ZSL London Zoo shares wildlife health expertise during international zoo visit
Senior leaders from Afghanistan are visiting England’s capital this week, to meet with zookeepers, veterinarians and conservationists at ZSL London Zoo and learn more about our work supporting wildlife health, in an effort to strengthen their animal care and increase their commitment to wildlife health.
ZSL often welcomes teams from zoos around the world, keen to learn from the passionate experts and specialists it employs, but this visit highlights a unique link between ZSL’s Director General, Dominic Jermey’s former role as the British Ambassador to Afghanistan with his current position at the head of the conservation charity. Dominic first visited the animals of Kabul Zoo during the Afghan civil war of the 1990s and joined ZSL in 2017 from his final Afghan posting as British Ambassador.
Founded in 1826 by Sir Stamford Raffles as an institution dedicated to the study of animals, ZSL is today a global force in the fight to save wildlife. Working to a newly-launched strategy to see the historic organisation through to its 200th anniversary in 2026, ZSL is focussing its expertise and resource in three key areas.
ZSL works to bring species back from the brink of extinction through conservation breeding programmes, wildlife reintroduction programmes and habitat protection initiatives.
ZSL brings people closer to wildlife, recognising the urgent need for people and wildlife to co-exist harmoniously. Through both ZSL London and Whipsnade Zoo, nearly two million people each year are educated and inspired by incredible animals from around the world.
ZSL also addresses threats to the health of wildlife through ground-breaking research into wildlife disease, and environmental factors such as climate change and habitat loss, which directly impact the health of animals.
Kabul Zoo Director Aziz Gul and Afghanistan Country Director for Mayhew International, Dr Jalil will observe veterinarians at ZSL London Zoo as they carry out routine health checks on some of the Zoo’s 16,000 animals, meet with the teams who design the Zoo’s exhibits and be given an insight into the management of the conservation breeding programmes coordinated by experts at ZSL.
ZSL’s Director General Dominic Jermey OBE CVO said: “Meeting Kabul Zoo Director Aziz Gul today brings home to me how much progress has been made in Afghanistan. I first visited Kabul Zoo during the most difficult days of the Taliban regime over two decades ago, when the professional management of the Zoo I see today was unimaginable. Wildlife continues to be under extreme pressure in Afghanistan and Kabul Zoo can play an important role in raising awareness of the challenges faced by wildlife.
“Hosting Kabul Zoo Director Aziz Gul at ZSL is one way of showing appreciation for the enthusiasm of the staff at Kabul Zoo, supporting them to improve their methods of care for their animals. While resources have often been scarce, they have shown enormous dedication to their animals and i am delighted to see them reaching out to learn from our staff here at ZSL.
“ZSL is home to some of the best conservationists, scientists and vets in the world working for wildlife – in our Zoos, in our science institute and around the world. We’re delighted to be able to share our expertise, specifically in wildlife health, and engage more zoos to support conservation for endangered species everywhere.”