We’re so pleased to welcome a Lau banded iguana to Dartmoor Zoo!
Found on the Lau Islands of the eastern part of the Fijian archipelago, this species is considered a national treasure by the government of Fiji, and its likeness has been featured on postage stamps and currency.
Populations of these iguanas have been declining over the past century and they’re now sadly listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List. Threats include habitat destruction from logging and farming, invasive predators and the illegal pet trade.
Come and meet Tonga for yourself this May half term! You can spot him in our Reptile and Bug House.
We’re delighted to announce the arrival of two critically endangered Scottish wildcats here at Dartmoor Zoo!
The two females, Morag and Moraig, arrived from New Forest Wildlife Park and have made themselves at home in a bespoke enclosure which mimics their natural habitat.
Scottish wildcats form one of the most endangered cat populations in the world. Following a sad history of habitat loss, persecution and, more recently, breeding with domestic cats, they’re now on the brink of extinction.
Fearless, brave, intelligent, resourceful and patient make a remarkable animal. Dubbed the ‘Tiger of the Highlands’, there are now barely a handful left and scientific research has confirmed the species will not survive without help.
Coral Jonas, Chief Operating Officer at Dartmoor Zoo, said: “We’re incredibly excited to welcome two Scottish wildcats to the charity, Dartmoor Zoological Society.
“This is the beginning of our future breeding and release programme and will also give us the opportunity to educate our visitors about one of the rarest mammals in Britain.
“Welcoming the cats not only helps wildlife but it’s helped the people that made it possible. The students from Ivybridge Community College who came and helped build this enclosure as part of our Superkids school inclusion programme should be truly proud of the work they have done.”
As a leading British wildlife conservation charity, we’re eager to not only contribute to their conservation, but to also offer an opportunity for visitors to learn more about wildcats and hopefully capture a glimpse of this elusive species.
We’re delighted to welcome THREE new bird species to Dartmoor Zoo!
Our first new arrival is a critically endangered Bali myna, also known as a Bali starling, one of the rarest species of bird on the planet.
Found in the tropical forests of Bali, their pure white plumage and blue streak across the eye has made them irresistible to collectors and due to the illegal bird trade, they’re unfortunately incredibly close to becoming extinct in the wild.
We will be working to help safeguard these stunning birds as part of the European Breeding Programme.
Our second new arrivals – a flock of Java sparrows!
The Java sparrow, also known as Java finch, Java rice sparrow or Java rice bird, is a species of finch native to Java and Bali in Indonesia.
They’re highly social and forage in groups in growing vegetation for rice, grass seeds, and small insects.
Listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List, this species has been introduced to other parts of the world, including Hawaii, but is threatened in its native range due to habitat loss and trapping for the illegal pet trade. As a result, their numbers are sadly plummeting.
Finally, two Luzon bleeding-heart doves have been welcomed to the Zoo.
With a distinct red ‘heart’ in the centre of their chest, this bird got its unusual name from the splash of vivid red on their white breasts, which resembles a bleeding wound.
Listed as near threatened on the IUCN Red List, the population of this species has been shrinking in recent years due to habitat loss, as well as hunting and trapping for the pet trade.
Guests may be able to hear the doves calling periodically, making ‘cooing’ noises to stay in contact with each other while they forage for berries, seeds, and grubs to eat.
Come and see these beautiful birds in person! You can spot our new arrivals in our Bird Aviary.
We’re delighted to announce that our team have successfully released our first rehabilitated hedgehog back into the wild!
Idris was found wandering in the middle of a busy road by a concerned member of the public. When he arrived at our Hedgehog Rescue, also known as ‘Prickly Hedge Lodge’, he was extremely weak, dehydrated, severely underweight and was unable to stand up without swaying.
Despite a difficult start in life, Idris responded well to treatment and has now been released back into a safe area with supported feeding and housing to help him find his feet, until he is ready to venture out in his own time.
Although our team will miss this cheeky little character, we’re so pleased to see him healthy and are confident that he’ll thrive in the wild.
Please donate towards this amazing project and support our charity as we continue to save our precious hedgehogs.
Photo: Grow 4 Good South West
It just wouldn’t be Easter without an egg hunt with a ‘wild’ twist like only the Zoo can do!
Can you find the eggs of all our different bird species?
Join us from Saturday 9th – Sunday 24th April for an egg-citing Easter trail around the Zoo featuring our amazing animals, listen to our new animal talks and learn all about our brilliant birds.
This trail is included as part of your general Zoo admission ticket with the option of purchasing a £2 trail pack on arrival, which includes:
- A trail sheet
- DZS pencil
- 30g mini eggs
- A fluffy chick
- DZS bird sticker
Tickets are on sale now, so bring your little monkeys and enjoy acres of ‘egg’tastic themed fun!
Hop on over to Dartmoor Zoo and join us for our Easter EggstravaganZOO event, taking place on Thursday 14th April between 5pm – 8pm!
Celebrate Easter with the whole family and enjoy acres of ‘egg’tastic themed fun in search of treats and treasures.
Activities during the event include:
- Easter Egg Hunt
- Easter Games & Prizes
- Meet the Easter Bunny
- Face Painting
- Bake Sale
- Brilliant Birds Talk
Bring your little monkeys for a fun (and wild) outdoor adventure and celebrate spring with eggs, paws and claws!
Tickets are limited so don’t miss out.
DZS Membership price:
DZS Standard Membership – full price
DZS Premium Membership – 10% off using code ‘DZSPREMIUM10’ (please note that you will need proof of membership on the day of your visit)
This offer is sold out. Only pre-booked tickets will be allowed in on the day.
This Mother’s Day (Sunday 27th March), we’re offering mums 𝐅𝐑𝐄𝐄 admission to Dartmoor Zoo!
If you’re looking for a memorable day out, bring your troop along for some fun and fresh air, explore our 33-acre site and learn more about our incredible mothers.
To receive free admission into the Zoo on Sunday 27th March, mums must be accompanied by a full paying adult or child.
Limited tickets are available so book in advance to avoid disappointment!
We’re very proud to announce that we have been successful in breeding over 75 black beauty stick insects!
This species is sadly listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List and their population in the wild is still decreasing, facing threats from livestock farming and habitat loss.
They’re native to Peru and can now only be found in the wild in the Cordillera del Condor region of Peru in South America.
Only discovered in 2005, not much is known about these insects, but they’re believed to be most active at night when their deep black coloration keeps them hidden from predators. They’re also armed with a gland at the rear of their heads which, when threatened, can spray a corrosive, strong-smelling substance!
We’re currently rearing these insects in our breeding room but they will soon be on show in our Reptile and Bug House.
The club and Trust will commit to a range of initiatives, including fundraising support, outreach assistance, staff volunteering, in-kind services, and event sponsorship.
Coral Jonas, Deputy CEO of DZS, said: “Dartmoor Zoo is delighted to have been chosen as a charity partner of the Plymouth Argyle Community Trust for the 2021/22 season. The Zoo is unique to many zoological conservation projects as helping people is as important to us as helping wildlife. Our Wellness Through Nature and educational programmes support adults and children to improve their mental and emotional health and physical wellbeing by inspiring and empowering them to be more connected with the natural world. We are looking forward to working with Plymouth Argyle on some new initiatives which will enable more people to benefit from spending time outdoors and engaging with nature.”
Dartmoor Zoological Society and Dash of Silver are the club’s first-ever chosen charity partners, following the development of a specific and targeted charity policy during the off-season.
Plymouth Argyle CEO, Andrew Parkinson, said: “We are pleased to be able to confirm our first-ever chosen charity partners for the 21/22 campaign, and look forward to collaborating on projects and using the power of Argyle to help create measurable impact for the charities and the projects they deliver.”
We’re delighted to announce that Dartmoor Zoological Society (DZS) is now an institutional member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA).
WAZA is a global community of progressive zoological organisations that are actively engaged in critically important efforts to protect wildlife.
The membership consists of nearly 400 leading institutions and organisations around the world dedicated to providing the highest standards of care and striving to achieve the most in conservation of animals and their habitats.
Becoming a WAZA member presents incredible opportunities for professional development and collaboration on international research and conservation projects.
Coral Jonas, Deputy CEO of Dartmoor Zoological Society, said: “We’re extremely pleased to be part of WAZA. We’ve worked hard to build an incredible home for our animals, where we have the privilege of continuing our mission to protect them whilst also providing a platform to educate our guests and continue to learn about how to conserve them today and in the future.”
Dr Martín Zordan, Chief Executive Officer of WAZA, said: “We’re delighted to expand our global community by welcoming Dartmoor Zoological Society as a new WAZA Institutional member.
“As a global community committed to high standards of animal welfare and conserving biodiversity, we’re able to further increase our impact by having more like-minded organisations like Dartmoor Zoological Society joining us.”
The membership is another step in our ongoing commitment to conservation, research, education, sustainability, and animal care and welfare.
Join us this May half term to celebrate all things otter!
As part of the Moor Otters Arts Trail 2021, our amazing Moor Otter, painted by award-winning local artist Laura Wall, will be arriving at Dartmoor Zoo on Friday 28th May.
Moor Otters is a feel-good public arts project that gathers up young and old for an amazing journey of learning and discovery, creating stories and making memories.
81 stunning sculptures of otters with cubs – all designed and decorated by local and national artists – will be spending the summer with businesses, community groups and in public areas across Dartmoor, in Plymouth and in gateway towns and villages to create four arts trails.
To coincide with the arrival of the Moor Otter, meet our adorable family of Asian short clawed otters and take part in our Zoo trail to learn about all 13 different species.
For your chance to also win a large plush toy, simply print and decorate an otter mask and wear it to the Zoo between 29th May – 6th June.
Don’t forget to hand your mask in at our Jaguar Restaurant before you head home and include your name, age and contact details on the back.
Download your mask here.
During the most recent lockdown, our keepers and maintenance team have been busy creating a brand new African Aviary!
The aviary is positioned between the cloud rats and our Asian short-clawed otters in an area of the Zoo that many years ago held a selection of birds of prey.
Working with donated materials, we would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who donated items and their time to make the aviary a reality.
This enclosure will house our two endangered East African grey crowned cranes, Derek and Marge, lilac breasted rollers and our new Kirk’s Dik-dik, Ravioli and Macaroni.
We’re delighted to announce that after months of hard work, the Dartmoor Zoo Hedgehog Rescue, also known as ‘Prickly Hedge Lodge’, is planned to open in September.
Our team have converted an existing building into a rehabilitation facility for up to 20 sick or injured hedgehogs at a time before their release back into the wild.
Sadly, hedgehogs are now classed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List, with over a third of hedgehogs being lost since the millennium.
Prickly Hedge Lodge will prove vital for the longterm survival of the native population, particularly in rural areas where their decline is believed to be most rapid, and contribute to research and raising awareness.
There are many costs associated with running a rehabilitation facility and we still need to raise £1,800 to purchase essential equipment including incubators, carry boxes, materials for hedgehog runs, an examination table, a magnifying glass, a microscope and more.
If you’re able to make a financial contribution of any size towards this amazing project, we would be extremely grateful. You can donate by visiting – http://bit.ly/DZSHedgehogRescue
Oscar winning Hollywood Director Cameron Crowe announced as first patron of Dartmoor Zoological Society
The Hollywood Director behind blockbuster films We Bought a Zoo, Jerry Maguire and Almost Famous, has become the first patron of the Dartmoor Zoological Society charity.
Cameron Crowe, the Director behind We Bought a Zoo which is based on zoo founder Benjamin Mee’s book of the same name, has pledged to support the charity with the use of his name, after taking a key interest in the zoo’s conservation work.
Cameron’s patronage will help the Dartmoor Zoological Society charity continue its vital work. Its mission is to provide a future where no animal species faces extinction, by educating, informing, inspiring and empowering people to be more connected with the natural world and take greater responsibility for their impact.
Born and bred in California, Cameron started his career as a journalist, acting as a Contributing Editor at Rolling Stone magazine before moving into the film industry. His first big hit was Jerry Maguire (1996) starring Tom Cruise which he wrote and directed. This was followed by Almost Famous (2000) which he won an Academy Award for in 2001 for his screenplay.
Cameron Crowe commented: “I’ve always been a fan of the incredible work the team does at Dartmoor Zoo. Since I adapted Benjamin Mee’s book for the screenplay and directed We Bought a Zoo, I’ve kept an eye on what they are doing. I love how, as well as doing conservation work with endangered animals, they also help vulnerable people too. Ground-breaking stuff with war veterans and kids excluded from mainstream education, connecting them with nature, real nature with lions and tigers in it and it seems to work! It really is inspiring and that’s why I’m proud to support the great charity which is Dartmoor Zoological Society.”
After establishing Dartmoor Zoo in 2007, the Mee family donated the zoo to the Dartmoor Zoological Society in 2014. As a registered charity, the Society is now proud to have Cameron Crowe as its first patron, in addition to over 500 members.
Coral Jonas, deputy CEO at Dartmoor Zoo, commented: “We’re delighted to welcome Cameron as a patron of Dartmoor Zoological Society. After taking a keen interest in the work we do here whilst directing We Bought a Zoo back in 2011, Cameron was keen to know how he could continue supporting the zoo. By becoming a patron of the charity, not only will he raise awareness of the vital conservation work we do here in Devon, he will also help to ensure we can continue protecting endangered animal species and raise awareness of how we can all do more to protect the world in which we live.”
As a charity, we’re now facing part of Easter, typically one of our busiest times of year, without any visitors. We’re incredibly thankful to you all, but it is critical that we ask for your help and support to secure our future.
Please consider making a regular monthly or a one-off donation today – http://bit.ly/DZSAppeal
Anyone can become a member of Dartmoor Zoological Society. In addition to showing support for our zoo, members obtain free admission for a year and can benefit from a range of exclusive discounts. For more information, please email email@example.com.
We’re thrilled to announce the arrival of two lilac-breasted rollers!
The sibling pair, who have not yet been named, hatched at Paultons Park in May 2020 and have been settling in well since arriving at Dartmoor Zoo at the beginning of October.
Listed as Least Concern, these striking birds have around eight colours, including green, white, black, yellow, turquoise, dark blue, reddish brown, and lilac.
They have a robust body and a proportionately large head with a heavy black beak, a white chin and a white or yellow band above the eyes and beak. They also have a dark lilac breast that grows lighter towards the throat.
Known to be a fearless creature, these birds will sweep down to hunt from the ground and aggressively batter their prey before swallowing it whole. Their diet includes grasshoppers, beetles and small amphibians.
Hannah Webb, Acting Curator at Dartmoor Zoo, said: “We’re extremely pleased to welcome these amazing birds into our collection at the zoo. In the future, we will be looking at swapping one with an unrelated roller to create a new breeding pair.”
These amazing birds can be spotted next to our burrowing owls.
We are delighted to announce that we have welcomed three new male geladas to Dartmoor Zoo for the very first time.
The three males, Bruno (aged 14), Kwame (aged 7 and Bruno’s son) and Soloman (aged 6 and Bruno’s nephew), were already living together at another zoo and are part of the international breeding program for their species.
Since arriving, they have been settling into their new enclosure which has been renovated especially for them to include heating, new lighting, lots of branches for climbing and enrichment.
Coral Jonas, Deputy CEO, said: “We are incredibly excited to be welcoming the start of what is going to be a new troop of geladas at Dartmoor Zoological Society.
