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James Cretney

The world needs us all to be more ambitious


As Marwell Zoo celebrates its 50th anniversary, it is renewing its focus on sustainability and conservation, with wildlife tracking and protection programmes in Kenya and North Africa, the generation of renewable energy from animal waste and plans to go beyond carbon neutral. CEO James Cretney speaks exclusively to Attractions Management about zoo poo, animal welfare and Marwell’s international conservation work.

How has 2022 gone so far?
2022 has been a great year for Marwell Zoo in terms of our conservation and sustainability work. Earlier this year, we won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise: Sustainable Development, as a result of work on our sustainability aims – particularly converting zoo poo into energy that we use to heat our Energy for Life tropical house. The scheme has been such a success that we are now heating many of the larger buildings within the park using energy from our zoo poo energy centre.

2022 is also the first year since COVID that we’ve been able to welcome guests all year round, plus we’re launching Glow Marwell, our first ever after-dark lights event.

Tell us about your new Energy for Life tropical house
Energy for Life is the most immersive exhibit at Marwell Zoo. Spanning two levels, the building was designed to give guests the best vantage points and face-to-face encounters with our tropical animals and plants. What makes it truly special though, is that it’s helping us achieve our goal of becoming carbon neutral.

Next door to the tropical house, our energy centre converts the 700 tonnes of animal waste we previously paid to dispose of into energy, reducing our carbon footprint and our dependency on fossil fuels. The heat required to create the tropical house’s humid environment comes directly from the energy centre.

The building’s curved roof uses materials that allow natural light to shine through whilst insulating the building against heat loss.

Rainwater is harvested from the roof into two 50,000 litre tanks that provide the water for the building. In essence, the building is totally self-sufficient and provides the perfect habitat for the hundreds of plants and animals that live there.

What other initiatives are helping to improve sustainability at Marwell?
We have 170kWp of solar panels on our rooftops generating around 150,000kWh of electricity per year. We’re also repairing ageing underground pipework to reduce water wastage and we’ve installed water filling stations to encourage guests to refill bottles and reduce the use of single-use plastic.

These changes have helped us to reduce water consumption by 23 per cent, waste by 46 per cent and our carbon footprint by 77 per cent.

We’re looking into large scale rainwater capture to further reduce our water usage by up to 60 per cent, surpassing carbon neutral and introducing new recycling options to reduce the amount of waste generated. In addition, our ethical sourcing strategy ensures items in our gift shop are made from recycled and sustainable materials and we only use paper or home-compostable packaging.

These goals are particularly important to Marwell because our core mission as an organisation is to conserve biodiversity and other natural resources, both locally and internationally. We hope to inspire others by demonstrating ways of conserving our planet’s natural resources.

You are involved in conservation projects in North Africa. What work are you doing there?
Our work in Tunisia has included the translocation of 10 barbery sheep to Zaghouan National Park to establish the species in a new area. The species had declined dramatically due to illegal, unsustainable hunting and habitat degradation to the extent that only a few free-living groups remain. It’s hoped, through the implementation of the national strategy, that the species will return to more of the arid mountain landscapes.

This work follows in the footsteps of Marwell’s engagement in work to reintroduce scimitar-horned oryx, a species that had been classified as extinct in the wild but are now – thanks to reintroductions to the wild from captive bred populations – breeding in the wild once again. Similarly, Addax and North African Ostrich are important species that are either critically vulnerable or now extinct in these former range areas, that we are working with.

You’re working in northern Kenya to monitor wildlife. Can you tell us more?
We’re engaging with local communities to monitor wildlife and gather information about native animals including Grevy’s zebra, dik-dik, black-backed jackals and cheetahs. In these areas, poaching seems to be on the increase, so our team is working closely with Kenya Wildlife Service and a number of local partners to share information that will help the authorities protect the wildlife. We’ve been working with community conservancies to help provide movement corridors with quality resources for animals to ensure their survival. During the recent droughts, supplementary hay provision was supplied to help them survive the harsh conditions.

Our long-term goal in Kenya is to ensure the survival of species that might otherwise become extinct, while supporting biodiversity. Whilst the tactics we use to achieve this will likely change over time with the knowledge our research brings, biodiversity absolutely underpins this work.

What are the results of your work?
The best example of the results of our conservation work is probably the scimitar-horned oryx. Once abundant, they were assessed as being extinct in the wild in 2000. Hunting, fragmentation and competition with livestock caused populations to decline to the point of extinction and it’s thanks to captive bred populations that we’ve been able to help reverse this process.

