Find out more about all our animals
Why are the animals here?
There are many reasons why the animals are here. Some of our animals are rescues from the pet trade, others have come from other zoos and animal collections.
But no matter where an animal has come from, each and every one here is an ambassador for their species. Just by being here they help our visitors learn more about animals, the environment and what you can do to make a difference. Hopefully every single one of our visitors leaves with a greater appreciation for these wonderful creatures.
However some of the animals in these enclosures have another very important reason to be here. They are part of captive breeding programmes. Some of the species you’ll see here are endangered species. Some are even threatened with extinction.
Our job here is to not only care for the animals here with us, but to study them also. By working with these animals as closely as we do, we can learn from what works, and what doesn’t work. The information and knowledge gained from our work here is freely available to any appropriate organisation, anywhere in the world.
What happens to the animals bred here?
We are often asked if we breed for release. Release programmes for captive animals are incredibly complicated to create. For each species, the first and hardest question that has to be asked is, ‘Why are there no wild animals there already?’
If the reason for the lack of wild animals is still present, then there is no point in releasing captive bred animals. This could be a result of a number of factors including but not limited to habitat destruction and illegal poaching.
Most of the young produced here will go into captive breeding programmes both here in the UK, Europe and potentially the rest of the world. One of the most important roles of any good zoo is to ensure there is a genetically self-sustaining captive population of the species they keep. We are involved in a number of international species stud books and Species Survival Programmes.
Not all of the animals here are allowed to breed, only those that will positively enforce the viability of captive populations, as well as those that can continue to be used in programmes either here with us or at other zoological collections.
We do not breed animals for sale.
When animals are breeding, we monitor them closely to learn what we can, and to ensure the survival of healthy offspring. For individuals who require some help, we may intervene if required and normally return offspring to its own parents or some foster parents. This allows the animals to learn and express as many natural behaviours as possible.
Each of our enclosures takes the needs of the species kept within it into account. Some animals require space to fly, some need height to climb and others swim. This is why none of our enclosures are the same. Each species requires something slightly different to the next. With information gained from working with the animals ourselves, as well as other zoos throughout the world, and studies on animals in their wild habitats we aim to provide each and every animal with a suitable habitat in which they will not just survive, but also thrive.
We aim to allow the animals to express as many natural behaviours as possible in each enclosure, with each one designed to suit the needs of the species living in it, be enriching as well as being safe for all of the animals.
Please note that not all of the animals shown here will necessarily be on display on the day of your visit.