Research Studies

Colchester Zoo is dedicated to encouraging, supporting and conducting research that improves captive animal management, benefits conservation programmes and contributes to the body of scientific knowledge about animals and their natural habitats.

Research is one of the primary objectives of Colchester Zoo and the World Zoo and Aquaria Conservation Strategy highlights research as a major role for modern zoos.

Colchester Zoo’s research includes both animal-based studies and visitor studies. Animal-based studies can focus on behaviour, welfare, nutrition, husbandry, environmental enrichment, ecology, reproduction and conservation. All animal-based research undertaken in the Zoo is non-invasive and mostly conducted through observation of the animals in their captive environment.

Research studies assist Colchester Zoo in a number of ways:

  • Helping to develop successful animal management practices by assessing the effect of factors, such as enclosure design, diet and social grouping on the animals.
  • Benefiting the conservation of species and habitats, by improving the success of captive breeding programmes and in-situ programmes.
  • Promoting conservation through education by assessing visitor attitudes and perceptions.

The Research Coordinator works closely with animal management staff and the Education team to identify priority topics and Colchester Zoo encourages applications for research within these priority areas.

You can receive a copy of the most up to date priority topic list by contacting for diploma and undergraduate research and for postgraduate research and visitor studies.


All researchers wishing to conduct a project at, or in association with Colchester Zoo, must submit an application form.

Download the application form here

Application Assessment

Applications are assessed by the Zoo Director and Zoo Curator. Animal Management staff will accept applications on the basis of the subject area, including the value to science, and the logistics of the study, including staff time and resources.

All applications should be sent to the Research coordinator one month in advance of the perspective start date, as it may take some time to organise the project with Animal Management staff. For further information about research at Colchester Zoo, please contact: Wendy Lehkyj, Research Co-ordinator, Colchester Zoo, Maldon Road, Stanway, Colchester, CO3 0SL or e-mail

Research Handbook

It is advised that all students read the research handbook which details the guidelines all researchers are expected to follow whilst working at Colchester Zoo and provides details of the research fee process. Click below to download the handbook.

Past Projects

Click on the links below to view titles of past research projects.

November 2008 – October 2009

November 2009 – October 2010

November 2010 – October 2011

November 2011 – October 2012

November 2012 – October 2013

November 2013 – October 2014

November 2014 – October 2015

November 2015 – October 2016

November 2016 – October 2017

November 2017 – October 2018

November 2018 – October 2019

November 2019 – October 2020

November 2020 – October 2021

November 2021 – October 2022

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