About us

Our mission is to conserve biodiversity and other natural resources, both locally and internationally – but we rely on the support of thousands to bring it to life!

We engage with over 40,000 children and young people through our conservation educational programmes, and welcome over 500,000 visitors each year to our 140 acre zoological park. In every contact we seek to encourage understanding, and inspire care for the natural world. In essence, we aim to connect people with nature.

Our team of Conservation Biologists run field programmes in the UK & Africa in partnership with communities, statutory agencies and other non-governmental organizations. Find out which species we’re working with and the positive, sustainable impacts we’re making on our conservation website.


Modern Slavery Policy

Ethical Sourcing Policy

Carbon Reduction Plan

Marwell Wildlife Environmental Policy

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With regard to its legal status, Marwell Wildlife is a Company Limited by Guarantee. The Governing Body of the charity is a Board of Trustees. New trustees are elected by the Board following a recruitment process and applicants are sought from a combination of advertised vacancies and executive search. Trustees are appointed for an initial three-year term and thereafter are eligible for reappointment for further three-year terms subject to a maximum of four three-year terms.

The Board normally meet five times a year to review strategy and performance and is helped in its work by the following Trustee led committees: Audit & Risk; Capital Expenditure; Conservation (including animal collection, biodiversity, education and sustainability); Commercial; Ethics; HR & Remuneration and Marketing. Committees do not have executive authority but are chaired by a Trustee. Committees have their own terms of reference and provide linkage back to the main board and support for senior management of the charity in their work. Further to the requirement laid down by the Charity Commission regarding the reporting and understanding of public benefit, Marwell’s activities and ongoing strategies are tested against the overall aims and objectives of the organisation to satisfy Trustees that our work is relevant and accords with our overall charitable endeavour. Day-to-day management is delegated to the Chief Executive and his Executive Team.


We are governed by a Board of Trustees who bring relevant experiences and skill sets as determined by a regular skills audit of the Board, from which recruitment is driven. These sectors currently include, for example: business; media; academia; conservation; education and land management.

  • Frank McCaffrey (Chairman)
  • Mark Charter, FALA (Fellow of Agricultural Law Association), CLA
  • Jacky Wearn
  • James Bailey
  • Simon Tonge
  • Naomi Mellor
  • Andrew Warren, FCA, MBA
  • Diane Walkington, BSc (Hons)
  • Adrian Neal

Conservation Governance

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We’re thrilled to announce the appointment of Laura Read as Chief Executive of Marwell Wildlife.

Laura will take up her new role in March 2024 and is looking forward to getting back to her conservation roots having originally graduated with a BSc in Biological Sciences from the University of Warwick.

Laura Read

Laura has 20 years of experience in leadership roles within the destination management, retail, hospitality and events sectors and is joining Marwell from Westquay Shopping Centre where she is currently Destination Director.

Laura is also Chair of Southampton Forward, the city’s cultural trust, which aims to enhance the region through cultural activations, festivals and events and tourism.

Learn more about our new Chief Executive.

….she will be supported by a team of Directors who are:

Jo Deller Chartered MCIPD, FInstLM – People & Services Director

A Chartered member of the CIPD and a Fellow of the Institute of Leadership and Management with 25 years’ experience in People development and management.

Jo joined Marwell in 2015 and holds responsibility for 4 key strategic areas of the organisation – HR, IT, Finance and Infrastructure.

In her capacity as People & Services Director and reporting the Chief Executive, Jo ensures the continuous development of our vibrant organizational culture, the inclusivity and equity of our workplace, the strengthening of park infrastructure and an integrated operational approach.

Sean Mannie – Commercial Director

With a career spanning commercial, public and charitable sectors, Sean has been Commercial Director at Marwell Wildlife since 2012, after holding the senior management role at the Royal Armouries Museums at HM Tower of London and Fort Nelson in Hampshire.

Responsibilities at Marwell cover a wide remit including commercial strategy, guest operations, marketing, communications and fundraising. As a qualified practitioner in Project Management and Management of Risk disciplines, Sean is also responsible for organisational Risk Management, including emergency planning and business continuity.

Externally, Sean is the founding and current Chair of BIAZA’s Commercial & Guest Service Working Group and Vice-Chair of the BIAZA Mission Enabling Committee. He also regularly writes a blog for Blooloop.com on the business and operational aspects of running a zoo and is the industry expert on recreation and commercial aspects, supporting delivery of the Zoo Keeper & Aquarist Apprenticeship Course at the National Zoo Academy, based at Sparsholt College in Winchester.

Will Justice BVSc MSc MBA MRCVS – Animal Care Director

A qualified veterinary surgeon for nearly 20 years, Will completed a Masters degree in Wild Animal Health in 2007 and worked in exotic animal referral practice before becoming a full time zoo veterinarian for 7 years. During this time, Will provided first opinion veterinary care for the animals at Marwell and also worked on various aspects of Conservation Medicine, including advising on the health of managed wildlife populations and health screening for wildlife reintroductions. In 2015, Will was appointed a Teaching Fellow in Zoo and Wildlife Medicine at the University of Surrey’s School of Veterinary Medicine alongside his role at Marwell. Finishing his teaching role in 2016, he continues to work closely with academics at the University as an honorary Research Fellow.

