Conservation

About us

The Aspinall Foundation, a world-class animal conservation charity, dedicated to protecting endangered animals around the globe, was founded in 1984. Now, over 30 years on our mission remains the same. We are more dedicated than ever to returning as many captive bred animals as possible to protected wilderness areas and reserves located throughout the world. 

Our two award winning wild animal parks, Howletts near Canterbury and Port Lympne, near Ashford, work closely with The Aspinall Foundation and as such, are very different from conventional zoos. Our parks lead the way in animal care, enclosure design, enrichment and breeding success and are designed to be breeding sanctuaries for some of the world’s most rare and endangered animals.

With the help of park visitors we are able to provide the care, nurture and release of these incredible animals.

Back to the Wild Campaigns

What makes us different

Conservation

The Aspinall Foundation, a world class animal conservation charity, is dedicated to returning captive bred animals to protected wilderness areas and reserves in their native habitats. The Aspinall Foundation fund and manage animal protection projects in Congo, Gabon, Java and Madagascar, as well as providing financial support to other animal protection schemes around the world including India and Cambodia.

Wild Animal Parks

Howletts Wild Animal Park and Port Lympne Reserve work closely with The Aspinall Foundation and as such, are very different from conventional zoos. As well as offering award winning and educational days out, our parks are designed to be breeding sanctuaries and lead the way in animal care, enclosure design, enrichment and breeding success. 

As we’re an animal conservation charity, your visit directly helps our conservation work at our parks in Kent and provides vital funding for the care and release of endangered animals.

Education

Working with local communities to inspire the next generation is a core goal of our Education programme. School groups can bring the curriculum to life with interactive learning sessions and student research projects at the parks in Kent. Free animal talks by our expert Education team are available to all visitors (Subject to availability. Please see the information boards around the parks for details). Education is key to our work with endangered species overseas. Our conservation project staff engage with local communities and provide educational materials for the local schools.

Back To The Wild

We believe that animals belong in the wild. The Aspinall Foundation initiative, Back to the Wild, has already seen an impressive number of animals born at the Kent parks return to their natural habitats. Western lowland gorillas, black rhino, Javan langurs and gibbons, European bison and clouded leopards are now not only thriving in the wild, but are also successfully breeding.

Breeding programmes

In the UK, we are the most successful breeders of African elephants, clouded leopards and de brazza monkeys, and one of the most successful breeders of western lowland gorillas and fishing cats in the world. Howletts and Port Lympne also manage the studbooks (captive breeding recommendations) for Javan gibbons, clouded leopards, bush dogs and painted dogs.

Enclosure design

We make sure that our animal habitats are filled with natural foliage to provide shelter and camouflage and our techniques have resulted in excellent breeding success throughout our years of experience. Our animals should have a happy and enjoyable life and giving them freedom and enrichment in their habitat is the respect they deserve. When viewing them, please take time to look closely, explore, and look up and all around.  

Enrichment

Enrichment is a technique our dedicated keepers use on a daily basis to ensure the animals in our care remain stimulated, healthy and active. Enrichments can involve anything as simple as a cardboard box to puzzle feeders, zip wires, perfume, fresh herbs and bubble machines!

Vet care

Our team of dedicated, on-site veterinary staff work directly with the keepers in maintaining a programme of routine testing for the general health of the animals, treating sick animals and assisting with the movement of animals between collections. A large proportion of laboratory work is performed on site at our vet centres, which is not only cost-effective but also enables improved therapy and care for the animals.

Specialist diets

The variety and quality of our animals’ diets is very important. Our nursery at Walmestone Growers supplies several types of fruit, vegetables and herbs to the parks as well as veg boxes to the local community. Exotic fruits are purchased from London’s Covent Garden Market on a regular basis. Our carnivores are fed a varied diet of meat on and off the bone including rabbits, pheasants, squirrels and mutton.

Your support

Conservation is at the heart of everything we do and by visiting our Kent based parks, adopting an animal, staying at one of our fabulous short breaks or holding your very special wedding day with us, you are directly helping us to save animals from extinction. The future is in all of our hands and with your help, we truly can, and are making a difference.