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The society has won a string of national awards including one for our campaign for sustainable palm oil.
We received the gold award in the research category of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) annual awards for our use of rangers to deliver a new campaign to promote the use of sustainable palm oil.
Palm oil is the most widely used vegetable oil in the world with approximately 60 million tonnes produced each year, but when produced unsustainably it can have negative consequences for the environment, biodiversity and people.
Over a number of months, a team of rangers met visitors to explain the issues surrounding the use of unsustainable palm oil and the impact on rainforests. The rangers encouraged visitors to buy products containing sustainable palm oil, as well as sending emails to supermarkets asking them to make it clear to customers which of their own brand products used sustainable palm oil.
Katie Major, conservation psychologist and campaigns manager at Bristol Zoological Society, said: “The campaign was well received; it had a clear message and captured the interest of our visitors. It makes such a difference if we have members of staff communicating directly with people about complex topics like palm oil, and helps encourage behavioural change.”
We also shared a gold award in the animal husbandry, care and breeding category. The award was given for demonstrating how the development of captive husbandry techniques for mountain chicken frogs can improve animal welfare and help conservation efforts in the wild. The award was shared with ZSL London Zoo, Jersey, Chester, and Paignton Zoos and Norden’s Ark in Sweden.
We have also collected a bronze award for our work developing a ground-breaking animal enrichment activity for the gorillas. Called ‘Gorilla Game Lab’, the project integrated hidden computer technology with cognitive animal enrichment for the first time, to measure how well gorillas are able to solve complicated problems.
An award was also given to Mark Eastment, Bristol Zoo Gardens’ retail and admissions supervisor, in the annual BIAZA photographic competition.
His stunning close-up of a Colombian brown spider monkey surrounded by green leaves and peering at the camera (pictured) was judged runner-up in the Life in a BIAZA Collection category.
Mark, who has been taking pictures for 25 years, said: “I’ve taken many photos of the brown spider monkeys over the years but it’s not always easy as they usually don’t sit still for long.
“This one was taken on a sunny day, which created lots of patches of light and shadows in just the right places which helps to focus your attention on the face and those soulful eyes, and give a sense of a brief encounter in the jungle.”
Mark said he hoped the picture would help draw attention to the plight of Colombian brown spider monkeys, which are Critically Endangered.
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