Academic Research

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By studying the behaviour and characteristics of our animals (and visitors!), we can understand how to give them the best level of care possible. This will help us to ensure that our animals are both physically and mentally healthy.

At Blackpool Zoo we actively engage in and encourage undergraduate and postgraduate academic research. The findings from these studies help the zoo community to constantly improve. Our friendly and helpful keeping staff, as well as our full time Research Officer, makes Blackpool Zoo an excellent place for research to take place. As a result we attract students from all over the UK and abroad.

Academic Research at Blackpool Zoo

Academic research is one of the many roles zoos carry out to help us to gain a better understanding of our animals and their welfare. Zoos are required to carry out a degree of academic research concerning their animals as part of the Zoo Licensing Act 1981, and Blackpool Zoo does so as a British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquaria (BIAZA) member. Research carried out at Blackpool Zoo gives us an insight into the behaviour of our animals and enables us to provide the highest standards of animal care and expertise. Furthermore, research of environmental enrichment methods at the zoo enables us to understand if it has had a positive effect on the animal, and if it provides both mental and physical stimulation. As well as this, students carry out research projects looking at our Education Department’s taught lessons and sessions, helping us to evaluate their effectiveness.

Our research projects cover a wide range of topics, including:

- Behaviour and Welfare

- Enclosure use

- Group Dynamics

- Cognition

- Nutrition

- Reproductive Behaviours

- Visitor Effect

- Enrichment

- Education

Research Guidelines and Applications

This section of the website provides information about how Blackpool Zoo can facilitate projects and collaborate with researchers who wish to conduct research concerning the living collections, or data and samples associated with them. We actively encourage researchers of all levels, and as a result, attract students from across UK and abroad. All applicants need to complete the ‘Application for Research’ form that is to be sent to the research department -

We are usually unable to assist students with general information requests and specify below in which circumstances we are able to consider questionnaires.  Provided at the end of this page is a list of useful web sites that should help students seeking information and those planning to conduct research in a zoo setting.

Before you complete the proposal form we strongly recommend you read the guidelines available on zoo based research from the BIAZA website ( This site contains guidelines on project planning, sampling and observational techniques, ethics and statistics. These have been written by professional zoo researchers and will help you to produce a high quality project.

RESEARCH APPLICATION FORM download pdf  (For Word format, please see the 'Know more' section below.)

As the research department regularly receive applications for research it is important that you complete your application well in advance, as the process can take up to a few weeks. Please be advised that some projects may require changes in order for us to accommodate them. If your application is approved you will be invited for a full health and safety induction, in which your research pass will be issued.


Occasionally questionnaires can be completed if they are specific to the work of Blackpool Zoo and its animal collections.  Please note that questionnaires requiring essay type answers cannot be completed, therefore well created yes/no answer and multiple choice surveys will be considered.  Questionnaires always need to be accompanied by a project proposal in your application for research with Blackpool Zoo.

Multi-zoo research

Those wishing to conduct research in conjunction with a number of zoos in the UK should have already sought BIAZA approval for their project.  Therefore a letter of approval from the BIAZA research group and/or relevant TAG (Taxon Advisory Group) should be included with your proposal.


For any further queries with regards to research please contact the Research Department on (01253) 830 801 ext. 244 or by emailing

List of Useful Websites –For general animal facts, information and pictures – For nutritional information regarding zoo animals – For the conservation status and threats facing animals – For zoo information and research guidelines – For information regarding zoos across Europe – For information regarding the world association of zoos – For access to zoo enclosure design information



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