Pilot Project


We are bringing the endangered tansy beetle back to Cambridge, and we need your help! Having once been widespread throught the East of England, this enigmatic small beetle is holding on to its existence in one small location on the River Ouse in Yorkshire.

We’ve teamed up with local reserves and experts who have dedicated their lives to protecting the tansy, so that we can launch the Citizen Zoo pilot project to save this species from going extinct in the UK.

How it works

1. We rear a small starter population on tansy’s for use in the project. The pregnant females will lay eggs on their food plants before we return them to the wild.

2. Local people are recruited and entered into a one year ‘Citizen Keeper’ in training programme. They are schooled with suitable knowledge and skills in caring for these beautiful animals.

3. The eggs are placed in rearing buckets with a good amount of food plant and given to our Citizen Keepers in training. The tansy’s from Cambridge are particularly partial to feeding on wild Gypsywort and Mint plants.

4. The eggs start to hatch and hungry juveniles emerge. They are placed in separate containers which need to be supplemented with a daily supply of food plant. The larvae begin to grow into young¬†tansy’s.

5. The larvae grow into mature adults and continue eating, autumn approaches. The tansy’s feel the cold coming and begin to prepare for winter. Autumn arrives and tansy’s burrow themselves into the soil and hibernate amongst the roots and shoots of their food plants over winter.

6. Spring arrives and the tansy’s emerge from their deep winter sleep. They get hungry and begin to eat a lot. During the previous summer, our Citizen Keepers in training will have grown more food plants to feed the tansy’s growing appetites in Spring.

7. Having rested and been well fed in Spring, summer approaches and the tansy’s are now ready to mate. Citizen Keepers in training mix up their individuals so that we keep the genetics nice and robust. The tansy’s mate and females lay an abundance of eggs.

8. Our Citizen Keepers in training rear the eggs and juveniles to maturity, and make plans for their release before Autumn.

9. We organise a reintroduction release day and our keepers in training bring the tansy’s they’ve cared for throughout the year to the selected release sites. The tansy’s are released into the wild and closely monitored thereafter by our Citizen Keepers.

10. After the release, our keepers in training graduate as fully-fledged Citizen Keepers. If all goes to plan, our Citizen Keepers carry on their great work with our support, until this species is once again abundant throughout the East of England.

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