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Global conservation efforts threatened by zoo funding crisis
There are around 100 Guam kingfishers left in the world, all of which are living in human care.

Representatives call for immediate action from government

The vital conservation work of zoos and aquariums across the world is being put at risk by the huge income losses and reduced visitor numbers that many institutions are facing as a result of COVID-19.

The British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (Biaza) has praised the introduction of the Zoo Animals Fund - which is designed to provide a safety net for zoos during the pandemic - but states that the rescue package has proven to be largely inaccessible.

According to the BBC, out of nearly 300 zoos and aquariums in England, just one successfully made a claim from the recovery fund.

Biaza has also warned that without vital funding, many international breeding programmes - which are essential in preventing the extinction of rare species - may have to be cancelled.

The Guam kingfisher is just one of at least 77 species of plants and animals classified at extinct in the wild by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). It disappeared from the island of Guam in the 1980s after an invasive species of snake devastated the island’s ecosystem.

There are now only around 100 Guam kingfishers left in the world, all of which live in breeding programmes at US zoos. While there are plans to reintroduce the species, funding issues have placed many of these programmes under strain.

COVID-19 restrictions have resulted in financial difficulties for many zoos across the globe. While the majority have been able to reopen, limited visitor capacities have made it difficult for institutions to generate enough income to cover their huge overheads. Some smaller zoos have already had to close.

According to the BBC, The Zoological Society of London (ZSL) had monthly running costs of £2.3 million at the peak of lockdown, and it predicts it will lose around £20 million this financial year.

Biaza is calling on the government to take urgent action to help zoos and aquariums through this challenging time. For more information please visit the Biaza website.

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AWF Student Grant Scheme opens for applications

News Story 1
 The Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF) is inviting applications to its 2021 Student Grant Scheme for innovative projects designed to impact animal welfare. The scheme welcomes proposals from undergraduates studying veterinary and animal welfare degrees, but students from other disciplines are also welcome to apply.

Grants will fund projects on animal welfare topics that are relevant to the veterinary profession and help develop the student's skills as a researcher. This year, the AWF is also accepting projects which are carried out alongside EMS so long as they are supervised. For more information and to apply, visit animalwelfarefoundation.org.uk 

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Survey seeks views on keeping cows with calves

Researchers at Scotland's Rural College are seeking views from dairy farmers on keeping cows with calves.

Their study entitled 'Keeping Cow with Calf: bringing innovation to dairying in Scotland' aims to find out the motivations and reservations about operating a cow-with-calf dairy system.

The survey will help researchers build an evidence base and gauge what support farmers need to move to this practice. For more information, or to complete the survey, visit keepingcowwithcalf.com