Conservation & Research

Millions of people have visited Dudley Zoo since it opened in 1937. They remember our amazing animals, medieval castle and quirky Tectons but know little of the vital behind-the-scenes conservation projects that put DZG on the world stage . . .


Humboldt penguin  (Spheniscus humboldti)

Housed at DZG since its opening in 1937, but is now one of the rarest species of penguin and listed as vulnerable to extinction by the World Conservation Union due to depletion of food stocks and climate changes. DZG has one of the largest parent reared groups in the UK, started via a breeding programme in 1991. Since then there have been 183 hatchings and 45 birds have been sent to found or join breeding groups at 10 other UK sites.

Asiatic lion (Panthera leo persicus) – This species once roamed from Southern Europe to Japan. Now found only in the Gir Forest, India, its population numbers just 200. We have kept this sub-species since 1995 and five cubs born at DZG are now at collections across Europe where they have helped found more breeding groups.

Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatraeDZG’s first pair of Sumatran tigers arrived in 1994/5 and  by 2006 had produced eight cubs which have helped found breeding groups across Europe and the UK.

It is important that breeding projects are linked to programmes in the wild and that zoos also support in-situ conservation. At DZG our in-situ support has been achieved in several ways, including awareness raising, direct funding, fundraising, research and education.

In recent years we have supported campaigns such as Bushmeat, Rainforest, Tigers, Turtles, Amphibians plus Lemurs in the Wild in Madagascar. DZG formed close links with the Madagascar Appeal following the opening of our one-acre walkthrough Lemur Wood which has more than 30 of these enigmatic primates roaming freely, and to date we have donated more than £10,000 to this programme.

We also fund our Native Species Conservation Consultant, Ian Hughes in the conservation of species including tadpole shrimp (Triops cancriformis); fairy shrimp (Chirocephalus diaphanous); barberry carpet moth (Pareulype berberata); ladybird spider (Eresus sandaliatus); hazel pot beetle (Crytocephalus coryli); mud snail (Lymnea glabra) and great crested newt (Triturus cristatus) and several species of bats found in limestone caverns within the site.

Breeding programmes are carefully managed to ensure populations remain long-term viable.
Managing such schemes requires accurate record keeping which allows studbook keepers (species co-ordinators) to make breeding and movement recommendations. DZG holds the European studbook for the Black lemur (Eulemur macaco macaco).

DZG is constantly involved in research projects linked to universities, colleges and other academic institutions.

Such programmes have included supplying chimpanzee blood for Aids research, babirusa mouth swabs for DNA analysis and snow leopard hair to Brunel University where it has been used to improve identification methods.