About Us

Marwell Staff photo


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.


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Penguin Face to Face

This experience was something I’ve always dreamt of doing but never thought I’d be able to. The staff made it such an enjoyable time, answered all my questions, and were there with me every step of the way if I needed them. And of course, special thanks to all the penguins… Read full reviewBeth, 23rd January 2020


Our Partners

British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums
British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums
European Association of Zoos and Aquaria
Hampshire Top Attractions
Hampshire Top Attractions
IUNC Species Survival
IUCN Species Survival

Our Accreditations

Visit England
Visit England
Trip Advisor
Trip Advisor

Status & Governance

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.

  • David Stalker, CIMSPA (Chairman)
  • Frank McCaffrey, BA(Hons) (Vice Chairman)
  • Mark Charter, FALA, CLA
  • Teresa Frost
  • Pete Jakob, BSc, CIM
  • Christopher Langford MRICS FAAV
  • David Pape, MSc,MCIEEM
  • Nicola Robinson, VetMB, MRCVS
  • Miranda Stevenson, OBE, BA, PhD, MBA
  • Diane Walkington
  • Andrew Warren

Trustees' report and financial statements for the year ended 31 December 2019.


The Chief Executive of Marwell Wildlife is James Cretney.

James Cretney MBA, Ph.D.

James joined Marwell as Chief Executive in 2005 and has over 17 years experience in leading not-for-profit organisations.

Key Responsibilities

  • Developing the long-term strategy for the zoo. The supporting annual business plans are geared towards growing our surplus and supporting the delivery of our charitable objectives. The strategy extends from the development of new and existing programmes for our animal collection, education programmes, and commercial services to fundraising and innovative marketing.
  • Leading and motivating the Executive team and all employees, encouraging initiative, ownership and responsibility.
  • Being the ambassador and spokesperson for Marwell Wildlife in both zoological and wider arenas.
  • Leading and furthering the charitable and commercial objectives of Marwell Wildlife.

Why is Marwell special to you?

Marwell is a unique place run by unique and talented individuals. The work that it does and the story it has to tell is of the utmost importance . By working here I can help shape Marwell's contribution to the wider issues of global biodiversity and our response to the challenges that will face us and generations to come.

....he is supported by the Executive team who are:

Tim Woodfine - BSc (Hons), Ph.D. - Director of Conservation

Tim has over-arching responsibility for Marwell's charitable delivery including local and international wildlife conservation programmes, sustainability, education and public engagement, care of the plants and animal collection, and scientific outputs across these disciplines. With a background in environmental science and biodiversity management, he is Visiting Professor of Wildlife Conservation at the University of Southampton, a member of the IUCN Species Survival Commission and the IUCN Commission on Education & Communication, and has governance and advisory roles with a number of other non-governmental organisations.

Jo Deller MSc, Assoc CIPD – HR Director

HR professional with a track record of delivering successful HR outcomes.

My role is to enable our Managers to successfully manage their teams; to ensure appropriate capacity and capability exists within our business; to consistently promote, encourage and support a culture where employees are consulted, recognised and rewarded accordingly.

Sean Mannie – Commercial Director

Over 30 years experience in commercial and operational management, many of them spent in national museums, including the Royal Armouries at HM Tower of London.

With responsibility for a wide remit including generating income from commercial activities and delivering outstanding service to our guests, I am also qualified in Project and Risk Management disciplines.

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.

Our history

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 - 950 to 1972

The history of Marwell (950 to 1972)

Marwell Zoo - 1972 - 2011

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

Gender Pay Gap

Gender Pay Gap 

At Marwell Wildlife (“Marwell”), we take our responsibility to ensure fair and equal pay for all of our employees very seriously.  As standard, we undertake annual salary reviews and benchmarking exercises, collating data from a variety of source material including zoo industry surveys, 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 we, where possible, align ourselves with those who exhibit best practice. 

As at 5 April 2018, Marwell Wildlife employed 316 individuals (209 female / 107 male). Of those 278 were deemed “Full Pay Relevant Employees” by Gender Pay gap definition.


At the “snapshot date”, all employees were paid a minimum of £7.83 per hour or the salaried equivalent. This was reviewed again in October 2018 and we now pay £8.21 as a minimum (Apprentices excluded).  These increases are in line with our strategy to commit to National Living Wage standards by 2020. 

Marwell is reporting a Gender Pay Gap of 15.3% by mean and 2.9% by median and we would like to note some key facts; 

  • we have a significantly higher number of female to male employees - especially at team member level which tend to attract lower rates of pay
  • the ratio of male to female employees across the remaining roles is more balanced with the exception of Director level where the ratio is 4:1 due to recent changes in the structure of the organisation
  • 42% of our workforce work part time, the majority of which are female – reflective of the wider UK economy
  • 22% of our workforce are employed on a ‘traditional’ Monday to Friday pattern and we recognise the value placed on flexible working arrangements from our employees
  • 11% of our workforce opted to engage with us on a zero hour contract


We do not have a Bonus Pay gender pay gap. 

Bonuses are non-contractual and do not occur every year.  Should we pay a bonus to our employees, the % paid is equal for all staff regardless of grade or gender and is proportionate to hours worked.    

Gender split by Quartile







Upper Middle



Lower Middle






 Next Steps

As we enter year 4 of a 5 year strategic people plan, focused on the provision of an effective, fair and supportive framework for all of the unique individuals who contribute to our success, we will continue to use all data sources available to us, to further reduce the gender pay gap within our organisation.  

Joanne Deller

HR Director


Where next?

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

Explore Marwell Zoo