As we, here at ZSL, begin to truly bed in to the new decade, and the exciting yet mammoth mission ahead – to continue protecting animals around the world from going extinct - we take one last look at some of the things ZSL achieved for wildlife in 2018 and 2019.
Then it’s full steam ahead; roaring 20s here we come.
If you haven’t already read all 87 pages of our annual review then you were probably busy out saving wildlife - which is great. And if that’s you, then here’s an A-Z video of what we got up to, just to catch you up:
Not ready to commit to the whole alphabet? Or perhaps you’re just enjoying reading this article, and, much like 2019, weren’t ready for it to end? Well, either way, let’s have a look at A,B,C together…
A is for Aquarium
In July, ZSL Whipsnade Zoo opened a brand new freshwater aquarium – inviting visitors to explore the secret life of fish. These often overlooked, magnificent mini-wonders can survive 66 days on land, live in the desert and… well we’re not going to give away all their secrets here.
With 50% of the world’s fish species living in just 1% of its water (the fresh variety), you’ll have to visit to uncover more about the mysterious fish you never even knew existed.
It’s also the world’s first aquarium dedicated to conserving threatened and extinct-in-the-wild fish – with a conservation breeding centre (read tanks of newly hatched fry) at its heart. Fin-tastic.
B is for Breeding Programmes
Or should that be B for Babies?
ZSL London and Whipsnade Zoos have very serious commitments to the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP), ensuring that animals breed healthily, maintaining genetically diverse populations and reinforcing the protection of endangered animals.
However, the outcome of these important, serious, programmes are…almost impossibly cute.
Sorry, we know that’s very unscientific but let’s just take, for example our wolverine kits, and giraffe calf born at Whipsnade in 2019 to name but a few…
Case in point.
C is for Chinese giant salamander
In September, ZSL London Zoo keepers had a surprise when Border Force asked them to home four of the world’s biggest, most critically endangered, amphibians – Chinese giant salamanders.
The new arrivals, rescued from their attempted smuggling, soon settled into London living with the care and attention of their expert keepers. With one, named Professor Lew, now on public display.
ZSL’s Curator of Amphibians, Ben Tapley, said: “Chinese giant salamanders may not be everyone’s idea of beautiful – I’ve heard them described as giant brown blobs with eyes – but Professor Lew’s crinkly purple tail and slimy smile have already made the newcomer a big hit with all our keepers.”
Well, who can blame them?
All of us here at ZSL would like to take this final opportunity to wish you a happy and peaceful 2020.
Wherever you are, jump in, recycle, petition, plant wildflowers, stand against single-use plastic, support conservation and get involved. Together we can make 2020 a year where we truly fight for the future of wildlife.
Please donate to support our next year and many years to come, of work for a world where wildlife thrives.
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