Posted on 11 July 2018
Merrist Wood College has recently been granted a zoo license, allowing it to share its collection of rare and exotic animals with the wider community.
The College’s Animal Management Centre was opened in 2016 and includes arid and tropical biomes and a nocturnal room, which houses a wide variety of species. The Centre provides a state-of-the-art learning environment for students, which enables animals to be studied and cared for in a more natural environment.
At present the College has opened their Animal Management Centre for general open events, however the new zoo license will allow the Centre to be opened to the local community at weekends and school holidays, offering a range of activities including guided tours, seasonal events, animal experiences, birthday parties and more. This will enable the College to educate visitors on subjects such as conservation, breeding projects and bio-diversity. The license will also cover the new Education Centre which will offer a wide range of curriculum subjects for school visits, and other educational groups.
This move is a natural step forward for the Animal Management Centre and will allow the College’s animal collection to diversify as a result. The aim is to introduce further rare and exotic species, allowing students and visitors to develop their understanding of important conservation issues and animal husbandry.
The College actively contributes to research and training through its range of animal management qualifications, available from entry level to degree level. It has strong links within the industry and a track record of successfully breeding wild animals, including endangered species. Since 2013 the College has successfully bred 25 native red squirrels as a result of a national conservation breeding project. Foundation degrees in Wildlife and Conservation, and Zoo Management actively focus on conservation and research projects, and the license will allow students to further develop their skills by offering them real-life work experience.
Animal Collection Manager and Lecturer, Luke Gates-Roberts, commented: “This gives us a fantastic opportunity to showcase the work of our team and students. We will be inspiring the next generation with a passion for the natural world and developing the skillset of those about to embark on their future careers.”
Associate Principal of Merrist Wood College, Richard Dewing, said: “We are really pleased to have obtained our license which will enrich the learning opportunities of our students, and the local community. Staff have worked hard to ensure that the criteria for the license has been met to the highest standard. This is an exciting time for Merrist Wood College.”
For more information about Animal Management, please visit the subject area page or call the Advice and Guidance Team on 01483 88 40 40. For information regarding tours and parties please visit www.merristwoodevents.co.uk.