Chester Zoo

Fantastic Talk by Dr Mark Pilgrim Director general of Chester Zoo.

AFW-mark2-200x200 web link to Chester zoo

chester zoo

Chester Zoo was established in 1931. which is part of the North of England zoological society (charity) by a man named¬†George Mottershead. he was inspired to create a “zoo without bars”.

below is a link to the history of Chester Zoo.

They receive around 1.4 million visitors a year! Bringing in people must be difficult But they do it. If you have ever been to Chester Zoo, you will know how impressive and enjoying the zoo really is.

Now not everyone is in favor for zoos. But Chester Zoo isn’t simply a Zoo. ¬†Their¬†mission is to be a major force in conserving biodiversity worldwide, and they do it through a combination of field Conservation, research, conservation breeding, animal welfare, and education.

They  belong to a number of UK, European and international organisations, including the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA), the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) and the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA).

Chester Zoo has been involved in several  native species reintroduction projects including Sand Lizards, Hazel Dormice, Black Poplar and Harvest Mice.

They also support conservation breeding and reintroduction projects abroad as part of our field programmes, including the Mauritius Fody and Mauritius Olive White-eye in the Mascarenes, and conservation centers in the Philippines breeding several endemic species.

I will be the first to admit a few years ago I wasn’t in favor of Zoos. But with all the fantastic work that Chester zoo does my opinion has changed completely. I think Zoos are important both for conservation and educating the world.

Unfortunately there are still many zoos around the world that don’t give the animals the proper care and attention they need. The zoo is simply a place for people to go and observe the poor animals. This thankfully isn’t the case with Chester and with that they continue to work with other zoos around the world to improve them.


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Beavers back in Wales.


In 2008 the Scottish government granted a licence for the Scottish wildlife trust to begin trials on reintroducing beavers back into wild. In the mornings of 28th and 29th of May 2009 three families of beavers (11 animals in total) were successfully released into three separate lochs within the Knapdale Forest.

This has been a success, in August of this year (2013) it was reported that two kits were born, although they couldn’t be certain of the actual number due to previous kits not making an appearance until late September. ¬†Overall the trial has been a huge success.

Up to date reports can be found at

With the Scottish trial being so successful,  Natural Resources Wales are working with Farmers and fisheries to bring back Beavers into Wales.

Beavers were wiped out across Britain due to Hunting. They were hunted primarily for their fur. In Med evil times they were hunted for their sent glands to make Castoreum (similar to Aspirin in today’s medicine.)

Castoreum is an aromatic excretion of the castor sacs of the mature North American or European beaver. Used by the animal during scent marking and mating, this bitter, strong-smelling, orange-brown secretion is dried, ground and put into alcohol to produce the aromatic castoreum resinoid used in perfumery.

In a couple of articles I read, there is still evidence that this is still used for certain food flavorings in today’s ¬†food.

Castoreum is an FDA-approved food additive in the United States, and appears on the ingredient lists of many food, beverages, and chewing gums. This is listed as

“Natural Flavoring”

It’s also used in a wide range of fragrances !

Although there is a bit of grey area in these articles, they’re worth a read..

and fellow Blogger

Anyhow these are a few reasons why beavers are hunted and were  wiped out in Britain

the reintroduction of beavers back into wales is a fantastic idea…Humans wiped them out so it’s only fair we bring them back!

Bringing the beavers back would have a overall positive affect through out Wales not only would it be fantastic from an ecology point of view but beavers are like by all and would Benefit the financial climate, in increasing tourism to the area. ¬†¬†( it’s a sad fact that when asking about reintroducing a species back into an area, that was wiped out by humans. is money. so tourism is high up on the list!

Human greed and money aside the main benefits which I think is more important are

Beaver play a crucial role as a ‚Äėkeystone‚Äô species, restoring wetland eco-systems and producing a network of enriched riparian habitats.

Ponds created from damming provide beaver with a food source as well as protection from predators. They promote growth of aquatic vegetation and create a favoured habitat for invertebrates which in turn encourages greater amphibian and mammal life ‚Äď including otter, water vole, frog, newt and dragonfly.

The coppicing of trees and other vegetation reduces canopy cover and creates further habitat diversity as well as providing a supply of dead wood. Increased light levels encourage growth of under-storey plants and aquatic flora as well as a growing abundance of invertebrates ‚Äď with further benefits to a wide range of species including birds such as duck, heron, woodpecker and kingfisher. ¬†(Natural Resources Wales)

The only Negative impact, that’s if it can be classes as negative is localized flooding from damming, this does lead to tree death, But this then leads to enriching the ecosystem.

More information can be found Or

Overall I think it’s a fantastic idea to bring beavers back to Wales. I wish the Welsh Beaver project team the best of luck and can’t wait to see some beavers in the Wild

090723_beavers_1          Baby-Beaver-Kit-2-288x192 Photo by Shutterstock

And finally something just to make you Smile

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Large-scale questions in the study of mammalian biology: limitations and opportunities

polar bear

An interesting talk from Dr Phil Stephens of the University of Durham. link to the university of Durham home page.

Dr Phil Stephens of the University of Durham

This afternoons talk gave an incite into mammalian population dynamics and the studies that go with them,  The question of whether decline in prey plays a bigger role in carnivore abundance and declines.

Little is known about mammalian biology, compared to other animals (birds and butterflies) (Stephens, 2013).  Improving the information on mammal species would provide important insights into their biology and physiology for conservation and management purposes.

Data collecting 

mammal data comes from short scientific studies (less than 5 years) Also from long term studies. This bit of data sets comes from hunter.   would there be a better way of collecting data rather than using data from hunters?

Long term data collecting can be expensive. Old data sets are often used, Could this lead to misleading information? Are  the data sets correct?

To quote King (1997) “Data from old. possibly unreliable studies often results in the development of inaccurate conclusions regarding the empirical world”.

To gain an increased Knowledge of mammal populations perhaps  previous studies should be carried out again, With the use of more up to date techniques?

I recently read an article addressing the impact on endangered species because of the increase in human populations

Researchers determined that by the end of the next decade the average growing nation should expect 3.3 percent more threatened species, a figure that will jump to 10.8 percent by 2050.

With this information, it then opens the question of Is the rise in human populations a major impact on mammalian populations?

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