Environmental conservation in Switzerland

Papil­io­ra­ma’s pri­ma­ry mis­sion is to bring vis­i­tors into direct con­tact with nat­ur­al diver­si­ty, so that they can mar­vel for a few moments at its beau­ty and become aware of its fragili­ty every­where on earth. While major exhi­bi­tions are ded­i­cat­ed to the trop­ics, from but­ter­fly bal­lets to night ani­mals and the tou­can jun­gle, the Papil­io­ra­ma Foun­da­tion also makes many efforts for nature in Switzerland.

Wild Seeland

Since its instal­la­tion in Kerz­ers, the Foun­da­tion has revi­tal­ized near­ly half of its out­door area. It has been able to revive a stream chan­nelled for more than 50 years, recre­ate a nat­ur­al pond, flow­er­ing grass­land, wood­lands, and more recent­ly a large wet­land flood­plain, all this with indige­nous species. Its “wild” park­ing lot, with a bare min­i­mum of asphalt sur­faces, is plant­ed with almost all the tree species of the Swiss plateau and sur­round­ed by hedges with 18 shrub species. Sev­er­al rare bird species now nest there. 

European Pond Turtle

Papil­io­ra­ma is also very active in the Swiss project to rein­tro­duce and strength­en the pop­u­la­tions of the Euro­pean pond tur­tle, the only indige­nous tur­tle in Switzer­land. Papil­io­ra­ma par­tic­i­pates direct­ly in the project through a breed­ing sta­tion behind the scenes and a pond and edu­ca­tion­al exhib­it in the visitor’s area. Through the Swiss Asso­ci­a­tion of Sci­en­tif­i­cal­ly Man­aged Zoos (zooschweiz), it also pro­vides a sub­stan­tial part of the pro­jec­t’s funding.

Butterfly conservation at the Vully

Papil­io­ra­ma is also involved in the long-term man­age­ment of a par­tic­u­lar­ly but­ter­fly rich mead­ow at the foot of Mount Vully. 

Final­ly, the Papil­io­ra­ma Foun­da­tion col­lab­o­rates with many oth­er Swiss nature con­ser­va­tion insti­tu­tions and organ­i­sa­tions, for which it is often hap­py to act as a platform.

Environmental Conservation International

Our environmental conservation project in Belize

The Papil­io­ra­ma Foun­da­tion has been involved in the con­ser­va­tion of trop­i­cal forests for sev­er­al decades. In 1989, it ini­ti­at­ed a large-scale con­ser­va­tion project with the cre­ation of the Ship­stern Nature Reserve (88 km2) in Belize, Cen­tral Amer­i­ca. This nature reserve is now a trust in per­pe­tu­ity and an inte­gral part of Belize’s pro­tect­ed areas’ system.

In 2013, Papil­io­ra­ma also made it pos­si­ble to safe­guard two nation­al reserves that were seri­ous­ly threat­ened by lack of pro­tec­tion. Today it man­ages the Fresh­wa­ter Creek For­est Reserve (130 km2) and Hon­ey Camp Nation­al Park (31 km2).

In 2018, after sev­er­al years of inten­sive work, Papil­io­ra­ma and its local NGO suc­ceed­ed in cre­at­ing, in part­ner­ship with the gov­ern­ment, the first major bio­log­i­cal cor­ri­dor in Cen­tral Amer­i­ca (110 km2), which now links all the reserves they protect.

Thus, Papil­io­ra­ma today pro­tects near­ly 400 km2 of trop­i­cal nature, in a region where defor­esta­tion is in full swing.

The Foun­da­tion pro­vides non-finan­cial resources (work­ing hours, premis­es, etc.) for this work and cov­ers all fundrais­ing costs. The reserves annu­al bud­get, in the order of CHF 360 000 per year, is cov­ered by adop­tions of hectares by vis­i­tors to Papil­io­ra­ma, and by dona­tions from oth­er Euro­pean zoos, includ­ing the Roy­al Zoo of Burg­ers in the Nether­lands, a part­ner in the project from the begin­ning. The funds are man­aged by a sis­ter foun­da­tion of Papil­io­ra­ma, the Inter­na­tion­al Foun­da­tion for the Con­ser­va­tion of Trop­i­cal Nature (ITCF).

Other projects

The Papil­io­ra­ma Foun­da­tion par­tic­i­pates in oth­er nature con­ser­va­tion and sci­en­tif­ic research projects. In col­lab­o­ra­tion with oth­er insti­tu­tions, it has set up the “Save Home­rus” project to save the largest swal­low­tail species in the Amer­i­c­as in Jamaica (see also IABES). It also occa­sion­al­ly sup­ports oth­er projects for the con­ser­va­tion of spe­cif­ic species or nature in gen­er­al, often in con­nec­tion with the species it hosts in its exhibits in Kerzers.


We protect 400 km2 of tropical forest in Belize.

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