Meet the Team

ricardo peel zoo cockatoo.jpg

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.

More information: Research Gate and LinkedIn.


coral chell.jpg

Coral Chell


For as long as I can remember I have loved animals and nature. Years of zoo trips and David Attenborough documentaries eventually led to me wanting to pursue a career in the animal industry. My Journey started with undertaking my undergraduate degree, BSc Zoo Biology at Nottingham Trent University in 2013. This course fuelled my passion for the zoos and the work they do in the world of conservation. As part of this course i undertook a dissertation where i researched into the use of the internet in the illegal wildlife trade in the 21st century. After a year out of education in 2017 i decided it was time to go back and undertaken my masters degree, MSc Endangered Species Recovery and Conservation, again at Nottingham Trent University. As part of this degree i undertook field research in Northwest Madagascar with the conservation organisation Operation Wallacea. During this time i was researching the impact of human disturbance on the ecology and behaviour of two species of Lemur, the Coquerel's sifaka and the Common Brown lemur.

More information: Twitter,LinkedIn and Blog


david couto.png

David Couto


Hello Everyone! It is a pleasure to join the "Zoo Scientist" team! Here's a little about myself. Since high school, I have been heavily involved in nonprofit work, which all began with "Roots and Shoots" a nonprofit division of the "Jane Goodall Institute". I worked on  a myriad of projects, from raising awareness on the plight of orangutan populations in Indonesia to partnering with the "American Cetacean Society", or ACS, to raise funds and awareness on the plight of cetaceans the world over.

My love for community activism and joining the effort to preserve the planet's magnificent biodiversity led me to further my activism work through the nonprofit group H.O.W. Global, Inc. (through which I still intern and am an active board member). I coordinate projects, namely in African countries such as Tanzania and Kenya, which deal with sustainability and the mitigation of human vs. wildlife conflict. 

 For years I also volunteered as a docent at the renowned "Turtle Back Zoo" in West Orange, NJ, U.S.A, and for a brief time, was also a veterinary technician there. It was the first time I had been exposed to the majesty of the animal kingdom in such an intimate manner and I became more passionate than ever to support accredited zoological parks and their incredible work. Because of all the wonderful  opportunities I have had, I decided to return to school and am completing my Bachelor's in Environmental Science with a Focus on Fish and Wildlife Management.

I am incredibly thankful and excited to now lend a hand in propagating the wonderful mission of "The Zoo Scientist". Zoos play a pivotal role in the conservation of the planet's wildlife. Join us in finding out how!    


About us

"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.

This site was designed with the
website builder. Create your website today.
Start Now