Paignton Zoo is not just one of the UK's top zoos and a great day out.  We are also a conservation and education charity dedicated to protecting our global wildlife heritage.

The Zoo was founded in 1923 by Herbert Whitley, and when he died in 1955 the Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust was set up in his name. The Trust owns Paignton Zoo along with Living Coasts in Torquay, Newquay Zoo in Cornwall, Primley Park and Clennon Gorge Local Nature Reserves in Paignton, and Slapton Ley National Nature Reserve.

Over the years we have invested millions of pounds in conservation work spanning the globe, protecting local habitats, breeding and releasing species back into the wild and working on conservation programme globally; and we have achieved great things.

We saved Slapton Ley from development and now manage it as a National Nature Reserve helping to protect numerous rare species and habitats. We’ve bred several species for reintroduction including the golden lion tamarin, Socorro dove, dormouse, water vole and cirl bunting. Through our global work, centred in Africa, we have helped to protect both black and white rhino in Zimbabwe, supported the reintroduction of black rhino to Malawi where they had become extinct since the 1980s, and together with the Kenyan Wildlife Service we confirmed the existence of a previously unknown population of the Critically Endangered Aders’ duiker.

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Herbert Whitley, our Founder

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