a complex mix of cutting edge technology, medical treatment plans and animal management, to the launch of a project that will take frontline wildlife CSI techniques in South East Asia to the next level, I am extremely proud to share some of the work of RZSS with you.

You can find links to the YouTube videos here at

Speaking of the new illegal wildlife project in SE Asia…

Together with the UK Government, we are funding a joint initiative that will provide front line forensic support for enforcement operations against illegal traffickers of wildlife. This means ensuring essential evidence collection and analysis of samples using techniques like: DNA species identification, parentage testing, geographical provenance identification and additional methods for aging specimens like tiger skins, ivory or rhino horn.

Dr Ross McEwing

Dr Ross McEwing

The initiative began on the 30 May and is being led by Dr Ross McEwing, Illegal Wildlife Trade Programme Manager for the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland and TRACE Wildlife Forensics Network. Dr McEwing recently relocated to the region and will be based in Jakarta, Indonesia for at least the next three years.

Supported and welcomed by the ASEAN WEN, the overarching multilateral governmental mechanism for enforcement against the illegal wildlife trade in South East Asia, the initiative will work within existing government laboratories to develop their skills and their forensic chain of custody process to ensure the quality of any evidence is consistent with international standards and suitable for prosecution when needed.

Bison calves by Jan Morse

Bison calves by Jan Morse

To end with, it is definitely that time of year when new arrivals start to put in an appearance. Too many to mention, I am sure I will miss some off, but in recent weeks we have seen gentoo chicks (and many more eggs still to hatch), Darwin’s rhea chicks, pudu fawns, cassowary eggs and a kudu calf born at Edinburgh Zoo. In the Highlands at the Wildlife Park there are Japanese Macaque babies, capercaillie eggs, satyr tragopan chicks, snowy owl chicks, Scottish wildcat kittens, Pallas’s cat kittens, northern lynx, Bukhara deer and European bison calves. I am sure there are more to come and I look forward to sharing photographs shortly.


You forget that the fruits belong to all and that the land belongs to no one

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discours sur l’origine et les fondements de l’inégalité parmi les hommes, 1755


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