Colchester Zoo has always cared passionately about the world's threatened species and formed its charitable arm, Action for the Wild, as a means to provide support to a broad spectrum of conservation projects and initiatives worldwide. Through the provision of both financial and technical assistance it aims to assist in raising awareness among local people in community conservation programmes as well as support conservation research.
Today the charity supports 20 projects worldwide encompassing a wide range of species from orang-utans to vultures, pygmy hippos to komodo dragons and elephants to moths, with projects including the Elephant Orphanage in Zambia, The Gyps Vulture Restoration Project in Pakistan and Free the Bears.
In 2004, Action for the Wild's first stand-alone project, the UmPhafa Private Nature Reserve, was established with the purchase of 4,500 hectares of old cattle farm in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa, to create a conservation area exclusively for the research of African flora and fauna, and as a centre for environmental education.
Following extensive measures to rehabilitate the habitat and recreate much of the regions former species assemblage, UmPhafa is now home to a wide range of mammalian species including white rhino, giraffe, leopard, spotted hyena and zebra, as well as an array of smaller carnivores and antelope species.