Marleen Huyghe

After a career of almost 35 years working for ZOO Antwerpen en ZOO Planckendael Marleen Huyghe has recently retired. 


As bird curator I am responsible for the bird collection of Antwerp ZOO and Planckendael ZOO. I manage both bird collections in close cooperation with the bird coordinator and responsible keepers. This includes the development of a collection plan for birds, the husbandry, the nutrition and the transactions involved. Our aim is to keep the birds according to the last animal welfare standards and to participate actively in breeding programs for endangered species (EEP) whenever possible. International cooperation with zoo colleagues from other countries helps to provide the best housing standards for our animals. Furthermore, I’m involved in the development of new projects for birds in both parks.

Extra activities

Besides my daily curator task, I’m involved in vulture conservation in Europe, being a member of the Advisory Board of the Vulture Conservation Foundation (VCF). My focus is the Eurasian black vulture (Aegypius monachus), for which I manage the studbook in Europe within EAZA (European Association of Zoos and Aquaria)

Through the VCF I’m also active in reintroduction projects for this species. Within EAZA I specialize in the ex situ management of different bird species, like birds of prey, Ciconiiformes, Penguins, …

Research Interests

My current research interest is focused on the ex situ breeding of Eurasian black vultures, how to improve the captive breeding of this species. Behavioral observations and analysis of 30 years of breeding data will be used to hopefully gain more information on the clues to optimize breeding ex situ. This research will be done in close collaboration with the Centre for Research and Conservation (CRC) of Antwerp ZOO and Planckendael ZOO, where Philippe Helsen is conducting the genetics on the in situ and ex situ populations of the species.

Brief Biography

I obtained a master’s degree in Zoology at the University of Louvain. For several years I worked for Traffic Belgium and started in 1988 to work at Antwerp ZOO and Planckendael ZOO. First as curator in Planckendael ZOO and since 2009 as bird curator in both parks.

Key contributions

Huyghe, M., Gottschlich, J., Pereboom, J.(2009) Husbandry guidelines for the European black vulture (Aegypius monachus)