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Press release

Living museums

A series of free Darwin Centre Live events at the Natural History Museum
Saturday 14 – Saturday 21 February 2004, daily
Webcast live at

Children love zoos for the exotic beasts they can see there, but for some of their endangered inhabitants these living museums are a last refuge. Zoos may be controversial but the research and breeding programmes that they carry out may be our best hope for saving many species from extinction. Join our experts in the studio to meet animals and researchers live by satellite from London, Paignton and San Diego Zoos in a series of free Darwin Centre Live events exploring the role that animal parks play in today’s world.

The Koala Dating Game
Saturday 14 February, 14.30

Breeding koalas in captivity is hard work. How do you persuade koala A to breed with koala B when all he really wants to do is get personal with koala C? This Valentine’s Day join a matchmaker and koala webcast live from San Diego Zoo to discover the scent secrets of koala perfume.

Sunday 15 February, 12.00 and 14.30

Due to a growing demand for turtle meat in China, millions of turtles are being taken from the wild by poachers and numbers are dropping rapidly. Join reptile specialist Richard Gibson from the London Zoological Society as he discusses this developing crisis.

Golden Lion Tamarins
Monday 16 February, 12.00 and 14.30

The conservation of golden lion tamarins and their relatives is a tricky field. Find out how David Field, co-ordinator of the European captive breeding programme for these small and highly endangered primates, goes about his work.

Conserving the Condor
Tuesday 17 February, 12.00 and 14.30

In 1987 the Californian condor became extinct in the wild. Join Museum ornithologist Jo Cooper together with experts and condors live from California's San Diego Zoo to find out about the captive breeding and reintroduction into the wild of these magnificent birds.

Behavioural Management and Welfare of Zoo Animals
Wednesday 18 February, 12.00 and 14.30

How do you persuade an animal not to fight with a vet or dentist? Find out how modern zoos get animals to cooperate without the need for restraint. This event will also explore the ways that captive animals’ environments can be enriched to encourage more natural behaviour.

Giraffe Social Psychology
Thursday 19 February, 14.30

Very little is known about the behaviour of giraffes. Join us, together with experts live from San Diego Zoo, to find out how researchers are exploring the ways that giraffes interact.

Monkey Business: Social Learning in Primates
Friday 20 February, 12.00 and 14.30

How do primates learn from each other? Join experts from the Natural History Museum and Paignton Zoo to find out what we can discover about the way primates interact and learn by studying them in a zoo environment.

Bachelor Boys: Life with the Lads in Paignton's Gorilla Group
Saturday 21 February, 12.00 and 14.30

Discover how the boys from Paignton's group of bachelor gorillas deal with aggression and conflict.

Darwin Centre Live at the Natural History Museum is a free programme of informal events where visitors can talk to scientists, hear more about their work at the Museum and around the world and see the fascinating specimens they work with. For further information please contact the Natural History Museum, by calling 0207 942 5000 or visit

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Event visitor information
Venue: Darwin Centre at the Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD
Dates: Saturday 14–Saturday 21 February 2004, daily
Public enquiries: 020 7942 5000
Entry: free to all
Nearest tube: South Kensington

The Natural History Museum is open Monday - Saturday 10.00-17.50, Sunday-11.00-17.50
The Natural History Museum's public enquiries telephone number is 020 7942 5000
The Museum is accessible to visitors in wheelchairs.
For access details telephone 020 7942 5000
Entry to the Museum: FREE

To arrange interviews with any of the presenters, request images or further information, please contact:

Joanna Glyde or Chloe Kembery, Science Communications PR
Tel: 020 7942 5881/5881
Email: (not for publication)

Issued January 2004