Who is behind The Zoo Scientist?
Ricardo Lemos de Figueiredo
Founder & Director
I owe a lot to zoos. Growing up, I did not have many opportunities to interact with wildlife and my local zoo (Lisbon) taught me about the beauty of nature and the importance of protecting it. I started my career in that zoo, in 2007, as a volunteer keeper, where I stayed for over three years. However, as I really wanted to go down the zoo research and conservation path, and I had heard about the impressive reputation of British zoos (and BIAZA - the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums), I decided to move to the United Kingdom in 2012, to study a BSc in Animal Behaviour. During my time as an undergraduate student, I also worked as a research volunteer in a marine wildlife institution, where I assisted with data collection on the local populations of marine mammals.
After I graduated, in 2015, I went back to Portugal for the summer and got involved with a conservation project that is very close to my heart: the captive breeding and reintroduction programme for the Iberian lynx, where I integrated the ethology team and helped monitoring the behaviour of the captive lynx and the reintroduction training of the cubs. Back in the UK again, I worked as a research assistant at Flamingo Land Zoo and helped with several of their research and conservation projects, with focus on their in-situ conservation project in Tanzania, where I got to do six weeks of field work. After that, I went back to university to study a MRes in Wildlife Behaviour and Conservation at the University of Chester, where I worked on a research project on the behaviour, welfare and husbandry of mouse deer in European zoos, in collaboration with the EAZA Deer TAG and the European Endangered Species Programmes (EEP) for these species. I went back to zoo keeping for a few months, in a zoo in the south of Portugal and I am now doing a PhD in captive parrot behavioural ecology at the University of Birmingham (find out more about my PhD project here). I am also a member of the BIAZA Research Committee since 2016, and coordinate their Research Engagement Group.
"The Zoo Scientist" was created in September 2015, first as a Facebook page, under the name "International Zoo News". The idea was to share news and information on the role of modern zoos in conservation, research and education. As this page always tried to focus as much as possible on the scientific side of zoos, the name was changed upon the creation of the website and twitter account.
The Zoo Scientist is 100% not-for-profit and it is for everyone! Zoos, zoo professionals, students and scientists of all areas are welcome, and so are general public and wildlife/animal enthusiasts. We aim to provide you with reliable, useful and educational material.
We want this page to turn into one of your main sources of information for world-wide Zoo Science.
Thank you for visiting!
Contact us with comments or enquiries.
BSc, MRes, PhD candidate