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Research Projects

Zoo Research Facilitates Translocation of Critically Endangered Black Rhinos Back to Northern Kenya

February 19, 2024

In a boost for rhino conservation, 21 critically endangered black rhinos were translocated back to Loisaba, northern Kenya, where they have been extinct for half a century. This translocation was facilitated by technology and research methodologies developed by Chester Zoo, as part of their long-term research into rhino hormone monitoring.

Researchers from Smithsonian Zoo Develop New Technique for Coral Cryopreservation

September 18, 2023

Great news for coral conservation, as a new technique for cryopreserving and reviving entire coral fragments has been developed by researchers from Smithsonian’s National Zoo and several universities. This methodology facilitates the quick collection and preservation of coral fragments, which can be a vital tool in securing coral biodiversity and genetic diversity.

Oregon Zoo’s Polar Bear is Helping Researchers Test & Refine Technology for In Situ Research

January 27, 2023

The "Burr on Furr" device is a new prototype technology designed to help researchers tracking the difficult-to-observe polar bears in their natural environment. A polar bear at Oregon Zoo is playing an important role in the development of this technology, by helping researchers test and refine it prior to its use on in situ animals.

Zoo-Supported Research Project Aims to Understand Elephant Bull Movements in Botswana

December 19, 2022

An in situ research project led by Elephants for Africa, and supported by several zoos, aims to shed light on the movements of male elephants in Makgadikgadi Pans National Park, Botswana. Ten bulls will be outfitted with satellite trackers, and their movement patterns studied, to understand where they are spending their time while travelling through. This information can help reducing poaching and human-wildlife conflicts.

Canadian Zoo Gives Home to Rescued Polar Bears & Conducts Research to Advance Ex Situ & In Situ Management of the Species

November 2, 2022

The Assiniboine Park & Zoo, in Manitoba (Canada), currently houses nine polar bears that were found orphaned in the wild with minimal chance of survival. These bears lost their mothers due to natural circumstances or human-wildlife conflicts, a common occurrence in the north of Manitoba . The zoo's "Leatherdale International Polar Bear Conservation Centre" provides a home to those bears while educating visitors, supporting conservation, and conducting research with applications to the management of polar bears in human care and in the wild. 

Researchers Decode Complete Genome of the Aldabra Giant Tortoise Thanks to Decades-Old Animal at Zoo Zürich

October 14, 2022.

Researchers from the University of Zurich & partners have decoded the genome of the Aldabra giant tortoise, thanks to a decades-old tortoise housed at Zoo Zürich. This new information is vital to determine genetic diversity in the populations of this species, aiding breeding and reintroduction programmes, and further research on the lifespan and age of these animals.

Data from Species360 ZIMS Shows Slow to No Aging in Some Testudines

July 1, 2022

Groundbreaking new research by Species360 and the University of Southern Denmark found that some species, like turtles and tortoises, exhibit slow to negligible aging in favourable conditions. Using data from Zoological Information Management System (ZIMS), they found that 75% of the 52 studied zoo-housed testudines showed extremely slow aging, with 80% of them exhibiting slower aging than modern humans.

US Rhinos Fitted With Activity Trackers

June 6, 2022

Some of the rhinos at Disney's Animal Kingdom have been fitted with activity trackers, part of a multi-institutional, US-wide, research project. The diurnal and nocturnal activities,, walking and running  patterns, and enclosure use will all be monitored thanks to the GPS and accelerometers in the trackers. This research will have applications to rhino management and husbandry in human care.

Cryoperservation of Rare Species for Conservation

May 24, 2022

A team of scientists from Chester Zoo and experts on animal reproduction have founded Nature's SAFE: one of the largest living biobanks in Europe. Tissue samples are cryogenically frozen and stored, so they can be used to generate sperm and eggs in the future, aiding conservation efforts. They already have stored multiple cell types from over 100 threatened species, with dozens of contributions from Chester Zoo itself!

Sounds of Asian Elephants Revealed by Zoo Research

April 20, 2022

A ’trumpet’, a ‘rumble’, a ‘roar’ and a ‘chirp’: the four sounds of Asian elephants, detected in a research project at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo. Acoustic loggers were used alongside behavioural observations to learn more about Asian elephant communication, with potential applications to elephant research & conservation in the wild

Numbat Genome Sequenced With Perth Zoo's Help

March 7, 2022

In a world's first, the genome of the endangered numbat has been sequenced by scientists from the The University of Western Australia. The numbat sample used for sequencing was provided by Perth Zoo, the only institution breeding this species under a successful ex situ programme that has seen the release of over 220 individuals into the wild.

