ZSL scientific events calendar for 2017

Ever wondered what happens behind the scenes of a porpoise post-mortem? Have you got a suggestion to help us save the planet’s most illegally-trafficked mammal? Then look no further.

ZSL has a fascinating series of scientific events planned for 2017, so make sure you save the dates now... 

From the River Thames on ZSL London Zoo’s doorstep, to the savannah of West Africa, ZSL’s experts will be joined by guest speakers from across the globe to debate some of the most pressing issues facing the natural world.  

Sperm whale stranded in Pegwell Bay

Science Behind the Scenes: CSI of the Sea: pollutants in our seas
Tuesday 10 January 2017, 6.30pm - 8pm
Tickets cost £5

ZSL is inviting the public to go behind the scenes of a stranded harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) post-mortem examination. Live-streamed from the lab to the lecture hall, with commentary and Q&A from the team’s lead pathologist, the evening will shine a light on the work of the UK’s Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme (CSIP); the team who investigate the causes of marine mammal stranding to determine what can be done to protect these species and inform future conservation action.


Pangolin credit Dan Challender

Saving pangolins: earth’s most trafficked wild mammals
Tuesday 21 February 2017, 6pm – 7.45pm
Free event

Pangolins, or ‘scaly anteaters’ are the most poached and trafficked wild mammals in the world. Despite more pangolins having been removed from the wild over the past decade than elephants, rhinoceros and tigers combined, pangolins have, until recently, been the forgotten victims of the illegal wildlife trade

At this event a panel of conservation experts and pangolin specialists from across the world will discuss how we can turn the tide for this unique species, and ensure that it isn’t pushed over the brink to extinction.  


New Zealand Robin

Immigrants to the rescue! How can immigration help to save threatened wildlife populations?
Tuesday 14 March 2017, 6pm – 7.45pm
Free event

Small populations of threatened species the world over can be particularly vulnerable to random events such as natural disasters or disease outbreaks, as well as the risks of inbreeding. One potential solution is to introduce external unrelated individuals (or ‘immigrants’) into these populations to increase genetic diversity – a form of ‘genetic rescue’. And yet, despite the promise of this solution, there has been very little uptake in the process. 

This panel discussion will explore the hurdles that genetic rescue presents, why there are fewer than 20 published studies of its use, and how it could help conserve species across the animal kingdom.


Mountain Chicken frog

Conserving the mountain chicken frog: the impact of chytridiomycosis under scrutiny
Tuesday 11 April 2017, 6pm – 7.45pm
Free event

As the chytrid fungus continues to devastate amphibian populations worldwide, the mountain chicken frog in the Caribbean has provided researchers a unique opportunity to gain further understanding of the disease. Since the emergence of the fungus on the islands of Montserrat and Dominica in the 2000s, the species has seen one of the fastest species declines ever recorded, but has provided the opportunity for the disease to be studied in real time. 

This event will explore the work of the Mountain Chicken Recovery Programme, a world-leading consortium including ZSL scientists, that is devoted to understanding how to mitigate the impact of the chytrid fungus by using the mountain chicken frog case study as a model. 


Standing cheetah in Tanzania

Wildlife of the West African Savannah: unfamiliar and under threat
Tuesday 9 May 2017, 6pm – 7.45pm
Free event

From elephants and lions to giraffes, cheetah and wild dogs, the wildlife of the West African savannah is iconic – and facing the real threat of extinction. Historically this region was renowned for its wildlife and teemed with the large fauna that is more typically associated with East and Southern Africa, but these species which once roamed huge areas are now restricted to isolated pockets of habitat and face mounting threats to their survival, from poaching to habitat loss. 

Celebrating the incredible biodiversity of the region, this event will explore how conservationists are working to protect this wildlife for future generations. 


Seal survey 2016

The state of the Thames
Tuesday 11 July 2017, 6pm – 7.45pm
Free event

Dive beneath the waters of London’s iconic river at this event to discover the diverse world of wildlife that call the river and its estuary home. Estuaries are one of the world’s most productive ecosystems, and the Thames is no exception. 

From seahorses and smelt to eels and seals, this evening will explore how far the Thames has come since being declared ‘biologically dead’ in the 1950s, as well as how conservationists are working to help it thrive.

ZSL Scientific Dinners
For those who want to continue the conversation, ZSL’s Science and Conservation events are followed by the opportunity to enjoy a three-course meal with the speakers and others who work for wildlife. Places cost £35 per person, the proceeds from which support ZSL’s international conservation work to protect animals and their habitats worldwide. Information on how to book dinners are included in each event page.

ZSL Scientific Events 2017

More news from ZSL


Collaborative 25-year ZSL/BTO study stresses importance of feeding while investigating evolving threats to wild birds

Swabbing a midwife toad

Joint ZSL/Imperial College London study could open up new avenues in our understanding of wildlife diseases

Sperm whale at Skegness

ZSL-led UK Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme remit also expands to include stranded sharks