Conservation is listed as one of the three important roles of modern zoos and aquaria, and as such, it is a key objective at Woburn Safari Park.
Woburn Safari Park is now an expansive wild animal park, home to hundreds of endangered, exotic and native animals living in 360 acres of Bedfordshire parkland. Our mission is to help protect the long term future of vulnerable animal species by making a direct contribution to in-situ and ex-situ conservation projects in combination with spreading important conservation messages to our many visitors.
Woburn has a long history of species conservation, dating back to the 11th Duke of Bedford in 1894, when a breeding herd of Père David deer was established on the estate.
This herd prospered and was later re-introduced to the wild, significantly contributing to saving the species from certain extinction.
(Photo of two of the Père David’s deer brought to the Woburn Deer Park by
Herbrand, 11th Duke of Bedford, and photographed by his wife Mary, after 1894. Photo courtesy of the Woburn Abbey Collection.)
The world is in the midst of a global extinction crisis with significant declines in animal numbers and loss of their habitats, and this is advancing at an unprecedented rate.
Conservation is not simply about avoiding species extinction but about ensuring long term protection and maintenance of viable landscapes, habitats, and ecosystems.See the list of endangered and vulnerable species at Woburn
Conservation and protection of endangered species requires a coordinated effort by both zoos and field conservation initiatives. In zoos, this conservation begins with the protection of endangered and vulnerable species through coordinated and managed breeding programmes.
European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA)
As an EAZA accredited zoo, Woburn participates in the captive management of endangered breeding animals through the EAZA Ex-Situ Programme (EEP). These help to ensure a viable and sustainable captive population of key species is maintained long term. Each programme plays a key role in the conservation of notable and endangered species.See the list of EEP species at Woburn
British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquaria (BIAZA)
Woburn Safari Park is also an active member of BIAZA, which is the professional organization representing the best zoos and aquaria in Britain and Ireland, pioneering excellence in animal welfare, education and conservation work.
BIAZA contributes to improved captive management, husbandry and welfare of species largely through the work of its Taxon groups.
LEADING BY EXAMPLE
As part of our commitment to conservation, a number of the Woburn team are involved with species interest and monitoring groups dedicated to the conservation and the protection of endangered species:
Catherine Doherty, Deputy Head of Animal Encounters
BIAZA Mammal Working Group Small Mammal Sub-Group Co-Chair; EEP Red-belled lemur (Eulemur rubriventer) - Species Committee Member; BIAZA Eurasian harvest mice (Micromys minutus) - Species Monitor.
Nathalie Wissick-Argilaga, Lic.Vet
CertAVP(ZM) DZooMed (Reptilian) MRCVSRCVS Recognised Specialist in Zoo and Wildlife Medicine; Junior Vice President of British Veterinary Zoological Society (BVZS); Veterinary Advisor to BIAZA Mammal Working Group (Elephants).
Whilst the Safari Park does fantastic ex-situ conservation work with the animals in our care, we also help to look after the natural habitat and native species that live in our beautiful parkland here in Bedfordshire. Woburn is committed to native species conservation through direct action and sustainable use of resources as well as through crucial conservation education efforts, raising public awareness and influencing the day to day actions of the many visitors to our park.
Through visitor talks and demonstrations, conservation signage and education sessions Woburn aims to portray the conservation messages of both native and exotic species. It is hoped that a visit to the Park may inspire positive environmental action, behavioural change and potentially inspire future conservationists!
Woburn continue to actively seek opportunities for positive conservation impact, collaborating with other zoological collections, BIAZA, EAZA, conservation organisations and universities to help protect species and habitats alike.