Staff are celebrating World Animal Day with creatures great and small and will be introducing visitors to some of the more unusual species within our 1,800-strong collection.
Today’s event will see presenters giving a series of talks and feeds about a range of animals and explaining the vital role of conservation both overseas and in the UK. Exotic programmes include such critically endangered species as Sumatran tigers, Sulawesi crested macaques and Capuchin monkeys while nearer home vital work with the Barberry carpet moth and ladybird spider will be under the spotlight. And they’ll also be revealing little-known facts about the axolotl, a quirky amphibian originating from Mexico, that’s also critically endangered on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red Data list, the world’s leading authority on the conservation status of species. Senior Curator, Derek Grove pictured said: “We’re involved with a multitude of conservation projects; we support lemurs in Madagascar and Brazilian Capuchin monkeys plus orang utans on the Indonesian islands of Borneo and Sumatra, where we also provide aid for some of the rarest tigers in the world. “Native species programmes that benefit from funding we provide include the ladybird spider, which has grown from a population of 27 in 1979 to more than 600 and we’re currently celebrating 21 years since conservation work began to boost Barberry carpet moth numbers, Britain’s most threatened moth species. “The programme also includes the creation of a Barberry Highway along the Shropshire Union canal towpaths where the moths will be introduced and while it may be not be as high profile as our work with great apes or big cats, it is every bit as important.” He added: “With more than 200 species and 1,800 animals within the collection there’s lots to discover at DZG.” World Animal Day was started in 1931 just six years before Dudley Zoological Gardens opened to the public at a convention of ecologists in Florence as a way of highlighting the plight of endangered species. October 4 was chosen as World Animal Day as it is the Feast Day of St Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals.