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Conservation projects

For a lot of species, Dartmoor Zoo’s environment differs greatly from that of their natural, wild habitat.

Even though we do everything we can to mimic their natural habitats, this may influence animals that are adapted to the challenges of the wild. Therefore, a large proportion of the research carried out at Dartmoor Zoo focuses on understanding how the captive environment may influence the animals, and where appropriate, how this influence can be minimized.  

For example, some studies investigate whether aspects of animal husbandry could be improves e.g. through diet, habitat, or veterinary care.  

Other topics include the effect of visitors on animals and vice versa, evaluation of the effectiveness of education tools and visitor awareness of native species. Animal cognition is a key aim to study for our research team and exploring animal humour and intelligence.  

Before any research takes place there are significant legal consideration that must be considered when undertaking research on zoo animals. Our researchers cannot carry out intrusive studies which may cause distress to the animals. Proposals to carry out research within our zoo are carefully reviewed by the collection and assessed in terms of ethics as well as quality of science and the logistics of gathering data.  

How to help hedgehogs in your garden:

  • Make your garden a hedgehog highway – make sure that hedgehogs can get in and out of your garden
  • Watch out for water – if you have a pond in your garden, make sure there is an easy way for hedgehogs to get in and out
  • Do not use slug pellets – not only does this remove food for the hedgehogs, but it can be fatal
  • Check long grass before mowing or strimming
  • Keep netting off the ground
  • Do not give them milk or bread – instead give them fresh water
  • Keep your garden a little untidy – they especially like piles of leaves or branches
  • Check your recycling – make sure to crush cans and cut plastic rings as these can be hazardous to small mammals

Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF)

Did you know that a portion of our ticket sales are used to help conservation efforts worldwide?
We are supporting the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) who are dedicated to saving the Cheetah in the wild, by sponsoring 2 ‘Livestock Guarding Dogs’!

  • Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) works throughout Africa and beyond.
  • The cheetah is the most endangered big cat in Africa with less than 7,500 in the wild.
  • CCF Headquarters are in Namibia, which hosts one of the largest cheetah populations in Africa, with another centre in the Horn of Africa.
  • CCF’s mission is to be the internationally recognised centre of excellence in the conservation of cheetahs and their ecosystems. CCF will work with all stakeholders to develop best practices in research, education, and land use to benefit all species, including people.
Reducing Conflict with Farmers: Most cheetahs live on unprotected lands and can come into conflict with farmers by attacking their goats, sheep, cattle calves and camel foals (livestock) if there is not enough prey. CCF trains farmers under the Future Farmers of Africa programme on how to take better care of their livestock and how to protect them against predators, including cheetahs. CCF also helps farmers by giving them a Livestock Guarding Dog which protects livestock by barking loudly to keep the cheetah away. Dogs Protecting CatsCCF’s Livestock Guarding Dogs are provided to farmers to grow up with their livestock to stop the cheetah and other predators from attacking the farmers’ livestock. These dogs are very large and if a cheetah/predator comes near, they place themselves between the livestock and the cheetah and bark loudly to chase the cheetah away. CCF has a Livestock Guarding Dog breeding programme in Namibia. The cute puppies spend the first three months of their lives with their mother, goats and/or sheep, and they bond to the livestock. What they bond with, they then protect as they grow up.   CCF uses Turkish Anatolian Shephard or Kangal Dogs, as well as mix breeds in areas where smaller predators are the problem.Achievements: Between 1994 and 2023, CCF has provided over 750 Livestock Guarding Dogs to rural farmers in Namibia. Farmers who have a dog report that the killing of livestock is reduced by up to 90%. These dogs are so popular there is a 3-year waiting list by farmers.


Costs: It costs over £600 to raise a Livestock Guarding Dog. This cost covers vaccinations, food, training, travel to place the dogs with farmers and follow up visits at 6, 9 and 12 months and annually thereafter to make sure the dogs are healthy and being well looked after, thus providing more contact and training with the farming community.

Need advice?

If you need advice, please call our team on 01752 837645. We will be able to tell you if we have capacity to take the hedgehog into our care or not. Please do not turn up onsite with a hedgehog without speaking to a member of staff first.