Since 2017 Will has focused on managing the animal care, veterinary and horticultural teams at Marwell, completing a part-time MBA in 2021. His research interests include animal welfare assessment in captive and free-living wildlife and he has authored/co-authored several journal articles and book chapters on various topics, including animal welfare assessment, zoo animal medicine and animal handling.

Professor Philip Riordan B.Sc. (Hons), M.Sc. (Dist), PhD – Conservation Director

Phil joined Marwell in 2016 and has worked as a conservationist in U.K. and overseas for over 25 years in research, policy, and delivery.

Phil is currently Visiting Professor in University of Southampton, Visiting Professor at Beijing Forestry University, UN Expert with the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS); the UNEP Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

As Director of Conservation, Phil leads Marwell’s UK and overseas programmes, inspiring people around the world to engage with conservation issues and seek solutions to the biodiversity and climate crisis we face.

Organisational structure by function

The downloadable diagram below illustrates the functional layout of our organisation and the current reporting structure which takes its inspiration from our strategy.

About – Structure

Executive remuneration policy

Marwell Wildlife Organisational Chart 2023

About – Collection Management

Ethics Policy and Procedure

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Marwell was founded by John Knowles in 1972. The organisation began as Marwell Preservation Trust with more specific goals of protecting and breeding endangered species through the operation of Marwell Zoological Park set in the heart of the Hampshire countryside near Winchester.

Our activities evolved and diversified rapidly during the subsequent decades in accordance with the emerging multidisciplinary science of conservation biology, and increasing global awareness of the importance of biodiversity for human wellbeing.

With these changes and a growing portfolio of conservation and education programmes, it became increasingly evident that we needed to articulate our contributions as a diverse, holistic and internationally active conservation charity. At the same time, we recognised the need to enhance the profile of the park, which remains our principal means of engaging the public and galvanising support for our charitable endeavour.

On 1 April 2009, Marwell Preservation Trust / Marwell Zoological Park became ‘Marwell Wildlife’ with a brand promise of connecting people with nature that now resonates throughout the organisation’s work. Marwell Wildlife operates and runs Marwell Zoo in Hampshire.

Marwell Zoo – 950 – 1972

The history of Marwell (950 to 1972)

Marwell Zoo – 1972 – 2011

Browse the history of Marwell Zoo (1972 – 2011).

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Gender Pay Gap 

As an employer of more than 250 people, we are required by law to publish our gender pay gap, both on the Government’s Gender Pay Gap reporting tool, and on our own website. In accordance with this, we are now publishing our latest report based on April 2023 data.

Gender Pay Gap is a measure of the difference in the average pay of women and men.

At Marwell Wildlife (“Marwell”), we take our responsibility to ensure fair pay for all our employees very seriously. As standard, we undertake regular salary reviews and benchmarking exercises. We collate data from a variety of source materials including the zoo industry, HR forums, benchmarking organisations, regional salary surveys and tourism groups.  In addition, we consider factors such as demographics, geographical location and local competition for talent and ensure that we, where possible, align ourselves with those who exhibit best practice.

As at 4 April 2023 we employed 242 individuals (162 female/80 male). Of those, 211 were deemed full pay relevant employees by Gender Pay Gap definition. Of these 211 individuals, 108 worked part time with 79 of these being female.

What the figures tell us:

Marwell is reporting a Gender Pay Gap of 12.3% by mean and 9.4% by median. Key factors relating to this figure are that:

At the date the figures were compiled in April 2023, all employees were paid at least the national living wage (£10.42 per hour), or above.

In addition to this, primarily, we have a significantly higher number of female to male employees in roles at the lower end of our pay scales, which tend to attract lower rates of pay.

The ratio of male to females at Director level was 4:1 (4 male and 1 female Director) and this also impacts our gender pay gap figures.

However, at other levels of management the male to female ratio is much more even. For example, at our next most senior level of management, our Head of Department level, the ratio is 5:6 male/females.

We value the commitment of all our employees and fair pay is important to us, regardless of age or gender, all our employees are paid the same hourly rate for the same job role performed.

Bonus Gender Pay Gap

Bonuses are non-contractual and do not occur every year. Bonus payments were not made to any staff during the past year and therefore we are reporting a zero return for this.

Quartile Analysis
Quartile % Males % Females
Lower Quartile
29.1 70.9
Lower Middle Quartile
34.6 65.4
Upper Middle Quartile
42.4 57.6
Upper Quartile
37.1 62.9

66.94% of our employees are female and this is widely reflected in the quartile analysis above.

Next Steps:

We continue to actively support flexible working wherever possible. Work life balance at Marwell is important to us, and this is reflected in the high proportion of part time employees.

We are refreshing our recruitment & selection training both for external appointments and internal promotion opportunities, to ensure we continue to attract all gender types for our positions and that we continue to recruit fairly in accordance with experience and knowledge for role.

We shall continue to be committed to a fair pay policy for all.

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Where next? Visit the zoo to experience the magic first hand or support our work.

Explore Marwell Zoo