Top South West zoos are marking the anniversary of a key global conservation tool. Staff and volunteers at Paignton Zoo, Living Coasts in Torquay and Newquay Zoo in Cornwall are celebrating 50 years of the Red List.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species is the world’s most comprehensive information source on the global conservation status of animal, fungi and plant species and their links to livelihoods.
Simon Tonge, the Executive Director of the Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust, the charity that runs the three zoos, said: “The Red List has made a huge contribution in guiding conservation action and policy decisions over the past 50 years. The list is an invaluable conservation resource, a health check for our planet – a barometer of life.”
To mark the occasion, Living Coasts’ cafe will have red themed displays and menus, while the Tradewinds gift shop will have a dedicated display including lamps, tea-light holders and tableware. There will be a trail highlighting Red List species with a prize draw to win a penguin adoption.
At Newquay Zoo there will be a Red November trail, special Red List signs, red footprints leading to endangered species and red cakes on sale to raise money for Sulawesi crested black macaque conservation.
Paignton Zoo will also have a trail with the prize of a rhino adoption, as well as a selfie competition on Facebook with a rhino feed experience as a prize. The restaurant and shop will go red for the month. A local bakery, Truly Treats from Teignmouth, have produced a palm oil free red velvet cake to help the Zoo celebrate Red November. All the zoos will run Red November campaigns on social media.
Paignton Zoo is home to 270 species on the Red List, Living Coasts 30 and Newquay Zoo about 130.
Zara Gaspar, from the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums, said: “This important milestone is a chance to celebrate conservation in zoos and the tools we use – such as the Red List – to help protect our natural environment.”
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species uses nine categories: Not Evaluated, Data Deficient, Least Concern, Near Threatened, Vulnerable, Endangered, Critically Endangered, Extinct In The Wild and Extinct. Paignton Zoo Environmental Park is a registered charity. For more information go to www.paigntonzoo.org.uk or ring 0844 474 2222.