In the face of unprecedented biodiversity losses, effective strategies for the conservation of endangered species are urgently required.

Among conservationists, there is almost universal agreement on the need for evidence-based management and for science that supports conservation decision-making. However, management of small populations remains primarily based on the application of experience without careful evaluation. Research at the Institute of Zoology provides the evidence-base and decision support to maximise the likelihood of small population recovery.

Our work is developing a more holistic understanding of small population recovery, including drivers of smallness and heightened extinction risk, conservation management solutions and the science to best support the selection and implementation of these solutions. Our research includes long-term studies of small populations; species reintroduction and conservation translocations; disease-risk analysis and management; conservation genetics; management decision-making and assessment of conservation outcomes.  

  • 235
    The number of institutions IOZ researchers collaborate with worldwide.
  • 56
    The number of species recovery programmes IOZ researchers support.
  • 44
    IUCN specialist/major conservation advisory groups were contributed to by IOZ researchers in 2022.
  • Our work aims to:

    • Develop a holistic understanding of population recovery
    • Provide exemplary case studies of science support to management
    • Produce comparative reviews showing correlates of successful and failed recovery
    • Share knowledge with the wider conservation community
      Olive white-eye bird
      Saving the rarest bird in Mauritius

      Olive white-eye conservation

      With less than 150 pairs now remaining, our work is saving a species on the brink of extinction.

      Dormouse on a weighing scale at London Zoo, sitting in a plastic container.
      Providing essential wildlife health checks

      Wildlife Disease Risk Analysis and Health Surveillance

      Our DRAHS team provides essential wildlife health checks for conservation projects.

      One of the most endangered large mammals on the planet

      Conservation of Mongolia’s Wild Camels

      The critically endangered wild camel survives only in Mongolia and China.

      Guam kingfisher (Sihek) sitting on branch
      The Guam kingfisher that was wiped out by snakes

      Sihek conservation

      We're creating solutions to save the sihek from the jaws of extinction - as invasive snakes outnumber people in Guam by 10 to 1.

      Fairy tern from New Zealand landing on beach.
      New Zealand’s rarest indigenous breeding bird

      Fairy tern conservation

      Creating a route to recovery for New Zealand’s rarest indigenous breeding bird. Each potential loss is vital, with fewer than 40 individuals remaining and just 9 breeding pairs left.

      Hazel dormouse close-up, dark circular eyes with rosy orange fur
      Reintroducing the hazel dormouse to British countryside

      Hazel dormouse

      By working together with our conservation partners, we've managed to successfully reintroduce over 1,000 dormice

      desert baboon with infant
      In collaboration with Tsaobis Nature Park

      Tsaobis Baboon Project

      The aim of the Tsaobis Baboon Project is to carry out fundamental research in behavioural and population ecology using desert baboons as a model system.

      Chequered Skipper butterfly on a leaf
      A previously extinct species in England

      Bringing back the Chequered skipper butterfly to English woodlands

      Post-release monitoring of the conservation work has provided evidence that the newly established populations are thriving once again in English woodlands.

      Male hihi close-up black head with a white streak, and yellow streaks along body
      Bringing hihi back from the brink of extinction

      Hihi conservation

      How this tiny bird is helping reframe wildlife conservation translocation programmes globally.

      embryo cells egg
      The causes of hatching failure remain poorly understood

      Practical resources for identifying the causes of hatching failure in birds

      Egg-hatching failure is a major problem for many bird species, and is considered a weak link in the chain of events that determines reproductive success in birds.

      Female Hainan gibbon with infant
      The world’s rarest primate

      Hainan gibbon conservation

      The Hainan gibbon is the rarest primate and possibly the rarest mammal species. There's been a severe decline in numbers due to habitat loss and hunting.

      Hedgehogs are now classified as ‘vulnerable to extinction'

      London HogWatch

      London HogWatch identifies hedgehog populations in greater London to promote conservation strategies for their protection, connection and expansion.

      African wild dog with collar tag for monitoring
      WildCats Conservation Alliance

      Cheetah and wild dog conservation: Kenya Rangelands Wild Dog and Cheetah Project

      Helping people live alongside cheetahs and African wild dogs.

      Inference of population parameters from DNA data
      Scientific software at ZSL


      Find out more about the software made available by ZSL for academics for free.

      Mauritius kestrel in tree
      One of the most successful bird recoveries in the world

      Mauritius kestrel conservation

      The Mauritius Kestrel once looked destined for extinction, with just 4 remaining individuals. But we are building an exciting route to recovery.

      Pink pigeon in Mauritius
      Cutting-edge conservation in action

      Pink pigeon recovery program 

      From just a dozen individuals to hundreds - their story proves that together anything is possible.

      scanning a pool frog
      One of only two native frogs in Britain

      Bringing back the pool frog to Britain

      Historically, the pool frog was present in Britain, but following loss and damage to their habitats the species went extinct and the last native population of pool frogs, in Norfolk, was lost.

      Echo Parakeet
      The last surviving native parrot in the Mascarenes

      Echo parakeet management programme

      The echo parakeet was listed as Critically Endangered in the 1980s.

      A male Mauritius fody
      Allowing the Fody population to develop rapidly

      Mauritius Fody recovery program

      The fody was once common across Mauritius but experienced a substantial range contraction due to widespread habitat loss and the impacts of introduced mammalian predators.