In many respects Conservation & Research are inseparable; this is especially true here at the Zoo. Our research programs are aimed to support the betterment of wildlife in captivity or to assist conservation efforts in the wild.
Zoos can provide an opportunity to conduct research that may not be possible in the wild (or “in the field” as biologists would say). Many times experiments can be conducted by observing how animals behave or by collecting samples during routine veterinary care. For example, by carefully monitoring the growth and development of a polar bear cub in a Zoo, we can learn how much food it will take to raise a healthy cub in the wild. The only way to do this in the field would be to follow a mom and cub around on the ice for two to three years, which would be very difficult!
Although research has been conducted at the Zoo in the past, it has only been recently that a department of Conservation & Research has been established to actively conduct research and to support visiting researchers. Researchers at the International Polar Bear Conservation Centre (IPBCC) are engaged in a number of exciting and valuable research projects that will continue to expand our collective knowledge and understanding of the amazing animals with whom we share our planet!