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Citizen Zoo

Citizen Zoo graduated from Cambridge Social Ventures in June 2017.

Idea

Citizen Zoo will be a network of people throughout the country who breed native endangered species in their homes or in an empty facility. Citizens will support Citizen Zoo in rewilding natural landscapes, with an emphasis on the process being citizen led, and species focused. Citizen Zoo will provide skills and knowledge training to people and work with local conservation groups who will supply expertise on different species and their conservation needs. Citizen Zoo will push for an approach to conservation which promotes collective action and responsibility, and support people through the process of conserving and restoring their native wildlife and habitats.   

Entrepreneur

Lucas Ruzo is a social entrepreneur and conservationist, who has previously worked for an NGO which implemented nature based solutions to mitigating climate change, by using natural capital to promote local buy-in. After finishing his degree in Zoology and later Conservation Science from Imperial College London, Lucas became very interested in the underlying human systems which make the conservation sector ineffective, one of which was captive breeding in zoos. This interest led him to the idea of Citizen Zoo, which he is now working towards making a reality. 

Impact

We are now living through the 6th mass extinction, a loss of species worldwide that is unparalleled to previous extinction events which have occurred in the last 65 million years. Citizen Zoo’s approach to solving this will be to allow citizens to take a proactive approach to conserving and restoring the natural world, so that solutions can be scalable and more wide spread. This idea will be purposeful, goal oriented and fun, giving citizens the opportunity to become intimately involved and invested in the future existence of their collective natural heritage, and in turn promote wellbeing and mental health as people become more connected to nature. 

Projects

Endangered Tansy Beetle Project

Do you want to make a difference and save endangered species at home? Then join Citizen Zoo and become a Citizen Keeper in training in a year-long programme to save the endangered tansy beetle. Citizen Zoo is launching a citizen led captive breeding programme for reintroduction of the endangered tansy beetle, and needs your help!

Citizen Zoo will provide keepers in training with the knowledge and skills they need to care for these beetles, before providing them with essential kit to rear them at home. 
 
After a year, the beetles will be released in a local reserve where keepers will graduate as fully fledged Citizen Keepers. This work will continue unit the Tansy beetle is no longer vulnerable to extinction. The tansy beetle is endangered and was once wide spread throughout the east of England and now only occurs in one very small patch of land in a local reserve.
 
Citizen Zoo hopes to recruit a tight-knit group of people who will lead in efforts to save this species, and then encourage others to join the cause. Along with day-to-day care, different social events will also be organised throughout the year to teach people about local conservation issues throughout the county, so that together, the group will work towards rewilding the future in Cambridge.
 
The Tansy beetle breeding project is a pilot for Citizen Zoo. It was launched in June 2017, with support from the Cambridge Social Ventures incubator and in partnership with Natural England and The Great Fen Project.

Citizen Zoo team

Lead entrepreneur

Lucas Ruzo (Cambridge)

Get in touch

Lucas is currently researching options for a pilot project and is looking to find a species of herbivorous invertebrate (bug) not scheduled under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981. In the mean time he’s working to test the wider public appeal of this concept, so please share your thoughts with him!

citizenzoo.org