Founded in 1972 as the Marwell Preservation Trust, the organisation began life as a conservation breeding centre with the purpose of saving endangered species from extinction and in the hope of one day returning them to the wild.
With the park established, Marwell became instrumental in the formation of cooperative breeding programmes for threatened species in Europe, began formal education activities and supporting in situ conservation financially and by contributing animals for reintroduction projects.
Marwell appointed its first scientific staff and started direct involvement in field conservation in the UK and in Africa. This included further contributions to species reintroductions, but also an important move towards habitat restoration initiatives.
Having established a portfolio of conservation projects, Marwell began developing the capacity and capability to maintain and grow these interests. At this point, a more holistic approach to wildlife conservation, research, education and sustainability was adopted. By the end of the decade, the organisation was re-branded as Marwell Wildlife to reflect its new mission.
By this time, conservation projects had been established for over a decade in the UK, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Tunisia, and Marwell expanded its horizons. A new Conservation Framework was adopted recognising the need to adapt to a rapidly changing world.