Lepidoptera Conservation Coordinator

Twycross Zoo

Job title: Lepidoptera Conservation Coordinator (Temporary Role)
Department: Conservation Directorate
Reporting to: Conservation and Research Manager
Reportees: none, but to be supported by volunteers and staff where appropriate.

The package:

  • Initial 12-month fixed term contract
  • 16 hours per week
  • Salary of £26,000 (pro rata)
  • 31 days annual leave (pro rata)
  • Hybrid working option to be discussed at interview
  • Staff membership card giving you free entry to the Zoo on your days off
  • Complimentary Twycross Zoo ticket allowance for friends and family
  • 25% discount in the Twycross Zoo gift shop
  • 10% discount in Twycross Zoo food and beverage outlets
  • Access to work counselling services

Flexibility will be essential to fulfil the requirements of the project activities.

Key purpose:

To work in partnership with Butterfly Conservation, West Midlands Branch of Butterfly
Conservation, Forestry England, Natural England and other key partners to support conservation
of butterflies and moths within the Wyre Forest landscape, including habitat assessments,
ecological surveys, reintroduction feasibility studies and habitat management.

Introduction:

This new project will explore the feasibility of reintroducing the Kentish Glory moth to
England as well as working to improve the prospects of key butterfly species declining
nationally but still occurring in the Forest. Funding is initially available for a 12-month
period.

Twycross Zoo is an award-winning conservation and science-led zoo in the heart of England, home
to 400 animals and the only zoo in the UK to house all four great apes. Twycross Zoo is at the
forefront of conservation, education and research. We have a strong commitment to our
award-winning education programme, aiming to increase the level of awareness, knowledge and
understanding of visitors about our animals. We aim to inspire visitors to support biodiversity
conservation in any way they can.

Butterfly Conservation is the largest insect conservation charity in Europe with over 40,000
members in the UK. Its aim is the conservation of butterflies, moths and their habitats. It
runs conservation programmes on over 70 threatened species of butterfly and moth and manages
over 30 nature reserves. Much work is delivered through the charity’s regional branches and the
West Midlands branch runs a conservation programme targeting rare and declining species across
the region.

Background:

The Kentish Glory formerly occurred in a number of English sites with its last stronghold being
the Wyre Forest, a large area of semi-ancient woodland on the borders of Shropshire and
Worcestershire. It was last recorded there in the early 1970s and is now extinct in England.
The moth is still found in parts of Scotland where it is a high priority species and is being
actively conserved by Butterfly Conservation working with other partners.

An initial habitat assessment identified over 80 hectares within the Wyre Forest as potential
breeding habitat to support a planned reintroduction of the species. The feasibility study
which forms the main focus of this project will enable a decision to be made as to whether to
proceed with a reintroduction of this species. The Wyre Forest remains an important site for
Lepidoptera and the project will also look at ways in which other key species can be best
conserved, including the pearl-bordered fritillary and the wood white.

Key responsibilities:

  1. Support the development and delivery of the zoo’s native species conservation strategy,
    working with multiple stakeholders and supporting conservation activities across the UK and on
    the zoo’s nature reserve.
  2. Build relationships with the zoo’s conservation partners to deliver agreed conservation
    outputs and ensure these are communicated effectively both internally and externally. In this
    case, partners including Butterfly Conservation.
  3. Communicate with internal and external stakeholders, including conservation partners,
    academic institutions, and supervise students/volunteers.
  4. Provide reports to highlight progress of the project internally and externally.
  5. Conduct research and practical habitat management, working with and alongside partners in
    the Wyre Forest.

The Project Coordinator will lead on the following project objectives, with support of the
Advisory Group:

  1. Undertake a feasibility study for the reintroduction of the Kentish Glory to the Forest,
    building on previous work.
  2. Commission DNA analysis comparing Scottish, Wyre and continental specimens and produce
    recommendations.
  3. Work closely with Butterfly Conservation staff and volunteers in the UK and in Europe,
    Forestry England and Natural England to facilitate knowledge exchange about species
    requirements and habitat management.
  4. To work with partner organisations to establish a long-term habitat management plan that
    benefits all priority Lepidoptera species present in the Wyre Forest and look at ways in which
    existing key populations can be enhanced.
  5. Recruit volunteers to assist with monitoring, surveying and practical management tasks and
    take a role in leading these.
  6. Undertake practical management work involving volunteers and contractors.
  7. Establish a moth breeding programme (research breeding methods, collate experience, train
    staff, plant birch). To be implemented upon completion of the above activities and occur in
    2024.
  8. Seek further funding to ensure project longevity, if required.

Key skills and requirements:

  1. An undergraduate degree in ecology or a conservation science topic, including research project experience. A master’s degree is desirable.
  2. Relevant working qualification and experience within the ecology sector.
  3. Experience of supporting research and/or conservation projects in a similar professional
    setting.
  4. Experience of grant writing and securing external funding for conservation projects.
  5. Prior experience/understanding of habitat assessment methodology and habitat management
    techniques for Lepidoptera in the UK.
  6. An understanding and interest in the role of zoos in conservation and research, a passion for
    conservation and interest in supporting lepidoptera populations in the UK.
  7. The ability to liaise with many different internal and external stakeholders, both nationally
    and internationally.
  8. Ability to be self-led and work independently – flexibility in location of work.
  9. A full clean driving license and access to vehicle to travel between sites in the UK.
  10. Excellent time management skills.

To apply, please send your CV and covering letter to [email protected] by 12th November 2023. The proposed start date is January 2024.

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