Zoo trip gives students chance to unearth the wonders of wildlife


Hartpury’s animal degree students got to live like zookeepers for three days as they immersed themselves in the wonders of wildlife at Marwell Zoo.

Forty-one students took part in the annual residential trip to Marwell Zoo in Hampshire, where they experienced all aspects of zoo life, gaining an insight into careers from zoo staff as they collated data to support their own research.

Lectures on biosecurity from a zoo vet, animal restraint by a zoo section manager, captive animal management by a zoologist and captive breeding and reintroduction by a studbook keeper supported the theory the students have been learning on their degree programmes at Hartpury.

They also gained an invaluable insight into the day to day role of a zoo keeper, various keepers talked at length with them about their own areas of interest and research as well as students having the opportunity to collect behavioural data, analyse the zoo enclosures and question other staff members.

Lucy Clarke, Subject Manager for Animal Sciences at Hartpury, said: “This was a fantastic opportunity for the students to get support for their own projects, and give them first-hand experience to develop their understanding of the challenges faced globally by the zoo community.

“Although the weather wasn’t with us, the students jumped straight into all aspects of zoo life with enthusiasm and embraced the opportunity to work in such a unique environment. They were outstanding, further strengthening the long standing relationship we have with Marwell Zoo.”

Jodi Pitts, a student on the Animal Behaviour and Welfare degree course, said: “Going to Marwell was a great opportunity. Being able to chat to the keepers was fantastic because they have so much knowledge and the lectures were so insightful.”

Many of Hartpury’s Animal students complete work experience placements in zoos and conservation projects. While some have spent their sandwich year carrying out conservation work in wildlife reserves in South Africa and the Seychelles, Hartpury’s partnerships with zoos such as Marwell and Colchester and organisations like the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust and International Birds of Prey Centre provide students with work experience much closer to home.

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