The secrets and skills behind conservation breeding

ZSL zoo staff reveal the complex processes behind breeding some of ZSL's rare and unusual species.

Conservation breeding is now accepted as one of many tools available in the efforts to save wildlife species from extinction.  Zoological institutions and other breeding centres are ideally placed to play a major role in species conservation programmes where secure, healthy and sustainable populations are required for reintroductions or as a safety net for the species. 

The experience developed at ZSL London and ZSL Whipsnade zoos has already seen ZSL play a key part in saving several species from extinction at both a national and international level. However, given the huge numbers of species that could be in need of this approach and the incredible diversity in biology and behaviour, the challenge to ensure they breed over extended periods is enormous.

Staff at the zoos have developed considerable skills to breed a variety of species, some of them for the first time in captivity. ZSL staff will present examples of the amazing processes that have been developed to breed successfully some of the more unusual species and the information gained from this work, including environmental and dietary management, artificial incubation and chick rearing, thermal imaging during mammal pregnancies and monitoring of health.


Brian Zimmerman, Aquarium Curator, ZSL
Ben Tapley,
Team Leader for Herpetology, ZSL
Paul Pearce-Kelly, Senior Curator of Invertebrates, ZSL
Laura Gardner, Bird Collection Manager, ZSL
Nic Masters, Head of Veterinary Services, ZSL

Attending this event

  • This Science and Conservation Event is free to attend and booking is not required.
  • Venue: Huxley Lecture Theatre, Main Meeting Rooms, ZSL London Zoo. See map
  • Underground – Camden Town Station; Nearest bus - no. 274
  • Doors open at 5pm for a 6pm start.
  • Seats are allocated on a first-come-first-served basis.

Book a 3-course dinner with the speakers

  • All attendees are welcome to attend a 3-course dinner with the speakers after the event. 
  • Dinner places cost £35 per person (including 2 glasses of wine) and should be booked via online via the link above.


  • Contact Jennifer Howes, Scientific Events Coordinator; 0207 449 6227
  • Sign up to receive email updates about forthcoming ZSL Science and Conservation Events

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