One of the many roles a modern zoo undertakes is research. By researching the animals we hold we can increase our knowledge on how to look after them, study species that could be rare or difficult to study in the wild and ultimately use all this knowledge to better our conservation efforts. Since 1963 Twycross Zoo has hosted over 500 researchers from colleges and universities across the globe, covering everything from high school projects to post-doctoral theses.
Twycross is the only UK zoo to hold all 4 species of great ape, including bonobos. We also have a very successful breeding record and many of our primates can be observed in breeding groups with individuals of various ages and stages of development.
Many of the other species at Twycross Zoo are endangered in the wild, and are in captive breeding programmes for conservation purposes. We have more than 600 animals from nearly 200 species. Our website has details of the entire animal collection, but it is best to check with us regarding suitability and availability.
The majority of enclosures allow good observation of the animals with most animals having indoor and outdoor enclosures and generally being observable in both environments. However, from time to time, animals may have to be off-show for welfare reasons.
We have particular interest in the following areas:
- Enclosure usage and activity budgets.
- Behaviour and social interactions.
- Communication and vocalisations.
- Dietary analysis
In addition to animal-based projects we welcome interest in research in the following areas:
- Impact of both formal and informal education. We have a strong education department that teaches over 20,000 school pupils and university and college students a year.
- We are a large tourist destination for the East Midlands.
- Impact and effect of the Twycross Zoo Nature Reserve on biodiversity.
To arrange a study at Twycross you need to:
- Have an idea for a study and a supervisor that supports your idea.
- Have done some reading and have a good plan of what you would like to do.
- Contact the Research Officer by email or post, well in advance of the planned study, to discuss your ideas. If they are not entirely possible we can help with suggestions for refinements.
- Arrange a visit if possible. You will find it helpful to see the facilities and meet the keepers.
The Research Officer will supply the appropriate form which must be completed and returned. Please note that approval for the project from the zoo management may take several weeks and not all projects are suitable.
Entrance to the zoo is free for researchers while they are carrying out research and for preliminary visits, as long as these have been organised with the Research Officer in advance.
Should you want to do a research project with us, please make sure that you allow plenty of time before your start date (about 6-7 weeks) in order for the application to be processed.
For ideas for suitable zoo projects see the BIAZA resources for researchers
We are also now producing a list of suitable students projects which can be obtained by emailing email@example.com.