Durrell sweeps prizes at national zoo awards

Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust is delighted to have received a total of seven awards at the annual awards ceremony of the British & Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA).

The ceremony is part of the annual BIAZA conference that brings together zoos from across the UK and Ireland to recognise outstanding contributions to conservation, research, animal welfare and public engagement.

This year, Durrell was honoured to receive five gold awards, one silver and one bronze award in recognition of the important work being carried out across the organisation at Jersey Zoo and in the field. Durrell’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr Lesley Dickie says, “I am always proud to lead this organisation, but I was extremely proud to see so many people within Durrell recognised at this year’s BIAZA awards ceremony. This result highlights the hard work and dedication of our team to save species around the world, all the while maintaining high standards in research, welfare and husbandry techniques as well as continued efforts to engage the public with our mission. I congratulate all the teams across the Trust who contributed to winning this recognition of excellence.”

At this year’s event, Durrell received a gold award in Conservation for their work with the Pygmy Hog Conservation Programme, which aims to save the Critically Endangered pygmy hog from extinction in Assam, India. The programme is part of a wider project to protect and restore this tiny hog’s unique Terai grassland habitat, which holds a rich diversity of wildlife, including many other threatened species.

Durrell was also awarded the top prize in the Research category for the published work highlighting how the illegal wildlife trade is driving Madagascar’s incredibly rare ploughshare tortoise to extinction. Durrell’s scientists have been involved in the study, which has spanned more than a decade, to monitor tortoise populations and illegal trafficking activities both on the ground and along international trade routes, to bring attention to the plight of this species.

Efforts to conserve species and engage the public at Jersey Zoo were also recognised at the awards ceremony. The zoo received a gold award in Exhibits for the expansion of the fruit bat enclosure to enable extended continuous flight, a bronze award in Behaviour and Welfare for understanding sources of stress in pied tamarins, and a silver award in PR, Marketing, Digital and Events for the zoo’s popular summer event, Durrell at Dusk.

Two gold prizes were also awarded in the Animal Husbandry, Care and Breeding category. Firstly, for monitoring the effectiveness of husbandry changes to the Madagascar giant jumping rat, and secondly, for the partnership with other zoos to develop husbandry protocols for the conservation translocation of the Critically Endangered mountain chicken frog to prevent its extinction in the wild.