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Twycross Zoo receives award for vaccinating endangered apes

Twycross Zoo is the only Zoo in the UK to house all four great apes.

Twycross Zoo has received a BIAZA Bronze Award for excellence in ‘Animal Husbandry, Care and Breeding’.

The team have been recognised for their work in administering a programme of influenza vaccinations to its bonobo group, to help protect and improve their health and wellbeing.

Bonobos are susceptible to many of the same diseases as humans, including the influenza virus and so to protect the apes a programme of influenza vaccination was introduced.

Dr Rebecca Biddle, Director of Conservation at Twycross Zoo, said: “We’re delighted to receive this award in recognition of our bonobo care and husbandry programme. As a conservation charity and Zoo, we’re incredibly proud of our work in helping to protect and preserve the four great apes – including bonobos – which are currently listed as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list.

“This important programme has had an extremely positive impact on preventative health in our bonobo group, with a marked reduction in respiratory disease which is so encouraging to see. The health and welfare of all our animals is of upmost importance and we’re committed to delivering best-in-class husbandry and care, including preventative health care strategies such as these, to ensure that we can protect these endangered species for future generations.”

In 2019/2020 11 bonobos were vaccinated, in 2020/2021 there were seven and then in 2021/2022, a total of 23 animals were vaccinated including 11 bonobos, eight chimpanzees and five gorillas.

Twycross Zoo is the only Zoo in the UK, and one of only four worldwide, to house all four great apes – gorilla, orangutan, chimpanzee and bonobo.

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