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Spotlighting Homeless Women: Creating a new streamline service at Sutton Night Watch Charity to help women at risk of abuse    
Spotlighting Homeless Women: Creating a new streamline service at Sutton Night Watch Charity to help women at risk of abuse    
Scaling Up Mitcham Zoo – digitisation and partnerships to explore using small exotic reptiles as companion pets for social prescribing
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What is this project about?

Mitcham Zoo is a newly incorporated non-profit business specialising in the rescue and rehoming of exotic reptiles. The company is unique in its provision of services, with no direct competition, although petting zoos and farms offer similar services with small domesticated animals. The company is family run, and after receiving an influx of abandoned reptiles during Covid-19, is now at capacity for intake because of the high demands for animal care, while being bottlenecked by donations and access to funding.


This project seeks to reinvigorate the growth potential of this business through two channels. We will host an exhibition at the University of Roehampton, to help us collection information to co-design the features of a social prescribing programme which investigates how exotic reptiles might be good companion pets for the elderly. As the elderly have mobility issues, companion pets like dogs and cats might not be the most suitable pets for their group. Secondly, we seek to improve the efficiency of animal monitoring and management by migrating the family’s notes, ledgers, and production catalogue on a digital system for Mitcham Zoo. 

Roehampton’s team will support on both channels, using cutting edge digital frameworks, providing access to student volunteers, and coordinating research on the public engagement with the reptiles at our exhibition. We hope to leverage these channels to uplift the growth potential of Mitcham Zoo by optimising its operations into a potential social prescribing programme. 


Mitcham Zoo:

Mitcham Zoo is a family run animal rescue and rehoming centre specialising in exotic reptiles. Mitcham Zoo aims to give homes to unwanted, sick or injured reptiles so they can live out their lives in a safe, secure and caring environment. Based in South London, Mitcham Zoo enjoy nothing more than sharing our love of all animals with our family,  friends,  neighbours and the local community; we do this by offering Animal Encounters & Handling experiences for schools, community groups like Scouts, public events, private parties and film/tv work.

Our Reptile Showcase Day - University of Roehampton 


We welcomed over 150 guests through our campus to interact and engage with our exotic reptile guests, courtesy of our project collaboration with Mitcham Zoo. During the course of the day, our Life Sciences Zoology students were able to help educate their peers and staff members about reptile care and management. Rich discussions around reptiles and their added benefits for mental heath and wellbeing were explored. 

Project Collaborators

Dr Julia Reiss (Life Sciences)

I am a freshwater biologist with a particular interest in the taxonomy and ecology of aquatic fauna. In my research I combine ecological theory and environmental topics (for instance nutrient and chemical pollution of fresh waters) and focus on vulnerable taxonomic groups such as organisms that cannot be seen with the naked eye but that drive the bulk of ecosystem processes on our planet. For example, freshwater quality (i.e. the health of groundwater, lakes or rivers) is maintained by a community composed of mostly tiny organisms.

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