The Zoological Education Centre (ZEC) at Shuttleworth College, near Biggleswade, is now recognised as delivering the highest standards of training in the British Isles.
Curator Carl Groombridge and his team are celebrating the centre winning full membership of the British and Irish Association for Zoos and Aquaria (BIAZA).
“This not an easy thing to achieve, it has taken us four years to prove that we are providing the very best standards of training to meet the demands of industry, and as a result we are collaborating with the best zoo collections across the UK,”
said Carl who heads up a professional team of staff at the centre at Old Warden Park.
Making a real difference
They in turn train students age 16 and upwards who hope to work in animal welfare, go in to veterinary work, be employed in zoos and collections or on conservation projects across the world.
“It starts with the basics, which is keeping animal enclosures and environments clean and free of contamination, includes helping prepare meals for animals with exotic tastes, and progresses on to breeding programmes where we have actually helped produce some offspring of rare species which are under threat of extinction.
“This is real conservation work, making a real difference to animals in the wild. Students must know it does involve getting your hands dirty but also requires serious study about the science behind the needs of the variety of species we have here,” added Carl.
The £4 Million ZEC brings the Amazon and the Australian Outback to Bedfordshire
The ZEC brings the Amazon and the Outback to the Shuttleworth College campus, transporting students to the wild to create a truly immersive experience, allowing students to engage with the modern learning environment and develop hands-on skills with a range of species.
The ZEC is one of the only of its kind, within a further education setting, to offer a state-of-the-art tropical biome which houses a wide variety of species – including birds, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals – in environments that replicate their natural habitat.