The Zoological Education Centre (ZEC) at Shuttleworth College is saving rare species by breeding them in captivity.
The latest additions are two tiny Indian star tortoises (Geochelone Elegans) which were hatched at the world-class centre near Biggleswade, Bedfordshire.
The purpose-built animal welfare centre includes a tropical biome with alligators and more, outdoor areas for creatures like emus (one of the closest relatives of dinosaurs) and in total, a representative of every family of animal on the planet.
ZEC curator(and Bedfordshire’s answer to David Attenborough) Carl Groombridge is an enthusiast and educator who has inspired a generation of young people to take up careers in conservation.
On his team now is former student turned staff member Chloe Hancock, herself born and bred in Biggleswade. She spotted the first tiny tortoise helping itself to food in the adult enclosure.
“To say we are over the moon is an understatement as these tortoises are an International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) threatened species. So this is exactly the sort of work we want to be doing here and showing our students,” said Carl.
They also have two new baby Tenrecs – Madagascan “hedgehogs” who need names.
“We are always looking to welcome local schools and groups like scouts and guides to visit us to they can see this world class facility right here in Bedfordshire,” added Carl,
“So anyone who can come up with names for the newbies we would be grateful.”
A unique identity
Any schools interested in visiting the ZEC can contact Chloe on: firstname.lastname@example.org
Shuttleworth College is part of The Bedford College Group, but retains its unique identity as a farming and outdoor education environment, and centre of global conservation via the ZEC.
If you are interested in a career caring for animals in this specialised setting then contact Carl on: email@example.com
“Post-Covid many people are reconsidering their lives and work, this is a wonderful place to be of part of something very special.”