Marwell’s 50th anniversary!

We’re celebrating our 50th birthday! That’s 50 years of conservation and sustainability efforts and educating the next generation to take care of the natural world we all share.

Marwell’s story

Visit our 50th anniversary interpretation display from 26 May opposite the exit to Fur, Feather and Scales to find out more about Marwell’s story so far, our charitable impacts through the years and how you can help us make a difference.

From our early beginnings as a breeding centre for endangered species, Marwell has evolved into a more holistic conservation organisation focussing on the restoration of species and ecosystems, promoting sustainable living and catalysing changes needed to improve the fortunes of people, wildlife and the wider environment.

In the last 50 years, the human population grew from 3.7 billion to 7.8 billion people. In the next 50 years, there may be 10 billion people sharing our planet and experiencing ever more rapid changes in society. We are therefore facing unprecedented demand on biodiversity and other natural resources.

Whatever changes are around the corner, one thing is for sure – Marwell will continue to adapt to make a difference and will remain a place to enjoy and learn about nature while supporting our work in the wider world!

Queen’s Award for Enterprise: Sustainable Development

Her Majesty the Queen has given Marwell the royal seal of approval to our environmental commitments with a coveted award. The Queen’s Award for Enterprise: Sustainable Development will be presented to us at a reception hosted by HRH The Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace in the summer.

The award recognises our achievements in biodiversity conservation, education and sustainability, highlighting  our successes in reintroducing the extinct scimitar-horned oryx to its natural range in Tunisia solely from captive bred stock as well as our unique Energy for Life: Tropical House, which processes zoo animal waste for conversion into carbon neutral heat to power buildings around the zoo. Read more here.

Honouring our founder Dr John Knowles OBE

We have erected a monument in memory of our founder Dr John Knowles OBE. The standing stones were designed and created by internationally renowned designer and sculptor Gary Breeze, a contemporary artist revered for his memorial work. They take inspiration from the geology of Africa and, in particular, key species important to John and Marwell; the Grevy’s zebra and the reticulated giraffe.

John Knowles founded Marwell out of his dream to create Britain’s first zoological collection specifically for the breeding of endangered animal species.

Having purchased Marwell Hall and its 417 acre estate in September 1969, John opened the zoo to the public on 22 May 1972. His energy and tenacity prepared the way for zoo-conservation consortia, and led to the establishment of cooperative breeding programmes in Europe, a concept which is now central to modern-day captive breeding. Read more here.

Visit our Gift Shop

As an extra treat, our gift shop has launched a range of custom 50th anniversary items. These collectable items will be available from our main gift shop for a limited time and will feature a selection of pieces with various commemorative designs.

The collection will include keepsake items designed by our talented designer, such as a tea towel originally hand drawn in the 1980s, notebooks, and pens with a special 50th design inspired by our current branding and a variety of postcards featuring artwork over the years. Don’t forget each purchase made in our shop is a very welcome contribution to the care of our animals in the zoo and our conservation work around the world.

Scimitar Horned Oryx Oryx Dammah Marwell Zoo Hannah Pearce Scimitar Horned Oryx