We are currently unable to run this programme due to COVID-19 restrictions.
We are working on creating new virtual programmes which will be released soon.


What does ZEBRA stand for?

ZEBRA is the 'Zoo Environment Behavioural Research Award'. The RZSS ZEBRA programme is a free 30 hour course designed to give 16-18 year old students the opportunity to earn an 'RZSS ZEBR-Award’, providing a valuable insight into a career in conservation, biology or wider sciences.

This programme is part of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland's continuing aim to connect people with nature, and specifically to raise awareness of conservation in the next generation of scientists. In addition to developing professional skills in behavioural research and conservation, the course aims to foster many additional transferable skills in the students who complete the course, including presentation skills, teamwork skills and problem solving.

When does the ZEBRA programme run?

The programme will commence at the end of September and will run each Friday afternoon from 2pm to 4pm, excluding school holidays. There will be 15 sessions (30 hours) between September and February.

Typical daily programme

Students will typically enter Edinburgh Zoo and meet at our Education Centre for a 2pm start. Each week the programme will follow the below format:

2.00pm Registration & Induction

2.15pm Conservation Research Activity

3.45pm Animal Case Study in Zoo

4.00pm End 

Students will be free to enter the zoo any time after 12.00pm and stay in the zoo until close should they wish to. Conservation research activities will be designed to develop practical skills. This will include conducting captive behavioural studies, carrying out native wildlife surveys, developing camera trapping techniques and use of statistical data analysis.

Each session will end with a summary in the form of an animal case study, whereby students will learn more about one of our endangered zoo animals, how the zoo maintains their welfare in captivity, how their enclosure is designed, and how RZSS is helping with the conservation of their species. 

What's in it for me?

This course has the potential to be hugely beneficial to students attending. The course aims for students to:

  • Improve their understanding of biology, conservation and how zoos work.
  • Boost their CV as they prepare for applications to Universities or careers.
  • Experience behavioural research first hand while studying our amazing zoo animals.
  • Develop a professional skillset that will help them in future careers.
  • Have the chance to meet new like-minded people.
  • Foster useful professional connections within the zoo world.
  • Gain regular access to Edinburgh Zoo to engage in outdoor learning.
  • Receive an RZSS ZEBR-Award (Please note: issuing of this award dependent on the student attending a minimum of 80% of the course (12 of the 15 sessions), including the final presentation. Students who fail to meet this level of attendance will not receive the Award at the end of the course unless an exemption has been agreed.)

And most importantly, this is a fantastic opportunity for the student to simply have fun!

What does it cost?

The ZEBRA programme is FREE to for pupils who attend City of Edinburgh Council schools or colleges, or students whose home address is within Edinburgh Council’s boundary. Unfortunately at this stage we are unable to accept applicants who do not meet this requirement.

How to book your place

To apply for a FREE place please complete the attached Application Form and return it via email to:

The application deadline is Thursday 29th August 2019. The course starts on Friday 27th September 2019.

Places on this course are limited, with only 30 free places available annually to students from across Edinburgh. All applicants should hear as to whether their application has been successful or not within 1 week of the application deadline passing.

Please note: To be eligible for the free places on this course you must currently attend a school or college within the Edinburgh City Council boundary, or else have a home address within Edinburgh City Council’s boundary. If you should withdraw from the programme within 2 weeks of the start date (or any time after this) a cancellation charge of £50.00 may be applied.

Any questions?

If want to know more about this programme, or have any other enquiries, please contact us at:


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