Jane Goodall launches biodiversity hubs at Highland Wildlife Park
Monday, 03 Sep 2012
British primatologist, ethologist anthropologist and UN Messenger of Peace, Doctor Jane Goodall DBE visted the Highland Wildlife Park on Monday 3rd September to launch a new youth biodiversity planting project at the Park.
A series of 'biodiversity hubs' are to be created at various locations across the Park. Made up of plantings of native species sympathetic to the animals at the Highland Wildlife Park and the surrounding environment, these hubs will be established by using volunteers coordinated via the Highland Facilitator Team, who are affiliated locally to Jane Goodall's Roots & Shoots programme.
Jane Goodall comments:
"It's fantastic to come to a place where animals have everything they need; from keepers that care passionately, to naturalised enclosures with space and then added to that the additional benefits of enrichment when needed. Many of the animals won't even know that they are captive. Attached to this is then this wonderful initiative that is connected to the Jane Goodall Institute Roots & Shoots programme that amongst other things helps to restore wild nature."
Jasper Hughes, Highland Wildlife Park Education Officer, said:
"We're delighted to develop an array of dedicated bio-diversity hubs within the Highland Wildlife Park. We have selected key sites within the Parks grounds. The RZSS gardening team and the Highland Facilitator Team will work together in order to select plant species native to the area and sympathetic to the animals in our collection. Educationally the bio-diversity hubs will represent a living legacy of true meaning and real worth; by facilitating the uptake of citizen science activities amongst the general public, increasing knowledge and understanding of the importance of biodiversity protection and conservation. It's not just about conservation of the large animals, but the plants and invertebrates that underpin these animals and their ecosystems The bio-diversity hubs will create an opportunity for involvement in serious research projects whilst also enhancing the visitor experiences in the Park.
A second phase of biodiversity hubs will be created within the Park at a later date. They will be located in the drive through section in the double fenced stand-off area (between the enclosures) and would serve as screening and shelter areas for the animals. Once the bio-diversity hubs are established there will be on-going maintenance work carried out by the volunteers over a period of years. This project is a long term project for the RZSS and HFT and associated groups.
Justine Robertson, Highland Facilitator Team chief executive, added:
"The far sightedness of an organisation such as the Highland Wildlife Park to be willing to entrust such an important project to a small community team is amazing. We developed the idea out of a need to engage a greater number of individuals and groups in Citizen Science Projects and we believe that this partnership will enable us to not only achieve this, but potentially offer training and future employment to outstanding individuals with the desire and potential to succeed."
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