Category Archives: Blog

This our new ZooSoc blog page! Hooray! Here, we will be posting any exciting ZooSoc news that you should know about, interesting articles and pieces of info on nature and wildlife, and keeping you up to date with what’s been happening at our talks and events!

Talk Summary: David Dodd’s Bat Ecological Consultancy


Last week, David Dodds came to tell us all about what it’s like to be an ecological consultant who specialises in bats!

So what do ecological consultants actually do?

  • Their main aim is to limit the damage done by people such as developers (the bad guys!), so what thet do isn’t really conservation – more like prevention!
  • They advise developers on things like wildlife laws, licenses for development, and moral obligations
  • Their jobs involve LOTS of fieldwork! They are always having to do wildlife surveys and research on behalf of their clients.
  • Unfortunately, this also means LOTS of report writing, which often end up in ctalkingourts of law.
  • A lot of teamwork is involved, working with people from lots of different ecological disciplines on one site, and there is lots of talking and careful planning!
  • Work can often be seasonal, especially if you work with bats!
  • Also often requires antisocial hours and lots of travelling to various sites
  • Most importantly – although we’re all here for our love of wildlife – ecological consultants have to be able to deal with people too! A LOT! It’s important in this job that you can talk to people and be able to influence their decisions!

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Talk Summary: Conservation of Tropical Amphibians

On the 11th of Feb, we had an interesting talk on ‘The Conservation Value and Vulnerability of Amphibian Communities along a Tropical Altitudnal GradientFROG by Jaime Villacampa who has spent a lot of time in tropical areas studying amphibians and their ecology – especially in Peru.

He started off by giving us a bit of background information on tropical amphibians!

  •  Of the ~7000 species of amphibians, around 600 of these are found in Peru!
  • The  Manu region of Peru – where Jaime conducted his research – is the most diverse area for amphibians in the world!!
  • Tropical areas are good for amphibians because of their huge variety of habitats!
  • Tropical areas are also, usually, very humid – this is perfect for amphibians as they need to keep their thin skin nice and moist!

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Second Chance to Get ZooSoc Hoodies!!

Due to popular demand, we are hoping to make ANOTHER HOODIE ORDER in March!!!

Anyone that missed out last time, or wants more zoosoc gear in their life, should send their order form to by Saturday the 5th March.
All details are on the form on the link below, and we hope that giving more time will avoid the disappoint many had last semester!

Links to each hoodie are on the form so you can choose the style and colour you like best!!
Pullover hoodie £10/ Zip up £13 (personalisation +£3)…/1kOQBWuTxysmeOgHsPZKvCHz7w64…/edit

Volunteering and Training Opportunities with RSPB!

The RPSB have lots of exciting opportunities for you to get involved with over the upcoming months!!

If you just fancy boosting your knowledge and gaining some skills, then why not go along to one of the great  ID training courses being run by the RSPB this year? There’s everything from tree identification, photography workshops and learning all about bats and bees! 

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Talk Summary: Outfoxing Rabies + Life as a PhD Student!

Last week, we had a really interesting talk from Laurie Baker about her current PhD project on fox rabies as well as all her previous research projects including her Master’s and Undergrad degree.


PhD Project:

Rabies is a viral disease which affects all mammals and is spread through the saliva of infected animals. When an animal becomes infected with rabies, there are no symptoms for around 3 weeks, as the virus migrates to the brain. Then, there is a rapid increase of the virus in the saliva and after 4 days the disease will lead to death.  The rabies epidemic originated in the 1940s in Poland, where a cross-over from dogs to foxes occured, and from there the disease became rapidly widespread throughout Europe.

The main method for eradicating rabies in foxes is through oral vaccines, which are distributed via aeroplane and dropped into known fox territories. The vaccines are in the form of tablets – similar to dog biscuits – which attract the foxes who then eat them, and are subsequently protected from infection. This method is slightly more difficult in urban areas as the vaccines have to be distributed by hand but, nevertheless, eradication has been extremely successful and the majority of West and Central Europe is now rabies-free! Continue reading