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Ranger Stu's Virtual Zoo - Week 13 - What Zoos Do!

Updated: Jan 5, 2021

Its Week 13 of Ranger Stu's Virtual Zoo, this week we are looking at my favourite of topics... zoos!

This topic is very close to my heart as I am a director of a small zoo in Hertfordshire named Cedars Nature Centre. This is where all of the wonderful animals that come with me to my school visits and animal parties live!

The best thing about having a zoo and being open to the public is that you can visit and see the wonderful conditions and welfare standards that our animals are kept in for yourself!

You can find out more about Cedars Nature Centre on the website link below.

As usual on Wednesday I will be posting a video on my YouTube channel (subscribe here!). We will be learning about the 3 most important parts of modern zoos and throwing in some amazing zoo facts!

What is a modern zoo?

Unlike zoos of 50 years ago, the modern zoo is not about how many single animals you can keep in one place but about conserving animals and educating the public about the natural world!

This is done in three main ways conservation, education and research.


Zoos must take part in conservation, this can be as simple as breeding animals and sharing information with each other to setting up international breeding programmes, protecting habitats and paying conservationists to work in the natural habitat.

Zoos raise millions of £'s for conservation projects each year in almost every country on the planet!

Some breeding programs have had amazing successes and animals that were extinct in the wild (only found in zoos) have been bred in zoos and then rereleased into the wild again! Without zoos these species would be entirely extinct!

(Find out more about this in our KS1+2 task below)


I think one of the most important jobs for zoos to do is to educate the public!

As you know education is a massive passion of mine and everything Ranger Stu does revolves around education!

Zoos must provide an educational part of their visit and most zoos would say this is the most important part of a zoo. Many zoos run educational events onsite at the zoo and offsite at schools, they put on daily talks and meet and greets and have special events throughout the year celebrating wildlife.


Every year thousands of research projects are under taken by students at zoos. It could be anything from studying animals breeding behaviour to improving an animals welfare. Some zoos support students to study in the wild alongside the zoos own conservationists.

Many students have discovered information about zoo animals that we would not have known without studying them in depth if in the wild!

Believe it or not, the picture below was taken by me in a UK zoo, a bison at the Highland Wildlife Park. I personally think it is the most picturesque zoo in the UK!

EYFS - Animal Hand Prints

Here is a fun activity, all you need is some paint, paper and some pencils.

Create a zoo animal from your hand print!

First paint the palm of your hand or press your hand into paint (we squirted some onto a plate and dipped our palm into it). Then press it onto a blank piece of paper as many times as you like.

Once dry you can turn your hand print into almost any animal you like, see what your hand print pattern resembles and get creative!

Draw over the hand print with a pencil, add some eyes or a beak, add a branch to hold on to or even colour in the background and create an entire zoo!

Here is some inspiration below from a 2 year old, 6 year old and 32 year old!

KS1 and KS2- Conservation Poster!

Choose an endangered species which was previously extinct in the wild.

Research as much as you can about them, find out why they became extinct, which zoos kept them and how those zoos created conservation programmes which lead to that species being reintroduced into the wild!

Then take all of that knowledge and create a conservation poster.

Why not draw a picture of the animal or add a map about where that animal lived.

Here is a handy list of animals that were only found in zoos and were extinct in the wild.

Arabian Oryx

Black-footed Ferret

Californian Condor

Hawaiian Crow

Guam Rail

Mauritius Kestrel

Partula Snails

Pere David's Deer

Przewalski's Horse

Zoos and conservation projects worked together to create the correct habitat, breed a large number in captivity and finally rerelease those animals back into the wild!

How amazing is that!

If you would like to share pictures of your conservation posters or hand print animals then you can post pictures of your activities to my Facebook and Instagram or you can post them in the comments section below.

Enjoy, take care and stay safe.

Ranger Stu

Want to enjoy more Ranger Stu content?

Why not take a look at Ranger Stu's Virtual Zoo, live animals visiting your classroom, scout group or organisation virtually!

The great thing about Ranger Stu’s Virtual Zoo is that this can take place at any school or educational group within the U.K. or even the world!

Find out more on the link below and get in touch today for availability and pricing.

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