Bristol Zoological Society’s Dr Christoph Schwitzer is appointed chair of BIAZA

Our chief zoological officer and deputy chief executive, Dr Christoph Schwitzer, has been appointed chairman of the professional zoo body representing the responsible zoo and aquarium community in the UK and Ireland.

Christoph’s appointment will see him chairing the council of BIAZA – the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

The BIAZA council is responsible for overseeing BIAZA’s governance and directing the charity towards a new 10-year strategy - ensuring the British and Irish zoo and aquarium community continues to lead the way in animal welfare and species conservation.

His role as chair of BIAZA will be carried out alongside his day job here, where he is responsible for almost 10,000 animals at the Zoo and Wild Place Project.

Christoph is also deputy chair of the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Primate Specialist Group and vice-president of the Association Européenne pour l’Etude et la Conservation des Lémuriens - a consortium of European zoos dedicated to lemur conservation.

Christoph said of his appointment: “I am humbled to have been elected as chair. It's an exciting role and certainly a career highlight for me. I will do my best to chair BIAZA into a new decade, keeping it impactful and relevant for all members.”

His work and commitment to conservation is recognised across the globe. His prior experience includes working as part of the primatological research group at Cologne Zoo in Germany, and spending two years in Madagascar building a field station and heading a lemur research and conservation programme.

Christoph’s appointment at BIAZA comes as the charity also welcomes new CEO, Dr Madelon Willemsen. Madelon brings to BIAZA a sound knowledge of zoos and conservation and will focus on delivering a strategic, collaborative and evidence-based approach to realising effective conservation - the subject of her PhD research.

The British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) is a conservation education and scientific wildlife charity, which acts as the principal professional zoo body representing the responsible zoo and aquarium community in the UK and Ireland. Bristol Zoo Gardens was a founding member of BIAZA.

BIAZA zoos and aquariums have global impact, participating in over 800 conservation projects, 1,400 research projects and contributing more than £24 million a year to field conservation.

With more than 30 million visitors being welcomed annually, BIAZA zoos and aquariums are recognised as offering a fun and safe way to learn about animals and together the community delivers formal education sessions to more than 1 million students.

BIAZA and its members are a powerful force in the care and conservation of the natural world. Collectively, they endeavour to inspire people to protect our planet’s rich biodiversity, deliver high quality environmental education, training and research whilst achieving the highest standards of animal care and welfare.


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