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Help make our birthday wish come true!

May 22, 2024

Scimitar horned oryx- at Marwell Zoo through bush

It’s our birthday and there’s only one thing on our wish list as we celebrate 52 years of conserving rare and endangered species at Marwell Zoo.

As part of this year’s Love Your Zoo Week (Saturday 25 May to Sunday 2 June) we’re thrilled to announce that we have an opportunity to make history and create a World Scimitar-horned Oryx Day.

But we need the help of guests, members and scimitar-horned oryx fans to help make our birthday wish come true.

The British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) invited zoos and aquariums to nominate an overlooked animal for a world awareness day in the run up to Love Your Zoo Week.

At Marwell Zoo, we nominated scimitar-horned oryx. These previously Extinct in the Wild antelope are noted for their long, curved horns that resemble curved swords know as scimitars.

We’ve worked with these impressive animals for more than 50 years, contributing to them being downgraded from Extinct in the Wild to Endangered, so we think they’re a shoe-in for an annual awareness day.

Tania Gilbert, Head of Conservation Science, said: “Our work with scimitar-horned oryx is an example of the real impact zoos can and do have in protecting the most at risk species from extinction.

“Having previously been declared Extinct in the Wild, scimitar-horned oryx are a real beacon of hope for at risk species. Their reintroduction to the wild demonstrate how, by working together, we can help the world’s most at risk animals to thrive in the wild again.”

During Love your Zoo Week, which coincides with May half-term we’ll be asking guests to vote via BIAZA’s social media channels to help scimitar-horned oryx get the recognition they deserve.

We’ll also be hosting a range of talks, activities and sessions to enable everyone visiting the zoo to show their love for all things Marwell.

Love Your Zoo Week is an annual nationwide week-long event led by the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA). It hopes to promote the important work zoos contribute to nature conservation, education and research.

Zoo guests will be able to take part in animal-themed craft sessions and show their love by jotting down their favourite things about Marwell Zoo then hanging them on our Wishing Tree for everyone to see.

Check the free Marwell Zoo app for keeper led talks and feeds, plus, see new arrivals such as Warjun the snow leopard, the newest red river hoglet, a tiny cotton-top tamarin baby and the latest Przewalski’s horse arrivals in the valley field.

Experience soap box science in action as our current cohort of MRes students demonstrate what they’ve been working on plus our vets and animal teams will be talking guests through welfare training and how we look after our animal residents.

Plus, on Monday 27 May we’re opening our Science and Learning Centre with a chance for guests to explore animal skulls and illegal wildlife products that have been confiscated at customs.

Senior Events Manager, Nicky Cole, said: “Love your Zoo week is a lovely opportunity to celebrate what makes Marwell Zoo such a well-loved family day out.

“Generations of families have enjoyed making memories here over the years and we’re looking forward to meeting lots of them during Love Your Zoo week.”

Children are encouraged to don their favourite animal costume, ears or tail, capture the perfect selfie and tag Marwell Zoo online with #Loveyourzoo.

Café Graze will be selling limited edition “Love Your Zoo” biscuits alongside a wide range of food and drink with stunning views.

There will also be animal themed facepainting on Marwell Hall Drive on Tuesday 28, Wednesday 29 and Thursday 30 May.

Additional charges apply for the craft activity and facepainting, where guests can turn up to the activity and pay on the day.

As always, don’t forget to dress for the weather and keep your eyes peeled on the zoo’s social media channels for the chance to win an awesome zoo prize.

What will your favourite thing about Love Your Zoo week be?