Red Kite Reintroduction and Monitoring in Fingal County

For many years Tayto Park has supported the Golden Eagle Trust, a charity dedicated to the conservation and restoration of Ireland’s native birds.  Our donations have been used to fund the reintroduction and monitoring of red kites in North Co. Dublin.  In December 2018 we donated €6,200.00, and to date, we have contributed €28,000.00 to this conservation initiative.

Tayto Park is thrilled to be able to be part of such an important conservation effort. In 2016, the first breeding success of red kites in more than 100 years occurred in Fingal when three chicks were confirmed to have fledged from two nests. 2017, was another successful breeding year with five chicks fledging from two nests.  In 2018, there were 3 successful pairs which fledged a total of 6 young kites in Fingal. Over-wintering counts in Fingal during 2017 and 2018 have also revealed between 15 and 20 birds roosting in the area during the winter. The small north Dublin / Meath population is stable and hopefully will continue to grow and increase as part of the wider population of kites in Ireland which are now comprised of more than 100 pairs.  

Photo: M. Ruddock (GET)

Red kites are a medium-sized raptor, which can be mistaken for a buzzard until you get a glimpse of their very distinctive reddish forked tail.  Adult plumage is similar in males and females; they have rufous upper and underparts with a pale grey head. Red kites nest in small wooded areas and are best known for decorating their nests with many interesting items such as clothing, paper, wool, and even plastic. They are perhaps one of the most graceful birds in flight and watching a red kite soar is spectacular.

We are grateful to the Golden Eagle Trust for their role in bringing the Red kite, along with the Golden Eagle and White-tailed Eagle back to Ireland!



The Amur Leopard and Tiger Alliance (ALTA) and 21st Century Tiger have joined forces to support wild tiger and Amur leopard conservation under a new name ‘WildCats Conservation Alliance’.  

Tayto Park has donated €48,500 to Wildcats Conservation Alliance over the last few years.  In 2018 we were again one of the Top 10 Zoo Supporters.  In 2019, we will continue our commitment to ‘Securing a Future for Amur leopards and Tigers in Russia’ with another 10,000.00 pledged.

Funds from Tayto Park support:

Project Name: Securing a Future for Amur Leopards and Tigers in Russia V

Location: Primorsky krai and south of Khabarovsky krai, Russian Far East

Goal:  The goal of the project is to stabilize Amur tiger and leopard populations through anti-poaching and environmental education activities.

Objective 1: To reduce poaching of Amur tigers, Amur leopards, and their prey species and improve protection of their habitat;

Objective 2: To improve law enforcement efforts within the protected areas;

Objective 3: To raise people’s awareness about the state of Amur tiger and leopard populations and involve the public in nature conservation actions.

100% of all donations given to Wildcats Conservation Alliance go directly to fieldwork.  

Tayto Park will continue to support this important conservation organization as long as funding is needed to protect the critically endangered Amur Leopard and the endangered Amur Tiger. 


Tayto Park joins in the fight to save the Asian Songbird from extinction with EAZA Silent Forest Campaign.

Songbirds in Southeast Asia have become the subject of an excessive but culturally deep-rooted consumption for trade, singing competitions, pets, status symbols, export, traditional medicine and food. Demand for songbirds in Southeast Asia is extremely high, affecting hundreds of species and involving millions of individual birds, annually. The trade is often illegal and evidently unsustainable; thus, it has been recognised as a primary threat for many species in Southeast Asia

In Southeast Asia, caged songbirds have long been favourite family pets. Bird ownership is a celebrated custom and everyone can buy some kind of bird in the market, regardless of their social status.

However, it is not simply about pets. Songbird competitions are also culturally important and provide financial motivation for family income. While the tradition may have evolved and altered over time, the culture of keeping songbirds has endured and turned into a sport and a massive industry.

