Belfast Zoo
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Other projects

We work on a range of native species projects to protect local wildlife.


We support a number of biodiversity research projects including: 

Chough research
This rare member of the crow family is found in coastal and upland habitats. Chough numbers have declined drastically. The only remaining stronghold in Northern Ireland is Rathlin Island and they only returned there after conservation action was taken. The three zoos in Ireland (Belfast Zoo, Dublin Zoo and Fota Wildlife Park) fund research projects. This research has been completed and we hope the findings will help conserve viable populations of chough in Ireland for many years to come.

Barn owl research
John Lusby, from BirdWatch Ireland, monitors nest-sites and collates data on the causes of death for barn owls. He raises public awareness through school and community group visits and his booklet, 'A Guide to Barn Owls in Ireland'. This research is funded by the three zoos in Ireland, Belfast Zoo, Dublin Zoo and Fota Wildlife Park in Cork.

Native species talks
The members of the Belfast Zoo native species group are committed to spreading the message about our local wildlife. Members of the group regularly deliver talks, both in the zoo and at other relevant events and locations.

We have also given presentations to other zoological collections to demonstrate the importance of zoos being ambassadors for their own native species.

If you would like to organise a talk, contact us on

Other projects 

Swift boxes
The swift has been identified as a priority species by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, as they've declined by 25% to 50% over a 25 year period. In 2012, we installed five swift nest boxes on the side of the giraffe house. We also put up a sound box nearby which plays swift sounds to attract these birds to the area. Swifts have shown interest in the boxes and we hope for successful nesting activity soon.

Hedgehog sanctuary
Belfast Zoo has been a home to rescued or injured hedgehogs. Our lemur paddock was home to Lou and Mo the hedgehogs and the zoo farm was previously home to two blind and rescued hedgehogs, Ross and Reggie.

Barn owl sanctuary
Belfast Zoo is home to two rescued barn owls, Dawn and Dusk. Barn owls can be found all over the world and are still common. But, in Northern Ireland, the population has declined by over 70% in the last 50 years. There may be fewer than 50 pairs left in Northern Ireland.