EDINBURGH ZOO and the Highland Wildlife Park have both played major roles in this year’s Love Your Zoo week, the event designed to raise awareness of the importance of the education, conservation and research work that Britain’s zoos undertake.
More than 50 zoos, aquariums and wildlife parks across the UK have been taking part in the event, started three years ago by BIAZA (the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums).
Edinburgh Zoo and the Highland Wildlife Park have been releasing video clips giving a rare behind-the-scenes peek at the work of the Royal Zoologocial Society of Scotland - the charity that manages and owns both attractions.
Included in the Edinburgh Zoo clips are footage showing an ultrasound being performed on a giant African land snail, the vaccination of a big cat, general health checks on penguin chicks and small insect work including the amputation of a tarantula’s leg.
The Highland Wildlife Park’s footage will focus on wildcats - both in the wild and at the Park, and pine martens.
Chris West, CEO of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, said: “It is wonderful to give people a sneak peek behind the scenes at Edinburgh Zoo and to have the chance to focus on native species at the Highland Wildlife Park during the Year of Natural Scotland.
“Many people may not realise the kind of varied and specialist work our veterinary team carry out on a weekly basis and the important conservation work taking place on Scottish native species.”
He added: “Love Your Zoo Week is the perfect opportunity to take time to tell these stories and to share insight.”
Kirsten Pullen, CEO of BIAZA, said: “We want people to understand why it is important to visit their local BIAZA zoo or aquarium.
“Zoos do a lot more than provide a fun day out. They are helping safeguard the future of vulnerable species and getting visitors closer to nature so hopefully they are inspired to make a difference.
She said that she hoped people would support the campaign and find out the main reasons they should ‘love their zoo’.