“Over the past year, we have been developing their new enclosure in-house by our maintenance team and would like to thank the public for the incredible support shown over recent months, especially during lockdown. We have been very fortunate and thankful to have received donations and materials from local suppliers, allowing us to complete the finishing touches.
“The three boys were due to arrive just after the Easter holidays but due to the lock down, this was delayed.
“These are fascinating animals and our long-term plan is to house more primates within the collection so we can continue our research into animal cognition.
‘‘We will be keeping everyone updated on the monkeys progress through social media, and we are sure that all of our visitors will be thrilled to see them when we reopen.’’
Geladas are the last surviving species of grazing primate and known as shuffle-feeders, as they prefer to pluck grass while shuffling on their bottoms.
Although not classed as endangered, their numbers are decreasing due to the spread of agriculture in their habitat. They are also persecuted as crop pests in some areas.
Geladas use a complex mix of facial expressions and vocalisations to communicate with others in the group. These can be very subtle or extremely obvious! Look out for them ‘mouth chattering’ as a greeting to one another.
You can spot these handsome, long-haired, medium-bodied primates opposite the agoutis and marmosets.
Despite being allowed to reopen on Wednesday 8th July, we are only able to welcome a quarter of the visitors we would usually see through our doors due to the restrictions in place. To provide the best possible care to our animals, we must still fundraise £11,500 a week and continue to rely on the generosity of the public. If you are able to support us, please donate by visiting – https://bit.ly/DZPEmergencyAppeal.
Whilst we are temporarily closed due to COVID-19, our zoo keepers are caring for all of our 87 species of our 400+ animals, every single day, with the same love, care and dedication they deserve. No one knows how long this closure will last, and that poses a big challenge for us.
This year more than ever, Dartmoor Zoo needs your support. Since closing our doors in March, the zoo has lost hundreds of thousands of pounds in critical funds. We have been heartened by the generosity of the public so far but along with others, we need more.
Even after making considerable cuts, we still need to raise £45,000 a month to help us care for our animals and give them everything they need. Therefore, our weekly fundraising target is £11,500.
Dartmoor Zoo depends on income from fundraising events and admissions from our visitors, so the animals now rely solely on your generosity.
Although you cannot see them, you can still help them. Your donation today will support our important work, helping people helping wildlife, here at our zoo and around the world.
We understand that this is a difficult time for everyone, however, if you are able to make a financial contribution of any size, please do what you can to support us.
Together, we can overcome this challenge, and we cannot wait until we are able to welcome you back.
Click here to DONATE
It is with a very heavy heart that we did not open Dartmoor Zoo this morning and we will be closed from today until further notice. At the moment this is the only available course of action to ensure the safety of visitors, members of staff and ultimately the animals, who are dependent on a functioning zoo surviving this period of uncertainty. The Trustees and Senior Management Team of the charity have tirelessly explored all the options currently available to us, and closing the gates to the public at the moment is the right course of action.
For now, we must emphasise that this is a temporary closure for public and staff safety, so that we can continue to provide a future for the animals here.
With the measures currently in place we are 100% confident that we will be able to re-open when circumstances allow, and we are actively exploring all the options in a rapidly changing situation. However, we are completely reliant on our ticket income and as a result of the winter, our reserves are almost exhausted and we will soon run out of money. We hope to be in a position to borrow from the Government Scheme, however, this is unlikely to be enough and we need to ask you as our supporters to give as generously as you can in these difficult times so that we can keep Dartmoor Zoo functioning until things return to normal.
The entire world is stunned by this situation, but this country is pulling together and the authorities are supporting many businesses and charities, including this one, so that they can get through the coming weeks and start to return to normal as soon as possible. We are taking great comfort from this.
Dartmoor Zoo has always been a public resource, but one which is dependent on its public to support it.
Please do what you can to support us by buying memberships, using our online shop, making donations and even buying advanced tickets for when we re-open.
We are all devastated that we have to close, but with your understanding and support, we will be back as soon as we can.