Conservation at Colchester Zoo

The modern day zoo has many roles to carry out, including conservation, education, animal welfare, research and recreation. Conservation is the principle role of all zoos, as they work to preserve animal species, many of which are endangered. Two of the main ways that Colchester Zoo is involved with conservation are via captive breeding programmes and supporting conservation projects in the wild.

Colchester Zoo is part of a wider network working to conserve species. Here in the UK, we are part of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquaria (BIAZA) and across Europe we are part of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA). EAZA manage the captive breeding programmes on this European level. These programmes involve the monitoring and management of species between different zoos, helping to maintain genetic diversity. This management is highly important for those species at risk of extinction, as the programmes provide 'back up' populations, which could be used for reintroduction projects into the wild or potentially the donation of sperm or eggs to wild populations.

Colchester Zoo also supports conservation in the wild, actively supporting a number of different conservation projects around the world, which are all working to protect endangered species. Colchester Zoo supports these many projects through its charity Action for the Wild, which was set up in 1993 and achieved charitable status in 2004.

Action for the Wild

AFTW-webColchester Zoo's Action for the Wild is dedicated to assisting conservation projects worldwide. The charity supports and encourages conservation projects that address conservation priorities at both local and global levels. This is achieved through education, research and the provision of financial and technical assistance.

Click here to visit the Action for the Wild website.

UmPhafa Private Nature Reserve

UmPhafa-webThe UmPhafa Private Nature Reserve is also being created in KwaZulu Natal South Africa by Action for the Wild from a series of cattle farms. The 20,000 acre park will provide a haven for a huge range of species of mammals, birds and reptiles.

Click here to visit the UmPhafa website.

Click here to contribute to our conservation projects

Educating our visitors

Education has an extremely important role to play in conservation. Through our interpretation and displays at the Zoo we aim to educate our visitors and raise general awareness of the immense diversity of the world's wildlife as well as the vast array of conservation and environmental issues.


5.00pm close or dusk if earlier
Last admission to zoo grounds at 4.00pm

Click here for further closing times


upcoming events
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Animated gif of a rhino