Today I must make a special entry to highlight some of the places I visited whilst in Denmark and Sweden over the past week, and to say a special thanks to the people I have met. Firstly, I would really like thank Søren Werther for kindly inviting me to Denmark in the first instance and I hope my contribution to the amphibian meeting he organised in Copenhagen lived up to what was expected. Søren helps on many conservation projects and is a really super guy. During my time in Denmark I also met some other great people completely committed to animal welfare, husbandry, and conservation:
Copenhagen Zoo: Here I met the Curator and some very experienced keepers. Lars Jensen from the reptile and amphibian section kindly showed me the animals behind the scenes and explained what they doing to help conserve native species of amphibians and how they are also breeding tropical species such as Blue poison-dart frogs (pictured). Jacob, their enthusiastic entomologist and invertebrate keeper, also showed me his collection, which was great to see. The Curator showed me the education department in detail and introduced me to Allan Maeland, the head of the section. It was really interesting for me to see and hear how important the section was to the zoo and I must say that the department was absolutely brilliant. Here, a wide range of animals were maintained actually in the education department by specialist keepers and educators. All the cages, tanks, etc were on wheels so they could be moved to each area and they even had a special food prep and veterinarian section within the learning zone. It was pleasure to see. Many thanks to all at the zoo for their time and sharing their experience.
Universeum in Gothenburg: The Universeum is the most amazing public science centre I have ever seen, it absolutely took my breath away. The 7000 square metre centre is the brainchild of Jan Westin, who met me and kindly showed me all around. It is divided in about six sections each containing a wide variety of fish, insects, reptiles and amphibians in superb conditions. I just couldn’t believe how natural the indoor rainforest section of the centre was – they even had loads of poison-dart frogs, such as dendrobates pumilio roaming free and highly visible. The facilities for keeping animals here is second to none. Johan, their extremely experienced herpetologist, showed the back of house facilities, which include strict quarantine and veterinarian sections. Off display they had some Phyllomedusa bicolor (pictured), which was of particular interest. I was am sure Johan will breed them soon given his wealth of experience. Many thanks Jan and Johan, it was a pleasure.
Norden’s Ark, Sweden: Until visiting, I never knew that a place like Norden’s Ark existed. Nordens Ark is no zoo – it is a very special non-profit foundation that focuses on the conservation of endangered animals. Many miles from civilisation, Nordens Ark breeding conservation centre is situated in the heart of bohuslan on the Swedish west coast. They own a huge expanse of natural countryside where they maintain up to 80 species of endangered animals. The enclosures for many of the animals, which include many european species and others which suit the climate, are literally fenced off areas of forest and mountains. It is absolutely incredible to be there and see the likes of snow leopard, wolf, amur tigers, lynx and many old nordic native breeds in such surroundings. Apart from the mammals, they are also breeding and releasing many native amphibians such as Natterjacks and green toads (pictured). I would just like to say a big thanks to Claes Andren, their Scientific Director for inviting me to experience Norden’s Ark and also Kristofer and all the staff who made my visit so memorable. I look forward to working with you in the future. For anyone visiting Sweden, I would highly recommend visiting and partaking in some of the wonderful activities on offer: http://www.nordensark.se/en/konferens-hotell/aktiviteter/
Nordens Ark: http://www.nordensark.se/en/
To watch some video clips of my visit to Norway and Sweden that relate to the above, please see the ‘LIVE’ section at the top of the page.
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