CSS Ireland - Dublin Zoo
Launched in 2023, the Centre for Species Survival: Ireland is proudly hosted by Dublin Zoo and represents a formal partnership between Dublin Zoo and the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC). Working with key partners, from government bodies to local communities, the Centre aims to directly contribute to species conservation efforts in Ireland, while also uniting stakeholders and catalysing action for native Irish species, as encouraged by the IUCN SSC CPSG’s One Plan approach.
Supporting the Species Conservation
Over the last 20 years, Dublin Zoo has built partnerships with many Irish conservation organisations, such as Bat Rehabilitation Ireland and the Irish Peatland Conservation Council, providing support to help protect a range of native species and their habitats. For example, Dublin Zoo has been partnering with BirdWatch Ireland since 2012, helping undertake research and monitoring of raptors in Ireland. This initial partnership focused on a research, monitoring and conservation programme for barn owls (Tyto alba) over a three-year period (2012 – 2014). Since 2015, Dublin Zoo has provided further support to continue and expand the research and monitoring efforts for barn owls in Ireland, including the expansion of conservation and education initiatives. This work has achieved significant conservation successes both on a local scale, through protecting and safe-guarding traditional barn owl nest sites, as well as providing detailed insights on foraging behaviour and habitat use which have been used to inform policy, habitat management and the development of mitigation measures for roads. Barn owls are a Red-listed species in Ireland and Dublin Zoo is continuing our partnership with BirdWatch Ireland, expanding the monitoring efforts to new areas which have not previously been assessed.
Political Advocacy and Engagement
The global zoo and aquarium community can play many roles in biodiversity conservation, ranging from of breeding threatened species to engaging with their local and national governments. Over the last number of years, Dublin Zoo has been actively liaising with the Irish Government, highlighting the role of the ex situ community, and NGOs, in biodiversity conservation. This open and collaborative approach resulted in Dublin Zoo being invited to become a key stakeholder in the development of Ireland’s next National Biodiversity Action Plan (NBAP). This document, yet to be launched, now includes several actions which are directly attributed to Dublin Zoo, including the creation of the Centre for Species Survival: Ireland. In tandem, Dublin Zoo was also invited to chair a session at the National Biodiversity Conference, which formed part of the NBAP consultation and development process. This gave us the opportunity to highlight the role of ex situ conservation, and the potential of strategic partnerships with the IUCN SSC. Dublin Zoo has contributed to the recent Citizen’s Assembly on Biodiversity Loss and the development of the next National Invasive Alien Species Management Plan. This emerging role for zoos and aquariums to contribute to conservation is highlighted in the recently published “IUCN SSC Statement on the role of botanic gardens, aquariums, and zoos in species conservation”.
All-Ireland Pollinator Plan
Dublin Zoo’s 28-hectare site, located right in the heart of Dublin, provides excellent habitats for a wide variety of native species, ranging from birds to fish. Our extensive planting in particular supports a huge diversity of insects and pollinators. In Ireland, pollinators are in decline, with one-third of our wild bee species threatened with extinction. Ireland is home to over 100 different types of bee, and 180 hoverflies, which provide immeasurable services to our agricultural sector and ecosystems. To combat this loss, Dublin Zoo is part of the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan, an island-wide attempt to reverse declines in pollinating insects. Our involvement has included creating protected pollinator-friendly zones around the Zoo, which have been planted with Irish-sourced and native wildflowers. Our Horticultural Team has also created soil banks and sand pits for solitary mining bees. In 2022 we also started taking part in Flower-Insect Timed Counts as part of pollinator monitoring efforts, and in 2023 we expanded this to include surveys as part of the All-Ireland Bumblebee Monitoring Scheme. Both of these standardised monitoring systems play an important role in helping us to measure how effective all of our pollinator-friendly actions are. The results from these surveys are also submitted to the National Biodiversity Data Centre to help track changes in the abundance of pollinators across the island of Ireland.
Barn Owl. Photo by Bob Brewer/Unsplash
National Biodiversity Conference
All-Ireland Pollinator Plan Signs
Meet our team
Dr. Christoph Schwitzer
Christoph is the Director of Dublin Zoo (and CCS: Ireland) since August 2020. He is an active conservation scientist and a Deputy Chair of the IUCN SSC Primate Specialist Group. He is also an Adjunct ...
Christoph is the Director of Dublin Zoo (and CCS: Ireland) since August 2020. He is an active conservation scientist and a Deputy Chair of the IUCN SSC Primate Specialist Group. He is also an Adjunct Professor at Trinity College Dublin.
Dr. Andrew Mooney
Conservation and Research Officer. Andrew manages all conservation and research activities supported by Dublin Zoo and is responsible for the strategic coordination of the Centre for Species Survival ...
Conservation and Research Officer. Andrew manages all conservation and research activities supported by Dublin Zoo and is responsible for the strategic coordination of the Centre for Species Survival: Ireland. He is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Trinity College Dublin.
Species Survival Officer. Louise has been working in the zoological field for over 10 years where she has assisted with various conservation projects, in situ and ex situ. She has a passion for ...
Species Survival Officer. Louise has been working in the zoological field for over 10 years where she has assisted with various conservation projects, in situ and ex situ. She has a passion for connecting people with nature and conservation.