Melbourne Zoo's Blood Bank is Great Tool for Animal Care & Research

March 5, 2022

Melbourne Zoo's blood serum bank keeps over 18,000 samples, some of them from the 1990s. As a collection of blood of zoo and wild animals from a wide range of taxonomic groups, it not only facilitates animal care and health management but it is also a great tool for scientific research.

World's First Pilot Study of EEHV Vaccine is Now Underway!

February 4, 2022

Now underway is the world's first pilot study of a new vaccine against the Elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus (EEHV) - a major threat against captive and wild Asian elephants! Developed by Chester Zoo & University of Surrey, this new vaccine showed encouraging initial results in the trials. This study is also supported by other zoos, highlighting the importance of zoo research to the conservation of wild populations.

2022 Polar Bear Research Masterplan Released

January 27, 2022

The Polar Bears International and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums's Polar Bear Species Survival Plan have released the 2022 Polar Bear Research Masterplan. This document provides guidance for research on this species in zoos and aquariums, including priority topics and contributions to in situ research.

Zoo Snow Leopards Participating in Study To Facilitate Conservation Efforts for their Wild Counterparts

December 19, 2021

The technology and methodologies used in research & conservation efforts for wild animals are often developed, tested & optimised with the help of their zoo-housed counterparts...


The snow leopards at Korkeasaaren eläintarha are participating in a study led by Snow Leopard Trust, which aims to determine the accuracy of using camera images to survey the population of wild snow leopards.

Findings of Largest-Ever Cetacean Welfare Study Have Been Published!

September 15, 2021

The findings of the largest-ever cetacean welfare study have been published! This study, led by University of California Irvine, Chicago Zoological Society/ Brookfield Zoo and University of Florida , analysed data on bottlenose dolphins, beluga whales & white-sided dolphins from 43 institutions in seven countries.


This study provides new findings, information and tools to enhance cetacean welfare, including a new app "ZooPhysioTrak", a database of health and welfare biomarkers to assist institutions with their assessments.


Photo: Georgia Aquarium

"Library of DNA" Stored Underground at Antwerp Zoo

May 25, 2021

Safely kept underground at Antwerp Zoo is a Biobank, containing all sorts of samples from a variety of species. This "library of DNA", which can be preserved in "super freezers" for a very long time, is a very important research tool that can help conservation efforts for threatened species.

Rotterdam Zoo is "Field Lab" for Technological Innovations

May 10, 2021

The Diergaarde Blijdorp/Rotterdam Zoo is a "field lab" for Technische Universiteit Delft, providing the grounds for testing technological innovations in water management and green energy production. Some of the projects include energy production from polluted water ponds, wastewater purification using plants and rainwater storage and reusing.

Scientific Breakthrough with the Production of the First Female Bison Pregnancy Using Sex-Sorted Sperm 

May 2, 2021

A team of researchers achieved a scientific breakthrough by producing the first ever female bison pregnancy via artificial insemination using sex-sorted sperm. This achievement is the result of a partnership between Toronto Zoo and University of Saskatchewan, which aims to facilitate conservation breeding efforts for the wood bison by increasing the number of females in herds.

Rotterdam Zoo & Wageningen University Collaborating on Research on Asian Elephant Genetic Health

April 16, 2021

The Rotterdam Zoo & Wageningen University are collaborating on a large-scale research study on the genetic health of captive and wild Asian elephants, a project that has just been awarded a grant by NWO (Dutch Research Council)..


Rotterdam Zoo manages the EAZA Ex-Situ Programme (EEP) for the Asian elephant and this research will help informing conservation efforts for this endangered species.

Brookfield Zoo's Wild Dolphin Research Program is the Longest-Running in the World

April 5, 2021

The Sarasota Dolphin Research Program has been running for 50 years - the world's longest-running study of wild dolphins. Both the research programme and the Sarasota dolphin population are used as models for other dolphin research & conservation programmes.


The programme has been operated by Chicago Zoological Society/Brookfield Zoo since 1989.

Research at French Zoo Helping to Refine Robot for Penguin Research in the Wild

March 16, 2021

A research project at Parc zoologique de Paris, with CNRS & Institut Pluridisciplinaire Hubert Curien - IPHC, is assessing the behavioural response of the zoo-housed Humboldt penguins to two remotely controlled robots. The aim is to refine the design of the robots, so they can be used to approach and study penguin populations in the natural habitat.

Research on Zoo Elephants Helping to Reduce Human-Wildlife Conflicts in the Wild

February 26, 2021

Zoo Research for In-Situ Conservation! The elephants at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo are an integral part of a project that is developing technology to reduce human-wildlife conflicts in Africa & Asia.


A database of thermal images from the zoo-housed elephants is being used to set up cameras to recognise elephants based on their body heat. These cameras can detect nearby elephants, at day or night, and send an alert!

Perspective: "Unleashing the conservation potential of captive parrots by enabling wild behaviours"

January 27, 2021

Our own director Ricardo and his PhD supervisor, Dr. Jackie Chappell, wrote a perspective piece on the importance of enabling natural behaviours in captive parrots, not only for animal welfare in captivity but also for the conservation of their wild counterparts! This is part of Ricardo's PhD research at the University of Birmingham.

First Evidence of Biofluorescence in Tasmanian Devils Documented by Zoo Researchers

December 16, 2020

The researchers at The Toledo Zoo documented what is believed to be the first evidence of biofluorescence in Tasmanian devils. Despite the exciting findings, there is much we don't know about this phenomenon in this species and further research is required!

Loro Parque Supports Research for Threatened Ray Species

October 14, 2020

🌊Loro Parque supports in-situ research for the mantelina, a threatened ray species. The acoustic tagging of some wild individuals, which took place last week, will allow researchers to find out more about the species' habitat use in the Canary Islands.

Younger Singaporeans More Likely to Support Conservation - WRS Survey

October 2, 2020

A survey conducted by Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) found that younger Singaporeans are more likely to support conservation efforts...
☑️Ages 16-24: 50% claimed to support conservation efforts;
☑️Ages 45-54: only 20% claimed to do so.
☑️61% claimed the biggest barrier to support conservation was not knowing where to begin.
☑️WRS suggests volunteering to start with!

☑️61% of visitors to WRS zoos learned new facts about animals during visits.
☑️31% of the visiting children showed increased interest in caring for biodiversity.


Zoo-Supported Project by Polar Bears International is Monitoring Polar Bear Movements & Sea Ice Extensions

July 24, 2020

Supported by several zoos, Polar Bears International is tracking the polar bear movements and sea ice extensions in Hudson Bay. This research is fundamental to further understand how polar bears are coping with the on-going melting of the sea ice, caused by climate change.

Zoo-Supported Research is Allowing to Track & Study Red Pandas in the Wild

June 08, 2020

As part of a long-term monitoring initiative by Red Panda Network, 10 red pandas were fitted with GPS collars and are being tracked in the forests of Ilam (in the border between Nepal and India). This research is a result of a collaboration between several institutions, including the government of Nepal, Rotterdam Zoo & others, and will allow to learn more about the ecology of this endangered species.

Sun Bear ExSitu Research: Priority Topics

June 02, 2020

If you are interested in doing research on sun bears, have a look at this list of priority topics you can focus on... This document was put together by Free the Bears & the IUCN Bear Specialist Group, with support from partners.

Zoo Attendance Increases with Number, Size and Rareness of Animals

February 05, 2020

A new published study showed that zoos that house more and larger animals have greater attendance, which then results in greater contributions to in-situ conservation! Unusual species and proximity to large populations also positively impacts attendance...


This study was the result of a collaboration between Trinity College Dublin, Species360 & National University of Ireland, Galway, and provides valuable information for zoos to manage (and potentially improve) their attendance.

Living Coasts' New Partnership and Project for the Protection of Torbay's Seagrass Meadows

January 28, 2020

Zoo Conservation, Research and Education in Action at Wild Planet Trust's Living Coasts! In partnership with Valeport, this project aims to protect Torbay's seagrass meadows, the wildlife-rich "underwater gardens" with an important function in fighting climate change, via scientific research and public education!

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