Zoos scoop national awards

Published: 25 April 2012

Zoos scoop national awards

Three South West zoos have received top national awards from the zoo world.

Paignton Zoo Environmental Park, Living Coasts in Torquay and Newquay Zoo in Cornwall were all recognised at the 2009 BIAZA (British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums) awards.

The ceremony was held at Knowsley Hall, Prescott, Merseyside, and attended by some 100 people. Certificate were presented by Lord Derby.

The three sites took two awards and five commendations between them. Paignton Zoo Environmental Park won the Best Research Project award for a study into gorilla behaviour. The work - on male–male social interactions in breeder and bachelor groups of gorillas - forms the basis of Dr. Kirsten Pullen’s doctorate thesis.

Newquay Zoo took the honours in the category of Best Education Project: public and general visitor, for its Be a Junior Keeper Experience Days. Paignton Zoo received a commendation in the same section for its Junior Zoo Vet Experience.

In the Best New Zoo Enclosure category, Paignton Zoo was commended for Crocodile Swamp – described as a wonderful immersive environment for crocodiles – while Living Coasts was commended for Mangrove: Roots of the Sea.

Paignton Zoo received a commendation in the Best PR Project category for its video coverage of the birth of four rare Sumatran tiger cubs in February. Living Coasts took a Best Marketing Project commendation for Penguin Academy for its marketing through the use of an innovative penguin game.

Director of Marketing Pippa Craddock said: “We are very proud of our success this year. The wins are tribute to our dedication to conservation and the importance of the visitor experience, and to our staff who make all three zoos such special places.”

Dr Miranda Stevenson, Director of BIAZA, said: “This award demonstrates how much time and effort our leading zoos are investing to help change public behaviour and ensure the future of Planet Earth.”

BIAZA, British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums, is a conservation education and scientific wildlife charity which acts as the principal professional zoo body representing the responsible zoo and aquarium community in the UK and Ireland. With over 90 members, its role is to develop and spread best practice within the UK and international zoo community, combining lobbying and campaigning with the development of policy in collaboration with the government and scientific organisations. Over the last 12 months, BIAZA members have supported more than 609 projects by providing financial support in excess of £7 million and by supplying skills, staff and equipment for conservation programmes worldwide.

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