Academic Research at Woburn Safari Park

RESEARCH

Zoological institutions have a responsibility to engage in research that will benefit our understanding of captive animal management and promote conservation.

Here at Woburn Safari Park, we aim to encourage, support and conduct research to develop our husbandry practices, improve health care and maximise breeding success, whilst contributing to the wider zoo community. This knowledge can also be applied to aid research and conservation of species in the wild. With over 1,000 animals at the park, many of which are endangered, Woburn provides the perfect setting for academic research across all levels.

To help our animals get the most out their captive environments, we conduct a number of animal based studies at the park. These studies commonly have a focus on animal behaviour, welfare, nutrition, husbandry, environmental enrichment, ecology, reproduction, and conservation. All of which are non-invasive and can be conducted through observation of the animals in the captive environment. We also support social based studies which focus on visitor perception and attitudes, thus aiding conservation through improved education.  

How to apply?

As a British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquaria (BIAZA) member, we strongly recommend that you read the zoo based research guidelines (www.biaza.co.uk/research) prior to applying. There, you can learn about project planning, sampling techniques, ethics and statistics that will help you conduct high quality research.

If you currently have a project in mind, please carefully read and complete our research protocol and application form below. Please understand that we regularly receive applications for research so it is important that applications are completed and returned well in advance of research commencing.

All completed forms along with any enquiries regarding research should be directed to our Animal Researcher at katie.chapman@woburn.co.uk.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

How does the process work?

Once the application has been fully completed and emailed to us, it will undergo our formal review process before approval. Please note this process may take up to four weeks which is why we highly recommend you apply well in advance. If successful, we will be in contact to make arrangements regarding your project.

For more information regarding the process, please see the protocols section on the form below.

Will Woburn Safari Park contribute to funding my project?

Unfortunately we do not offer funding for any research projects, this must be sought either through your institution or through external organisations. Our team will however do their best to be of any assistance during your time at Woburn Safari Park.

Do you have any priority research areas?

We do have a list of research ideas which we update periodically, which can aid students that may be interested. You can request this by emailing our researcher: katie.chapman@woburn.co.uk. Do remember that these are ideas and we are not responsible for designing the project!

On a side note regarding desired projects, enrichment projects are very popular in zoo studies. Whilst we are happy hosting projects relating to enrichment, we do ask that you ensure your study has value to us and the wider zoo community. Enrichment studies should have a clear rationale and focus on enhancing animal welfare; we do not accept studies that simply want to observe behaviour and enrichment, without clear goals of the specific enrichment being used.

Can I conduct my research across multiple zoos?

Many research projects require data collection from more than one organisation. Multi-zoo projects can be a great way to ensure a good sample size and broaden research topics. However, as they require more planning and organisation, we request that you gain support from the BIAZA research committee (www.biaza.org.uk/apply-for-research-support/) before applying. 

Can I publish my research?

We require time to review planned publications, therefore researchers that wish to publish any data collected at Woburn Safari Park should get in contact well in advance of any submission. In cases where the Safari Park has made significant contributions to the study, we may seek co-authorship of resulting publications.