Anna Francis

Amphibians, the rise and demise?

Amphibians are in trouble, 1/3 of the 7,000 described species are threatened with extinction. ZSL has a diverse amphibian collection which has historically been displayed in a very traditional manner with a row of uniform tanks, minimal interpretation and poor climate control which restricted the range of species that could be maintained. ZSL is extremely active in the field and is involved in various in situ initiatives with amphibians; this information was not available to zoo visitors.

In October 2012 we opened a new amphibian exhibit, which features 11 enclosures housing 12 species of amphibian and fish. The focus was to create an engaging, high quality exhibit with a strong narrative to educate people about amphibians and inspire them whilst illustrating the conservation efforts of ZSL with amphibians. Visitors are talked through the story of the amphibians from evolution, taxonomic diversity, adaptability, threatened status and ultimately what ZSL is doing in response to global amphibian declines. As a result visitor dwell time increased in this area we have demonstrated that visitors engage with the interpretation and leave knowing more about the plight of amphibians and what they can do to assist in conservation efforts.

Animal welfare has been improved, what was previously a long corridor off show has now been split into three different rooms each with a separate climate control unit,  as a result amphibians with very different temperature requirements can be maintained and exhibited at the highest standard.

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