Although there are many legitimate captive breeders in Indonesia, there are still an alarming number of trappers, wholesalers and shops illegally trading in wild-caught birds. This is mainly because people believe that wild birds sing better and are stronger and more potent. Moreover, it is simply often much easier to catch rather than breed a songbird. 

Unfortunately, huge numbers of wild-caught birds do not live beyond the first few days in their cages.

The aims of the Silent Forest campaign are to address and mitigate the ongoing songbird extinction crisis in Asia and increase awareness within and beyond the zoo community and to fundraise for conservation efforts to prevent extinctions.

Tayto Park is pleased to join this EAZA campaign making a pledge of bronze support.  Please watch our events page for our conservation activity days.


Picture: Bird Market taken by Mehd Halaouate @ Birding Indonesia used by permission courtesy of the EAZA Silent Forest Campaign

National Biodiversity Data Centre – Citizen Science Programme

2019 marks 6 years of recording bumblebee and butterfly populations in the zoo. Tayto Park joined the National Biodiversity Data Centre (NBDC) and their citizen science project known as the Bumblebee and Butterfly Monitoring Schemes in 2013.

Bumblebees are Ireland’s most important wild pollinator. Participation in this scheme enables the NBDC to track changes in the Bumblebee population and detect early warning signs of threats to them and the service they provide. 

Butterflies have a short life-cycle and are sensitive to climate change and therefore make an ideal biodiversity indicator species. The monitoring scheme allows the NBDC to track changes in Irish butterfly populations. The monitoring scheme began in 2007 and involved walking a fixed route each week from April to August and recording all species sightings. The data is used for analyses and trend projection. 

2015 was an important year for the scheme as the NBDC, and their partners introduced the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan 2015-2020. The plan provides a significant framework to join various pollinator initiatives across Ireland. It will mark the beginning of development where collective positive steps can be taken to protect Irish pollinators and the service they provide into the future. We plan to be a part of its success!

Tayto Park Education staff carry out the monitoring and over the years we have hosted training workshops where both staff and citizen scientists were able to hone their identification skills and learn about the importance of the Pollinator Monitoring Scheme.


A project that complements our pollinator monitoring is the British and Irish Association of Zoos Campaign (BIAZA) Grab That Gap

Grab that Gap campaign encourages BIAZA collections in the spring to grab a small area of unused space in our zoo and park and plant it with native wildflowers. This encourages biodiversity and is part of a wider effort to improve management of our zoos for native species. Tayto Park has secured an area near Farm Yard Friends to grow our wildflowers. Last year we had a lovely dry summer, which led to a hose ban and while we loved the weather our wildflowers suffered.  But we can’t be stopped and will continue to plant our wildflowers for all the amazing pollinators that call Tayto Park home! 

The Saola is among the rarest large animals on the planet. While they resemble oryxes (antelopes of Africa and Arabian Peninsula) the Saola’s closest living relatives are wild cattle and buffalo. They are the sole species of a genus of Bovids and were only discovered by scientists in 1992. Sadly, this species is threatened with imminent extinction. Saola’s are found only in Laos and Vietnam, in the Annamite mountains.  They are solitary animals that live deep in the forest. The primary threat to this species is hunting including commercial poaching and subsistence hunting by local people. The Saola’s small population size is equally a threat and coupled with insufficient conservation attention and resources has resulted in a critically endangered population.  Which is why Tayto Park was eager to support Global Wildlife Conservation (GWC) and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN)/Species Survival Commission (SSC) Saola Working Group to help save this species from extinction. 

Our support in the amount of €1,000.00 will help with the construction of a breeding centre in Vietnam, where they will detect wild saola and begin a breeding programme in-situ.  Zoos do not house Saola and we feel that it is extremely important to support in-situ and ex-situ conservation activities. Saola is a species that are not housed in zoological collections and contributing to conservation programmes where all work is done in-situ (on-site in the natural home of the species) is a very important part of the conservation priorities at Tayto Park.