View from the Zoo: £6,000 raised by FlaminGO! run

The runners get ready to take part in the FlaminGO! 10K run, which took place last Saturday.
The runners get ready to take part in the FlaminGO! 10K run, which took place last Saturday.

Flamingo Land hosted the second annual FlaminGO! 10K run earlier this month. The run was organised by CIRCLE, a collaborative partnership between Flamingo Land and the environment department at the University of York, which carries out research to aid conservation efforts both in the wild and in zoos.

The two lap race went around the resort, taking runners through Dinostone Park, past some of the rollercoasters, around the golf course and then through the zoo itself. This gave runners a unique opportunity to run past some of Flamingo Land’s most iconic species, such as the lions, tigers, giraffes and white rhinos. Runners then had the chance in the afternoon to have a look around the zoo at a more leisurely pace.

The run itself was in aid of the Udzungwa Forest Project (UFP), one of CIRCLE’s projects. It helps to protect the Magombera forest in the Udzungwa Mountains, which are found in Tanzania.

The run raised more than £6,000, which will help enormously with the work carried out by UFP. A huge thank you goes out to everyone who took part in the race – we hope to see you all again for next year’s run!

UFP helps protect the forest in several ways, the main being monitoring the many indicators of forest conservation, such as the diversity of species and each tree’s mass and size. UFP also focuses on working with the local community, helping them to use the forest in a sustainable way.

Much of this is through involving the community in UFP’s work. This is through employment, for example as research officers and rangers, and through education.

Since UFP began, over 4,000 children in Tanzania have been reached by the educational activities provided, and over 10,000 villagers are now aware of how they can use fuel efficient methods in their day-to-day life.

UFP is also researching forest restoration methods, and has tree nurseries that are established in four local villages. Thanks to this work, biomass and biodiversity have increased in regenerating trees in the area.

In addition to this, two species, which are new to science, have been discovered through UFP’s work, the Magombera chameleon, and the as yet unnamed species of custard apple tree.