Highland Wildlife Park
Jura Consultants adopted the lead role in a multi-disciplinary team exploring the future development options for the Highland Wildlife Park (HWP). The HWP is owned by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) who in 2006 took the decision to diversify HWP’s previously native wildlife collections to include international species suited to cold climate and tundra habitats befitting the HWP’s Cairngorms National Park setting. This diversification, and successful breeding programmes borne from this, has led to an exponential increase in visit numbers establishing the HWP as one of Scotland’s top 20 paid visitor attractions. During this period however there has been little investment in the site facilities and infrastructure causing significant operational difficulties and constraining future growth. The HWP and Edinburgh Zoo, also owned by RZSS, are key for the delivery of public engagement activity and for the generation of revenue that sustains the charity’s vital national and international conservation work. Renewal of the HWP is required in order for it to achieve its potential and thus continue to support RZSS in the delivery of its charitable objectives.
Working closely with RZSS and HWP staff, our study team including LDN Architects, Optimised Environments, Campbell & Co, Gardiner & Theobald, Irons Foulner and Andrew Carrie Traffic & Transportation has developed a Masterplan which sets out a deliverable series of interventions capable of unlocking the HWP’s significant potential as an international exemplar of wildlife conservation and top 10 Scottish visitor attraction. At the heart of the Masterplan is the aim to foster a deeper connection between people and nature inspiring a change in attitudes and behaviour towards wildlife and landscape stewardship. The resultant Masterplan evolved through the course of the study responding to our research and analysis findings, which included a series of meetings and workshops with RZSS and HWP staff and in-depth comparator analysis including a field trip visit to Nordens Ark, a Swedish wildlife park renowned for its conservation credentials. The Masterplan balances the project’s conservation aspirations, the need for a sustainable ongoing business model and a deliverable programme of development. A phased approach to delivery has been identified. The RZSS Board has approved the initial phase and is keen to explore subsequent phases in further detail. We are continuing to assist RZSS with this process.