THE Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) is the first UK zoological society to join the European Commission Global Coalition, ahead of the UN Biodiversity Conference of Parties (COP15) later this year.

The RZSS’s Edinburgh Zoo and Highland Wildlife Park join more than 150 institutions and 25 organisations worldwide which have already pledged their support for #UnitedForBiodiversity.

David Field, RZSS chief executive, said: “We are proud to join this growing list of international organisations standing together on behalf of biodiversity across the globe.

“Our planet is facing an extinction crisis, with scientists warning that one million species are on the brink of disappearing. The UN Biodiversity Conference offers an opportunity to set new goals and transform our relationship with nature for the better.

“We hope more organisations will join our charity in becoming united for biodiversity, and that global leaders will be ambitious in their targets at COP15.”

United For Biodiversity was launched on World Wildlife Day 2020 by the EU commissioner for the environment, oceans and fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevicius, and calls on all zoos, aquariums, botanic gardens, national parks, research centres, science and natural history museums around the world to raise their voices for nature.

As a wildlife conservation charity, RZSS has been safeguarding threatened species from extinction in Scotland and around the world for more than 100 years, with current projects including restoring the Scottish wildcat population and protecting chimpanzees in Uganda.

During the COP15 summit, heads of state, policymakers and scientists are expected to adopt a new global framework to protect and restore nature.

The summit is expected to take place from May 17-30 in Kunming, China after being postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.