Scimitar-horned oryx have been reintroduced in Chad and are now beginning to breed in the wild. Similar reintroductions in protected areas of Tunisia started in 1985 with 10 animals from Marwell and Edinburgh zoos. In 1999 and 2007 Marwell co-ordinated the release of scimitar-horned oryx in three more protected areas within their historic range.

What other plans do you have?
We have lots of plans for the zoo and the work we do overseas. Underlying all our work is a very clear mission to support biodiversity, encourage sustainability and connect people to the nature around them.

Sharing our knowledge is vital to engage others in our sustainable journey. We’ve reached audiences worldwide and engage with tens of thousands of children and young people through our education programmes.

We know there’s still more we can do and we’re always looking at new ways of working, of conserving natural resources and of helping wildlife to thrive, even when the odds are stacked against it.

The world needs us all to be more ambitious – not just achieving but surpassing carbon neutrality; not just saving but having a vision for thriving wildlife; not just being economic with resources but making better use of them.

Animal waste is now being converted into energy at Marwell Credit: Photo: Jason Brown
The tropical house is totally self-sufficient for energy and water Credit: Photo: Jason Brown
Marwell has already reduced its carbon footprint by 77 per cent Credit: Photo: Paul Collins
Marwell is dedicated to a vision for thriving wildlife Credit: Photo: Jason Brown
Marwell has engaged thousands of children through its education programmes Credit: Photo: Paul Collins
Connecting people to nature is one of Marwell’s missions Credit: Photo: Paul Collins
COMPANY PROFILES
Red Raion

Founded in 2014, Red Raion is the CGI studio for media-based attractions. [more...]
TechnoAlpin

TechnoAlpin is the world leader for snowmaking systems. Our product portfolio includes all different [more...]
Painting With Light

By combining lighting, video, scenic and architectural elements, sound and special effects we tell s [more...]
Clip 'n Climb

Clip ‘n Climb currently offers facility owners and investors more than 40 colourful and unique Cha [more...]
+ More profiles  
CATALOGUE GALLERY
 

+ More catalogues  
DIRECTORY
+ More directory  
DIARY

 

08-08 May 2024

Hospitality Design Conference

Hotel Melià , Milano , Italy
04-07 Nov 2024

Global Wellness Summit (GWS)

In person, St Andrews, United Kingdom
+ More diary  
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People
James Cretney

The world needs us all to be more ambitious


As Marwell Zoo celebrates its 50th anniversary, it is renewing its focus on sustainability and conservation, with wildlife tracking and protection programmes in Kenya and North Africa, the generation of renewable energy from animal waste and plans to go beyond carbon neutral. CEO James Cretney speaks exclusively to Attractions Management about zoo poo, animal welfare and Marwell’s international conservation work.

How has 2022 gone so far?
2022 has been a great year for Marwell Zoo in terms of our conservation and sustainability work. Earlier this year, we won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise: Sustainable Development, as a result of work on our sustainability aims – particularly converting zoo poo into energy that we use to heat our Energy for Life tropical house. The scheme has been such a success that we are now heating many of the larger buildings within the park using energy from our zoo poo energy centre.

2022 is also the first year since COVID that we’ve been able to welcome guests all year round, plus we’re launching Glow Marwell, our first ever after-dark lights event.

Tell us about your new Energy for Life tropical house
Energy for Life is the most immersive exhibit at Marwell Zoo. Spanning two levels, the building was designed to give guests the best vantage points and face-to-face encounters with our tropical animals and plants. What makes it truly special though, is that it’s helping us achieve our goal of becoming carbon neutral.

Next door to the tropical house, our energy centre converts the 700 tonnes of animal waste we previously paid to dispose of into energy, reducing our carbon footprint and our dependency on fossil fuels. The heat required to create the tropical house’s humid environment comes directly from the energy centre.

The building’s curved roof uses materials that allow natural light to shine through whilst insulating the building against heat loss.

Rainwater is harvested from the roof into two 50,000 litre tanks that provide the water for the building. In essence, the building is totally self-sufficient and provides the perfect habitat for the hundreds of plants and animals that live there.

What other initiatives are helping to improve sustainability at Marwell?
We have 170kWp of solar panels on our rooftops generating around 150,000kWh of electricity per year. We’re also repairing ageing underground pipework to reduce water wastage and we’ve installed water filling stations to encourage guests to refill bottles and reduce the use of single-use plastic.

These changes have helped us to reduce water consumption by 23 per cent, waste by 46 per cent and our carbon footprint by 77 per cent.

We’re looking into large scale rainwater capture to further reduce our water usage by up to 60 per cent, surpassing carbon neutral and introducing new recycling options to reduce the amount of waste generated. In addition, our ethical sourcing strategy ensures items in our gift shop are made from recycled and sustainable materials and we only use paper or home-compostable packaging.

