Here at Flamingo Land, we have a variety of animals within our zoo collection. One of the roles which we undertake as part of a zoo is helping to contribute towards conservation. This can be either in situ conservation, such as funding our Udzungwa Forest Project (UFP) in Tanzania, Africa, or in ex situ conservation when some of our animals are part of captive European breeding programmes. We also have an active education team which can engage with our visitors and school groups about relevant conservation issues and ways in which they can help.
Many zoos and animal collections within the UK are members of BIAZA. This is an organisation which provides guidance, training opportunities and conferences for staff and ensures that UK zoos are looking after their animals to a high welfare standard. Flamingo Land is member of this, along with the European (EAZA) and worldwide organisation (WAZA).
Most modern zoos partake in breeding programmes, in particular those animals which are listed on the IUCN Red List. For breeding programmes to be successful and to maintain a healthy and genetically varied captive population, they have to be tightly managed and require zoos to work together. Zoos may play different roles depending on their space availability, the social and behavioural structure of the animal species and what will work best long term for many endangered animals. Even if a zoo isn’t currently breeding a pair of animals in their collection, they may still be helping the breeding programme overall.
As there are many endangered animals in the world, zoos can help to prevent some of them becoming extinct by conserving them in a captive environment, conducting research and educating their visitors about animals and conservation.
Flamingo Land's "Zoo Scientist" and his team of trainees carry out important work to help us to understand our animals and give them the best possible care. But only a small part of this work is based at the zoo, because our scientist's main job is to better understand and protect animals and plants in their wild homes as part of Flamingo Land's international conservation program.
Flamingos were among the first animals to be housed on the site where Flamingo Land now stands. Due to their popularity among visitors the colourful bird remains in the name of the park, despite the park now containing more than 140 other species.