One of the most popular and distinctive of all the Museum’s galleries, the Vivarium is dedicated to the conservation of reptiles and amphibians. It is home to many species of frogs, reptiles and lizards from South America, Australia and Madagascar, allowing visitors to experience the thrill of a first-hand encounter with some of the rarest creatures on the planet.
The Museum is one of the very few that boasts a comprehensive collection of live reptiles on display and which also plays a leading role in the conservation of some of the world’s most endangered amphibians.
Visitors to the newly redeveloped Vivarium (which opened in autumn 2013) can find better displays, enhanced interpretation and most significantly are able to see more of the important conservation work that usually takes place behind the scenes. The Vivarium and its staff play a pioneering role in protecting critically endangered species. For example, the Museum is part of a consortium of institutions worldwide that are carrying out essential work in Europe and Costa Rica in an effort to save one very rare amphibian - the Lemur Leaf Frog (Agalychnis lemur). Within Costa Rica, this small frog is found only in one last remaining area. As well as supporting the frog’s survival in the wild, Manchester Museum are responsible for establishing the international captive breeding programme for the species to ensure its long-term survival.
Andrew Gray, Curator of Herpetology, explained the significance of the work that he and his team are carrying out:
“Many amphibians worldwide are under the threat of extinction due to factors such as habitat loss and a changing climate. Our everyday actions have a direct effect on these creatures, their habitats, and indeed our own species. We are doing our best to help visitors to the new Vivarium understand that these animals and the places they live are special and that they need our support. Indirectly, we hope to make a difference to how children and young people view the natural world, but more directly, to make a real contribution to species conservation.”
Dr Nick Merriman, Director of Manchester Museum:
“We’re delighted to be marking the 50th anniversary of the Vivarium’s original opening by giving visitors the chance to understand the role the Museum is playing in helping to protect some of the world’s most endangered species. We hope visitors to the new Vivarium will be inspired by what they see and that it sparks an interest in animal conservation that lasts a lifetime.”
The redevelopment of Manchester Museum’s Vivarium was supported by the Oglesby Charitable Trust, St. Modwen Environmental Trust and The Foyle Foundation.
To find out more about the Vivarium and some of the latest amphibian conservation projects visit: http://frogblogmanchester.com/
Vivarium tours: Thursday 12pm. The tours don't run during school holidays. To book call: 0161 275 2648, adults only.