Chief Executive’s Blog
April 14, 2015 § Leave a comment
We have had a really busy Easter period at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo and RZSS Highland Wildlife Park and the weather, which has mainly been pleasant, has certainly helped.
I am very pleased to announce that our Latin American co-ordinator, Arnaud Desbiez, has been nominated for a Whitley Award (also known as the ‘Green Oscars’) for his work on the Giant Armadillo Project in the Pantanal, Brazil. This international prize honours exceptional individuals who, through their outstanding conservation work in developing countries, are redefining the way people engage with the natural world in the 21st century.
Arnaud is one of seven wildlife conservationists to have been nominated for the prestigious award and was shortlisted from a group of 174 applicants. The winner will be announced at an event in London at the end of April. We are very proud of Arnaud’s achievements and are looking forward to the announcement of the winner of the Whitley Award in the near future.
We have also had further good news from our RZSS conservation team out in Brazil. After searching for Alex, the baby giant armadillo that they have been tracking for some time, the team have found him in his mother’s territory. Alex – perhaps the world’s most famous giant armadillo – has been monitored by the team since his birth on 2nd July 2013. The team are happy to report that Alex is doing well and is now fully independent, foraging alone and digging his own burrows.
The Giant Armadillo Project team are also busy organising the first Giant Armadillo Epidemiology Symposium, which will be held at Sao Paulo Zoo. The two-day event will be attended by the 13 different institutions that use samples collected by the Project to present their results, exchange ideas and make suggestions of new lines of research, as well as data collection. It is hoped that the Symposium will further advance the field of epidemiology in armadillos and conservation medicine in general.
The penguins at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo are well into their annual breeding season and the first eggs are starting to appear. The gentoos have already laid 22 eggs and our rockhoppers eight. We are particularly hopeful that we may have our first rockhopper chick(s) in six years this year, as this is the first year our younger rockhopper birds have reached maturity and have laid eggs. We look forward to seeing any chicks emerge from late May onwards.
Finally, the Wild about Scotland bus, our educational outreach programme in association with Clydesdale Bank, was at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo this week. Many children took the opportunity to hop onto the bus and learn about Scotland’s native species, such as the wildcat and beaver. The children had a great time learning and taking part in fun activities. The Wild about Scotland bus then drove over to the City Arts Centre and Summerhall in Edinburgh as part of the annual Edinburgh International Science Festival.
“Destroying rainforest for economic gain is like burning a Renaissance painting to cook a meal.”
― Edward O. Wilson