Chester Conservationists Help Reintroduce Rare Plant

After 10 years’ worth of conservation work, one of planet Earth’s rarest plants has been successfully reintroduced in Wales. To give the plant its full name, Cotoneaster cambricus has been classed as a critically endangered plant species. It can’t be encountered anywhere else except the exposed cliff faces of North Wales.

While Chester Zoo is better known for its work striving to prevent endangered animals in the UK and overseas from becoming extinct, its conservationists have played a valuable role in the project. Working alongside an expert team comprising specialists from a range of local and national bodies, including the National Trust and National Botanic Garden Wales, Chester Zoo has now planted 30 instances of the species in an unnamed location as part of efforts to bolster the plant’s wild population.

For a number of years, the zoo’s dedicated nursery team has cultivated the plants in Chester preparing for the day of reintroduction. Nursery Team Manager for Chester Zoo, Richard Hewitt, commented:

“This is an incredibly proud moment for myself and the nursery team here at Chester Zoo. Our team has nurtured these plants from seedlings and to see them, several years later, finally be returned to the wild and provide hope for this species is a remarkable feeling.”

Considered a botanical national treasure today, Cotoneaster cambricus wasn’t always so rare. During the 18th century it was widespread in Wales, but its numbers plummeted to a staggering six plants due to over picking for their prized beauty.

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