National gong for Ealing’s Hanwell Zoo

The zoo won a British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquaria (BIAZA) gold award for its project called Equity in Conservation Education. It was one of only two gold awards given by BIAZA in this category for 2019, and it was the first time the zoo has won a gold award.

Hanwell Zoo has established itself in a prominent role in the zoo education industry. Staff members pride themselves on the inclusivity of their programmes and the work they do in the community – including thousands of local school children participating every year – and this award highlights the educational aspects of what they do and of the zoo’s equity project.

Hanwell Zoo holds a number of animals whose numbers in the wild are declining including the Bali starling, red-crowned crane, phantasmal poison arrow frog and the hazel dormouse.

The zoo has played its part in international efforts to ensure these species are well looked after in captivity, and their numbers kept at sustainable levels with the long-term aim, in some cases, to release them to their native habitats.

In recent years, Hanwell Zoo has seen particular success with the Mindanao bleeding-heart dove, whose numbers may be as low as 1,500 in the wild. And the hope is that, one day, large numbers will be able to be released in the wild in the Philippines.

Councillor Bassam Mahfouz, Ealing Council’s cabinet member for finance and leisure said: “Hanwell Zoo is rightly known as a fantastic family day out with both adults and children falling in love with the place - but it’s also worth remembering the vital conservation and education work also undertaken.

“I am extremely delighted that these efforts have been rewarded with BIAZA gold award. It’s incredibly well-deserved recognition for the zoo’s role in helping conserve some of the globe’s rarest animals and birds alongside the educational work it undertakes - working with young people to help them learn and be inspired by these creatures.

“I would like to thank the superb team at Hanwell Zoo for their incredible work and congratulate them on this achievement.

“There are so many reasons to come to Hanwell Zoo this summer and I encourage families to plan a visit and see the wonderful animals for themselves."

Zookeeper Beau-Jensen McCubbin has played an important role in the project along with his colleagues. He said: “Equitable practices in conservation education is an emerging field and to be recognised for our efforts on a national level is very humbling. The recognition and admiration we’re receiving for our work shows how the topic’s importance is being taken seriously.

“As an industry, zoos’ conservation messages are often only heard by those who are privileged enough to visit one. Our conservation education programme on equity ensures that these messages and experiences are accessible and understood by as many as possible.”

Dr Kirsten Pullen of BIAZA said, “Our annual awards ceremony recognises excellence in the work being carried out by our zoos and aquariums as well as our associate members.

“Our community is committed to conservation, education, research, and having the highest levels of animal welfare and this is highlighted by the incredibly high standard of award submissions this year.”

Visit Hanwell Zoo’s website for details on admission and opening times.