The Zoological Education Centre (ZEC), complete with tropical biome, based at Shuttleworth College is a unique facility offering students aged 16 and upwards the chance to work with animals and even play their part in saving endangered species.
To offer the exclusive education provision that prepares students to work in zoos or conservation projects around the world, the ZEC has to have a “zoo” licence so that those at the Old Warden setting can be trained to internationally recognised standards. But the ZEC is not a “zoo” in the sense of a public attraction and will be for education and conservation only.
With species ranging from alligators and turtles to exotic birds and amphibians the staff and students studying at the ZEC liaise closely with the zoo industry for the conservation of endangered species.
The ZEC provides a safe setting for animals and those working with them via strict biosecurity, pest control and specialist hygiene fittings and procedures.
When taking in animals, the ZEC has a dedicated veterinary and isolation unit which is Defra Balai Directive-approved. The ZEC works closely with the Cambridge Veterinary Group and internationally with other institutions who are part of the Species 360.
All animal husbandry is managed 365 days of the year with controls in place across all animal centres at the College for bio security.
Carl Groombridge, Animal Centre Manager and the man behind this marvellous facility said: “Everything we do here is to meet the global demand for species conservation and to train people to support that world wild life aim. The ZEC is preparing the future teams who will be saving animals from extinction. This is a unique training environment.”
Shuttleworth College is part of The Bedford College Group. The ZEC opened to students prior to Covid in March 2020. Staff have been continuing to work on-site during lockdowns as this considered an essential service.