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January 2020 – Aviculture

6 Feb 2020

Our Head of Species Manager, Chrissie reflects on January

In January we carried out our annual stock take, in which every species from flamingo to harvest mouse has to be counted. Carrying out a stock take birds and mammals that continually move about is a serious challenge (the ducks on the lake are the trickiest!) but the census is an important part of our work and a key element of our zoological requirements. It is an enjoyable and interesting job and our wardens relish the challenge each year.

21st January was Squirrel Appreciation Day and we used this as an opportunity to celebrate the UK’s only native squirrel, the red squirrel. Pensthorpe Conservation Trust (PCT) works with members of the East Anglian Red Squirrel Group to co-ordinate squirrels and support captive breed and release projects. Did you know that red squirrels are part of a national Biodiversity Action Plan which addresses threatened species and to help protect those endangered from extinction? We are proud of our work in this area and hope to improve the chances of these beautiful and highly intelligent animals.

Two of our wardens attended the BIAZA (British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums) Native Species and Field Conservation Conference at Chester Zoo. As well as having the chance to speak to global conservationists, we looked at the opportunities for further supporting our native species and habitats here at Pensthorpe. Rewilding and reintroduction programmes were also on the agenda, providing plenty of food for thought for our team!

We also attended the Operation Turtle Dove Technical Group meeting at the David Attenborough building in Cambridge. The group aims to reverse the decline of the iconic turtle dove. Find out more about our partnership work at or follow Operation Turtle Dove on Twitter @saveturtledoves