The highest priorities in our park are awarded to Education and Conservation but understand that for both of these to cover all aspects of their respective fields it is important to try and engage our staff in conducting research within the park. This can be done by either supporting their own research interests should such arise or through allowing them to support outside organisations.
We do not give any funding or staff hours towards the advancement of research at our park and will continue with this policy at present whilst we continue to grow the husbandry, education and conservation aspects of the park. As we move forward however we will plan to free up more resources and hours to be able to commit more towards research both with the animals which we work with and in any in-situ applications.
We do however allow outside researchers to gain access to our facilities to carry out research with our animal collection or data sets. Before, during and after the completion of a research project carried out in conjunction with Sandwich Wildlife Park we do have a number of conditions which need to be complied with:
We are more than happy to extend as much help as possible to any such work to be carried out at the park and strive to get more involved with research. We understand the responsibility and requirement of modern zoos to do such research to try and further our understanding of the animals which we work with. For a park of our size it is difficult to find dedicated research staff and as such the option to allow outside access is the most viable solution to encouraging research to be carried out at the park.
There is however one type of research which our staff are actively encouraged to engage in, which does not require any formal research training and which will not be published to journals etc. However, they can be very useful tools when working with other zoos who may have the same challenges as us. We encourage staff to observe and document any challenging moves and acquisitions etc. which we may have with the animal collection.
Any such reports can be submitted by staff to the wider zoo and public community through the use of the Wingham Wildlife Park keepers blog which can be found on the official website of Wingham Wildlife Park, our sister site. This resource is freely available and a great way for our staff to get their first experiences of contributing to the wider animal care and conservation community.
We feel that for the resources which we currently have available to us, we are making the most positive contribution which we can to the research world and as such are able to fulfill our duty to not necessarily carry out a vast amount of our own research but to make our animal collection and numerous years of animal data available in a controlled manner to people who may benefit from such access.
We understand the importance of zoological collections in the field of wildlife research when compared to actually studying the animals in the field. Especially with well adapted animals it is possible to bridge the gap between these two situations allowing us to find out more about the habits of animals in a captive setting, to see what they are doing on a 24-hour basis in some cases, and to see how they adapt to changing conditions – something which is becoming increasingly important as natural habitats continue to disappear and change. However, the research which can be carried out in zoological collections does not limit its applications to conservation, but instead we can, with the help of researchers, continue to improve husbandry techniques and standards for ourselves and others.
If you would like to be considered for carrying out a research project at Sandwich Wildlife Park, please complete the form below for consideration by our ethical review committee: