Edinburgh Zoo charity calls on Rishi Sunak to end to Brexit 'red tape' impacting endangered species
The charity that runs Edinburgh Zoo has called for an end to Brexit red tape that they say is impacting endangered species. The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland has signed an open letter to the Prime Minister, along with 75 other zoos and aquariums, which calls on British Government to negotiate with the European Commission and enable the transfer of zoo animals between Britain and the EU.
They say that since leaving the EU, zoo animal transfers have plummeted by 85% and transfers are down from 1400 transfers per year, to just over 200.
David Field, chief executive officer of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS), said: “Breeding programmes in good, conservation-focused zoos help to ensure the long-term survival of many species, so it is vital that a solution is found which enables animals to move between the UK and Europe. Collaboration is more important than ever as we face a worldwide extinction crisis.
“The current situation may also raise short-term welfare challenges when zoos have to find or create habitats for animals which would previously have joined a breeding programme in another country.”
Species that are extinct in the wild are reliant on breeding programmes to survive, and some of the species that BIAZA claims are impacted include the black rhino, Asiatic lions and Francois langurs.
Malcolm Fitzpatrick, chief zoological officer at ZSL’s conservation zoos, London and Whipsnade, said: “The UK Government and the EU must urgently come together to help the UK conservation community continue their vital work saving species from extinction.
“With the world’s biodiversity under more pressure than ever, a new path must be forged through the current red tape to allow conservationists to resume a full programme of international collaboration - protecting threatened species.”
Dr Jo Judge, CEO of BIAZA, the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums, said: “Government has not replaced the framework that lets zoo animals move easily between Britain and the EU. The red tape swamp has made it extremely difficult for zoos and aquariums to fully partake in the international conservation programmes that are so important to many species.”
“We are facing a biodiversity crisis and need to be coming together more than ever to save species from extinction.”