The bags are packed, the really warm clothes have been bought (and tested!) and tomorrow I will be leaving our colony of black-footed penguins (and Ricky) behind to work with their cousins out in the wild. My name is Evelyn, and I am a trainee keeper on the bird section at ZSL London Zoo. I have been given the opportunity to spend a month working as a volunteer research assistant, helping Tom, our resident penguinologist, with his current research. We will be travelling to a variety of islands on the Antarctic Peninsula, collecting DNA samples in the form of feathers from as many penguins as possible. These can be analysed and used to track the penguins' migration. It all sounds very exciting, but there's always a bit of apprehension when visiting a new place. Although I have caught my fair share of penguins (and our black-footed penguins know how to make it difficult for us!) there's always the slight panic that maybe catching larger gentoos or kings will be a lot more challenging. This kind of opportunity is not readily available to us keepers, and it is for this reason that I asked to write this blog. Hopefully there will be lots of exciting things to write about, and lots of pictures to amaze everyone (although I am, in no way, an expert photographer so hopefully my camera won't let me down!) .
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Every month one of the pieces held in ZSL’s Library and at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo will feature here as Artefact of the month.
Get the latest on ZSL's conservation work in Asia.
Find out more about life in our B.U.G.S exhibit
A new Open Access journal for research at the interface of remote sensing, ecology and conservation.
See the latest ranges, updates and special offers from our exciting new online shop.
Excerpts from ZSL's award winning members' magazine.
A blog for lovers of ZSL London Zoo. Bringing you amazing animal facts and exclusive access to the world's scientific oldest zoo.
Discover more about the UK's biggest zoo with our fun blog posts!
Join the ZSL Discovery and Learning team as they venture out of the zoo and in to the wild.
Catch up on our latest Conservation Blogs
ZSL Whipsnade Zoo's elephant keepers give an insight into the daily goings on in the elephant barn.
Read about conservation of tigers in Asia.
One man is boldly going where no other ZSL videographer has gone before - the land of Mountain Chicken Frogs.
From the field, to the lab, catch up with the scientists on the cutting edge of conservation biology at ZSL’s Institute of Zoology.
The Wildlife Wood Project has been working in Cameroon since 2007 to encourage better wildlife management in logging concessions.
Updates from penguin conservation expeditions to Antarctica
Amur leopard conservation blog
Meet ZSL Whipsnade Zoo's latest (and leggiest) arrival, a baby giraffe!
Follow the ZSL Biodiversity and Palm Oil team, based in Bogor, Indonesia.
The Chagos marine reserve, designated in 2010 and currently the world’s largest no take marine reserve, is a sought-after spot for marine research.
Follow ZSL conservationists studying desert baboons in Namibia.