UK zoos and aquariums have long had a close relationship with science - we're in a unique position to offer scientists the opportunity to carry out research on the biology of the animals and plants they care for, which cannot be undertaken effectively in the wild.
Many UK zoo animals are part of European breeding programmes (EEPs) that aim to preserve threatened species and create self-sustaining populations. The importance of these programmes has led to a great number of scientific studies dedicated to understanding the reproductive biology and needs of our animals.
It is our aim to collaborate with Universities and other scientific bodies to allow PhD, MSc and Post-Doctoral research to be undertaken for the improvement of the lives of both captive and wild elephants.
Base Camp has been purpose built with some special features in place, specifically designed to facilitate research - such as the high-level observational deck allowing an uninterrupted view over the outdoor habitat. Research students are also able to use the Keeper Gantry to view every area inside the house.
Research is fundamental to the evolution of a modern zoo, and our new elephant house will allow us to go above and beyond anything Blackpool Zoo has done before.~ Christian Howell, Education & Research Officer
EMPIRICAL RESEARCH & CARE
Empirical (adjective) - Based on, concerned with, or verifiable by observation or experience rather than theory or pure logic.
We will be continually improving the care we provide through careful research and observation. Regular research of our own elephants will not only inform the wider scientific industry, but will better inform our own systems of care, basing our work on evidence and data rather than theory and opinion.
RESEARCHING A VACCINE FOR EEHV
Elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus (EEHV) is a deadly virus which affects young elephants typically around 2-8 years old, striking elephants both in the wild and in zoos. Currently there is no vaccination against the virus and drug treatment is effective in only around 20% - 30% of cases. Part of our work here at Project Elephant will include taking regular blood samples from our herd to be sent to research labs around the country who are working to find a vaccine for this deadly virus.