Back from the Brink: behind-the-scenes conservation stories

Back from the Brink


Discover stories and videos about the wildlife you're helping to save through your Back from the Brink donation, told by our teams at the forefront of conservation projects around the world and ground-breaking programmes at London and Whipsnade Zoos. Hear about the animals you know and love, as well as some that you haven’t yet heard of.

So that you don't miss a thing, you can look back at previous Back from the Brink email stories at any time on this page.




  • Saving black rhinos in Kenya

Between 1970 and 1990, black rhino numbers in Kenya plummeted from over 20,000 to just 350, due to illegal poaching, habitat loss and degradation. Since then, ZSL and our partners in Kenya have been working to bring the black rhino back from the brink. This collaborative effort has significantly improved the outlook for this much-loved species, as Moses Wekesa, our field manager in Kenya, explains in this video.


  • Critically Endangered big-headed turtles

While they may not be conventionally cute to most people - with their oversized heads and long, whip-like tails - big-headed turtles represent a vitally important and unique branch of the evolutionary tree and have much to teach us about animal adaptions. There is literally no other species like them on earth, and they are at risk of becoming extinct.

Four big-headed turtles arrived at ZSL London Zoo after they were discovered being smuggled into Canada illegally for the pet trade, labelled as toys. The turtles are currently being cared for behind-the-scenes at London Zoo, and now their keepers are reintroducing the adult turtles in the hope that they’ll successfully breed.

In the field, ZSL works with the Asian Turtle Program of Indo-Myanmar Conservation to help implement vital health screening protocols ensuring the safe release and rehabilitation of big-headed turtles at reintroduction sites, to help secure a future for this totally unique species.

Watch our video to hear more about this important work from Kim Carter, Reptile and Amphibian Keeper at ZSL London Zoo.


  • Reintroducing hazel dormice to UK woodlands

Once common across the UK, hazel dormice are now considered at risk of extinction due to woodland habitat loss and mismanagement. But thanks to ZSL, working with our conservation partners, we've managed to successfully reintroduce over 1,000 dormice into 13 UK counties. 

Watch our new video to hear from ZSL's Georgina Gerard and Dr Tammy Shadbolt and follow the journey of 30 hazel dormice that we reintroduced to British woodland last month, from quarantine at London Zoo to their new forever home.


  • Oysters - our ocean superheros

Native oysters provide huge benefits to coastal UK waters by helping to clean seas and their nurseries provide an important habitat for many species of marine wildlife. But these unlikely ocean superheroes are in trouble, with UK populations declining by over 95%, our vital work has already seen 4,000 oysters filtering clean the equivalent of almost half a million bathtubs of seawater!

Watch our video to hear from Celine Gamble, ZSL's Oyster Restoration Network Coordinator, on how we're returning oysters to UK waters.


Interviews, blogs and articles


  • Behind-the-scenes at a unique kestrel conservation project in Mauritius.

An interview with keeper Jaz about Mauritius kestrels

Once the rarest bird in the world, Mauritius kestrels are gradually returning to the forests and mountains of Mauritius. Jaz Sinclair, tropical bird keeper at London Zoo, tells us about her time as part of an incredible conservation project, and what it was like to live cheek-to-beak with a lot of lively hatchlings – from serving up rodent three ways, to running a ‘kestrel crèche’.

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  • Saving the last wild horses on earth 

Przewalski's horse with foal

Adam Davinson, Senior Keeper at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, reveals how a breeding programme at Whipsnade Zoo has helped to save the majestic Przewalski’s horse – the last wild horse on earth.

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  • An evolutionary wonder: the Lake Oku frog

Female Lake Oku frog

Hear from London Zoo Keeper, Charli Ellis about the Lake Oku frog - an evolutionary wonder that's only found in one lake! It's an incredible story of hope for a unique and Critically Endangered amphibian.

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  • Masters of the sea: sharks and rays under threat

Back from the Brink - the great hammerhead shark

Sharks are facing their toughest challenge yet – humans. Take the plunge with us to discover some of the world’s most unique and threatened sharks, and find out how we are helping to safeguard the future of this ancient group of animals.

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