Regarded as the rarest animal in Britain, the red-barbed ant (Formica rufibarbis) survives only on the Isles of Scilly and Chobham Common, Surrey.
Until 10 years ago it was found in nests across Surrey's heathland, but with the habitat becoming overgrown their numbers plummeted. Only one nest, which is all-female, remains on the British mainland and unless a number of new nests, some of which must be male, were introduced they would have become extinct.
In 2006 a conservation programme was launched that recorded and managed the existing populations whilst creating a captivity bred population at London Zoo for release in the wild. Volunteers helped to monitor and manage the site and a range of interpretation materials, publicity events and courses raised awareness of the plight of the red-barbed ant. The project successfully released a total of 42 queens and their attendant workers into the wild.