Rare Breed Program Official Accreditation

We are delighted to have become only the second zoo that is an ‘Approved Associate’ of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST).

Following a formal application and onsite inspection, we “passed with flying colors”. The accreditation process thoroughly assesses the rare breed program with emphasis on animal welfare, the number of pedigree breeding programs we are contributing to as well as the quality of its education program.

As part of establishing our rare breed program, a whole new rare breed signage project was launched to effectively engage guests with the individual breeds and their unique heritage.

Chris Wilkinson, our Curator commented “I am delighted we have been awarded RBST accreditation. This has been a project close to my heart for a long time and we have all been working hard to create a strong program. It is a great endorsement to receive this accreditation and we are looking forward to continuing to work with the RBST in conserving these rare native breeds and their natural environment, both of which are part of the UK’s national identity and heritage.”

We were originally a dairy farm before our transformation to a farm park in 1999 and we are proud to home some of the UK’s rarest breeds including Suffolk Punch horses, White Faced Woodland sheep; Tamworth pigs and Brecon Buff geese, all of which are priority breeds on the RBST watchlist. Our British White cattle and Bagot goats are also considered at risk.

The RBST is a national charity working on the survival of the UK’s rarest breeds of farm animals and equines. They aim to reverse the decline in native livestock breeds by 2028 by demonstrating the economic, social and environmental relevance of native breeds. According to their website, around 30,000 herds and flocks of native breeds in the UK contribute £700 million to UK Local economies. RBST runs a number of projects including the Gene Bank which aims to ensure original genetics of rare breeds are preserved.

RBST is working to get livestock genetic diversity recognized by Government and wider society as a fundamental element of agriculture and biodiversity policy through partnerships to highlight the importance of native breeds.

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