These goals are particularly important to Marwell because our core mission as an organisation is to conserve biodiversity and other natural resources, both locally and internationally. We hope to inspire others by demonstrating ways of conserving our planet’s natural resources.

You are involved in conservation projects in North Africa. What work are you doing there?
Our work in Tunisia has included the translocation of 10 barbery sheep to Zaghouan National Park to establish the species in a new area. The species had declined dramatically due to illegal, unsustainable hunting and habitat degradation to the extent that only a few free-living groups remain. It’s hoped, through the implementation of the national strategy, that the species will return to more of the arid mountain landscapes.

This work follows in the footsteps of Marwell’s engagement in work to reintroduce scimitar-horned oryx, a species that had been classified as extinct in the wild but are now – thanks to reintroductions to the wild from captive bred populations – breeding in the wild once again. Similarly, Addax and North African Ostrich are important species that are either critically vulnerable or now extinct in these former range areas, that we are working with.

You’re working in northern Kenya to monitor wildlife. Can you tell us more?
We’re engaging with local communities to monitor wildlife and gather information about native animals including Grevy’s zebra, dik-dik, black-backed jackals and cheetahs. In these areas, poaching seems to be on the increase, so our team is working closely with Kenya Wildlife Service and a number of local partners to share information that will help the authorities protect the wildlife. We’ve been working with community conservancies to help provide movement corridors with quality resources for animals to ensure their survival. During the recent droughts, supplementary hay provision was supplied to help them survive the harsh conditions.

Our long-term goal in Kenya is to ensure the survival of species that might otherwise become extinct, while supporting biodiversity. Whilst the tactics we use to achieve this will likely change over time with the knowledge our research brings, biodiversity absolutely underpins this work.

What are the results of your work?
The best example of the results of our conservation work is probably the scimitar-horned oryx. Once abundant, they were assessed as being extinct in the wild in 2000. Hunting, fragmentation and competition with livestock caused populations to decline to the point of extinction and it’s thanks to captive bred populations that we’ve been able to help reverse this process.

Scimitar-horned oryx have been reintroduced in Chad and are now beginning to breed in the wild. Similar reintroductions in protected areas of Tunisia started in 1985 with 10 animals from Marwell and Edinburgh zoos. In 1999 and 2007 Marwell co-ordinated the release of scimitar-horned oryx in three more protected areas within their historic range.

What other plans do you have?
We have lots of plans for the zoo and the work we do overseas. Underlying all our work is a very clear mission to support biodiversity, encourage sustainability and connect people to the nature around them.

Sharing our knowledge is vital to engage others in our sustainable journey. We’ve reached audiences worldwide and engage with tens of thousands of children and young people through our education programmes.

We know there’s still more we can do and we’re always looking at new ways of working, of conserving natural resources and of helping wildlife to thrive, even when the odds are stacked against it.

The world needs us all to be more ambitious – not just achieving but surpassing carbon neutrality; not just saving but having a vision for thriving wildlife; not just being economic with resources but making better use of them.

Animal waste is now being converted into energy at Marwell Credit: Photo: Jason Brown
The tropical house is totally self-sufficient for energy and water Credit: Photo: Jason Brown
Marwell has already reduced its carbon footprint by 77 per cent Credit: Photo: Paul Collins
Marwell is dedicated to a vision for thriving wildlife Credit: Photo: Jason Brown
Marwell has engaged thousands of children through its education programmes Credit: Photo: Paul Collins
Connecting people to nature is one of Marwell’s missions Credit: Photo: Paul Collins
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+ More news   
 
COMPANY PROFILES
Red Raion

Founded in 2014, Red Raion is the CGI studio for media-based attractions. [more...]
TechnoAlpin

TechnoAlpin is the world leader for snowmaking systems. Our product portfolio includes all different [more...]
Painting With Light

By combining lighting, video, scenic and architectural elements, sound and special effects we tell s [more...]
Clip 'n Climb

Clip ‘n Climb currently offers facility owners and investors more than 40 colourful and unique Cha [more...]
+ More profiles  
CATALOGUE GALLERY
+ More catalogues  
DIRECTORY
+ More directory  
DIARY

 

08-08 May 2024

Hospitality Design Conference

Hotel Melià , Milano , Italy
04-07 Nov 2024

Global Wellness Summit (GWS)

In person, St Andrews, United Kingdom
+ More diary  
 


ADVERTISE . CONTACT US

Leisure Media
Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

©Cybertrek 2024

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