Wildlife conservation at ZSL

Our vision for the future is a world where wildlife thrives - a more balanced, connected and vibrant world where people and wildlife live better together.

Achieving this represents one of the greatest challenges humanity faces. ZSL’s role is to develop solutions that help people and wildlife live better together, whilst driving the recovery of species and habitats.

Our approach is to put cutting-edge conservation science into practice to drive innovation for wildlife recovery. 

By shining a light on the causes and effects of biodiversity loss, we can deepen our understanding and knowledge of the living world; find new and better routes to recovery and empower global efforts to achieve lasting, positive change for life everywhere.

Our priorities

We are ZSL - a powerful movement of conservationists


Our conservation priorities and framework

We have four key conservation priorities where we can impact the biodiversity and climate crisis:

Protecting species

Climate change and human activity are pushing species to the brink of extinction and beyond. Each potential loss is vital. Our environment is moving towards collapse. We have to act now.

We aim to enable a step change in the recovery of species, from developing the science to training a generation of conservationists and restoring some of the most threatened species in the world, starting with those that are extinct in the wild, where zoos hold the last remaining individuals in their hands.

For instance, we’re working to build knowledge and give training to the right people to empower them in the fight to stop the illegal wildlife trade - the world’s fourth most lucrative trafficking industry after drugs, humans and weapons - in more than 50 countries around the world. 

Protecting species: our goals

By 2030 we will drive measurable, evidence-based steps towards global recovery for at least 40 highly threatened species for which we have the expertise to contribute to long-term, holistic conservation.

  1. Successful conservation interventions: We will coordinate or partner in both in-situ and ex-situ actions that make a demonstrable contribution to the avoided extinction or recovery of highly threatened species.
  2. Evidence to action: We will build the knowledge base required for successful conservation, communicate this evidence and facilitate its use to recover highly threatened species.
  3. Capacity building: We will increase the knowledge and skills of both internal staff/students and external stakeholders to recover highly threatened species.

While we support the recovery of well-known species such as tigers, much of our work focuses on underrepresented species. The EDGE of Existence programme highlights and protects some of the most unique and wonderful species on the planet. These species represent an irreplaceable part of the world’s natural heritage, yet an alarming proportion is on the verge of extinction and overlooked by mainstream conservation. 

Find out more about our work protecting species

Partula suturalis on leaf
Scimitar-Horned Oryx

Restoring ecosystems

Life in all its diversity supports our world, but the pressure on our planet is growing - from habitat loss, over-exploitation, climate change and pollution. 

The focus for experts here at ZSL is to first support local partners and communities to protect remaining vital spaces for wildlife and then restore degraded ecosystems.   

Conservation technology plays a major role in our monitoring of protected areas and species, and ZSL is at the forefront of developing and applying cutting-edge technical solutions to improve our conservation impact.

Learn more about how we restore ecosystems 

Oysters covering a surface like a mosaic
Aerial view of mangrove forest and river
Restoring ecosystems: our goals

Drive the science and practice of species and ecosystem protection and restoration to improve the status and resilience of at least 10 ecosystems to global environmental change by 2030.

  1. Improve effectiveness of protected and conserved areas to reduce anthropogenic degradation across 10 focal ecosystems by 2030.
  2. Enhance the functioning of 10 priority ecosystems to reduce their risk of collapse.
  3. Develop the science and practice to ensure that nature-based solutions equally benefit biodiversity conservation and climate change mitigation and adaptation.
  4. Enhance ecosystem connectivity across 10 major landscapes and aquascapes.

Living with wildlife

Communities are vital to the future of conservation and the recovery of wildlife. Equally, conservation must be fair, equitable and just for the people living in the areas we seek to support. 

girl with goat
ZSL KELOLA Sendang Project

We work closely with communities on the ground here in the UK and around the world, to develop new sources of income and reduce conflict with wildlife; moving towards positive models of co-existence. 

Find out more about our work empowering communities to lead wildlife recovery

Living with wildlife: our goals

We want to support wildlife recovery to become part of community practice in 10 priority ecosystems by 2030, with a goal to reach at least 10,000 households and support scalable models of community action for conservation. We will:

  1. Support the establishment or effective delivery of conservation goals within inclusive and equitable conserved areas in 10 priority ecosystems providing connectivity across different forms of habitat use.
  2. Reach 10,000 households to improve their wellbeing and livelihoods through locally relevant and sustainable mechanisms increasing positive engagement with wildlife recovery.
  3. Develop sustainable co-existence between local communities across 10 priority ecosystems and the high-impact species with which they share their environments.
  4. Work with communities to reduce pressures from unsustainable or illegal harvesting for 20 key threatened species across 10 priority ecosystems.

Inspiring change 

As pioneering change-makers for more than 200 years, our wildlife conservation work has a huge impact - not just locally in the lab or in the field, but on the political and corporate stage too. 

Change requires that biodiversity becomes embedded at the heart of all decision-making from the personal decisions we make as individuals, to the actions of companies and the decisions made by governments. 

indonesian project team member
thames lens picking

Our experts inspire school and community groups; support companies to reduce impacts of their businesses, and advise governments on the importance of nature to address some of the major challenges faced by society. We have focussed on reaching socially dis-advantaged groups, pioneered novel financial tools for nature and supported increased transparency for industries and developed global indicators to track biodiversity change.

Find out more about how we are inspiring change at the highest level

Inspiring change: our goals

We will engage 10 million people, £1 billion of private sector capital and assets and influence 10 Government and 20 business policy processes to drive the systemic change needed for global biodiversity recovery.

  1. Individual behaviour: 5m people will have taken decisions to reduce their personal impacts
    on the environment and support wildlife comeback within their communities.
  2. Community behaviour: Through behaviour change initiatives in the UK and
    globally, our programmes will have reached at least 500k people driving community-led wildlife monitoring, reductions in direct pressures on wildlife and pro-wildlife investment.
  3. Corporate behaviour: through expert advice and monitoring, we will have engaged 20 private sector entities collectively representing over £100m in capital and assets thus reducing negative impacts and driving forward positive restoration actions led by the corporate sector.
  4. Government behaviour: Our global evidence base will be used to inform 10 national and 5 international policy processes to support wildlife recovery.
Help us make our vision of a thriving natural world a reality

Together, we have the power to make a difference. Please donate today.