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Twycross Zoo welcomes new Director of Life Sciences

Twycross Zoo is delighted to announce that Dr Matt Hartley, a veterinary and conservation specialist with over 20 years’ experience in zoos and wildlife, has joined the team in Autumn 2017 as the new Director of Life Sciences.

Matt Hartley, who has held various management and consultancy positions in zoos and government both in the UK and internationally, will oversee Twycross’ animal, veterinary, research and conservation work as part of his new role. Matt’s clinical interests include the health and welfare of animals for conservation breeding, planning and the implementation of conservation interventions, and the effects of disease on wildlife populations. A key area of responsibility within Matt’s first few months at Twycross will include managing the opening of the new state-of-the-art chimpanzee habitat, set to open in early 2018, which is the next exciting phase of Twycross’ 20-year, £55 million Masterplan.

Matt Hartley, new Director of Life Sciences at Twycross Zoo says: I am looking forward to using my background and experience in both academia and from my time at Defra, to contribute to the development of the highly successful visitor attraction and conservation organisation that Twycross Zoo represents. Part of my role will be to strengthen the work we do on site with conservation projects in the wild.”

Matt started life as a volunteer zoo keeper at Zoological Society London (ZSL), where he worked whilst studying for his Bachelor in Veterinary Medicine from the Royal Veterinary College, London. Upon graduation, Matt worked as a clinical zoo vet in several UK zoos and wildlife parks, before moving to Australia to undertake a Masters of Applied Science in Wildlife Health and Population Management at the University of Sydney. Following this degree, Matt moved continents to become Manager of Veterinary Services at Johannesburg Zoo, South Africa. Here, Matt and his team worked on a number of conservation projects, as well as partaking in field research on species such as crocodiles, meerkats and primates – the latter two which are cared for at Twycross.

Upon returning to the UK, Matt became DEFRA’s first Wildlife Veterinary Advisor and was responsible for developing policy on all aspects of wildlife health. After six years, Matt returned to his passion for zoos, wildlife and conservation, setting up his own consultancy business Zoo and Wildlife Solutions Ltd, as well as lecturing at the University of Chester on modules in the Biology, Animal Behaviour and Welfare and Conservation Biology programmes.

Dr Sharon Redrobe, CEO of Twycross Zoo concludes: “It is fantastic to have Matt as part of our management team. His breadth of experience and knowledge will be a great asset to Twycross Zoo, and I look forward to working with him to focus on our conservation, veterinary and research priorities which Matt will coordinate, and take to the next level.”

Matt also holds a Certificate in Zoological Medicine from the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and is a Chartered Biologist and Member of the Royal Society of Biology.