Newquay Zoo

Newquay’s Gem – Aviary Development at Newquay Zoo

Wild Planet Trust - Newquay Zoo - 17th Sep, 2019

Southeast Asian songbirds are threatened by the unsustainable caged bird trade. Captive breeding of these species and raising awareness of their plight are thus important conservation priorities. Building on previous experience in Newquay Zoo and other institutions, the zoo therefore constructed a custom-built, mixed-species aviary with in-built management facilities: Gems of the Jungle (“Gems”). Here, they aimed to enhance captive management and breeding, highlight the plight of birds affected by the trade while enhancing visitor experience, complete construction in-house to minimise costs and foster team pride, and increase space within other aviaries to house additional species. These aims were achieved, with Gems currently housing 134 individuals of 29 species, including 4 IUCN threatened species. Aided by the bespoke, in-built management facilities, high breeding success was achieved, with a total 177 births in 2017-18, 41 of which were from threatened species, including 23 from the Critically Endangered blue-crowned laughingthrush. Gems’ creation has also enabled Newquay Zoo to become one of only four European institutions to house the Critically Endangered Javan green magpie, from which they hope to breed in the future. Important lessons have also been learned regarding the breeding of other species, e.g. enhanced blue-crowned hanging parrot breeding through keeping in large flocks. Through ongoing sharing of their experiences, Newquay Zoo hope that this exhibit’s success and lessons learned will help enhance design of, plus management and breeding of birds in, mixed-species zoo aviaries. The project was submitted for the BIAZA Exhibits Award category 2019 and won a Gold award.

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