Animal Welfare

While committing to wildlife conservation, research and education, zoos and aquariums also need to ensure they provide the best possible quality of life to the animals under their care. This is not an easy nor straightforward task as it involves the management and integration of different, sometimes conflicting, aspects. Some of these are: 

African Lions

Research/Knowledge on the biology and ecology of each species.

Human-animal interactions.

Visitor satisfaction & education.

Financial and human resources.

Multi-institutional collaboration.

Past & Present - The Evolution of Zoos in Photos

© Joel Sartore

Click on each photo for more info & source

No zoo is perfect and there is always something to improve animal welfare-wise... but it's undeniable zoos have come a long way!

See for yourself... Check out some historical photos from zoos all over the world... and the recent version!

How are world zoos committing to animal welfare?

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Photo: Oregon Zoo

"We believe that zoos and aquariums have a responsibility to achieve high standards of animal welfare in support of their goals as modern conservation organisations."

World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA)

"The [WAZA Animal Welfare] Strategy recommends that zoos and aquariums apply the welfare model of the Five Domains. The Five Domains model includes four physical/functional domains including nutrition, environment, physical health and behaviour, and one mental domain, together giving insight into the overall welfare status. "

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The "Five Domains" Model of Animal Welfare

(Mellor et al., 2020)


"EAZA Members are proactive in both undertaking and applying animal welfare scientific research, contributing to EAZA being a recognised organisation in animal welfare best-practice."

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Ouwehands Dierenpark

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"EAZA Best Practice Guidelines are produced by the various TAGs to merge expert husbandry knowledge and make it widely available within and outside the borders of the EAZA community."

EAZA Animal Welfare Webinars (Recordings)

Click on each image for link to webinar

North America

"Providing for good animal welfare encompasses both ethical and scientific responsibilities. AZA-accredited institutions have an ethical responsibility to ensure the well-being of the animals in their care. In addition, AZA-accredited institutions have a scientific responsibility to gain a greater understanding of the well-being of the animals in their care by advancing animal welfare science."

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Photo: Chicago Zoological Society

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"AZA Animal Care Manuals (ACMs) provide a compilation of animal care and management knowledge that has been gained from recognized species experts, including AZA Taxon Advisory Groups (TAGs), Species Survival Plan® Programs (SSPs), biologists, veterinarians, nutritionists, reproduction physiologists, behaviorists and researchers. "


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Photo: Perth Zoo

"The one thing that must underpin everything else we do is positive animal welfare. We don’t believe in settling with just “not bad”, we want the animals under our care to experience “great” welfare and live fulfilling lives. To support positive animal welfare, ZAA-accredited zoos and aquariums use the latest in animal welfare science. "

Zoo Animal Welfare: Strategies & Tools

Smithsonian's National Zoo

Environmental Enrichment

Louisville Zoo

Animal Training

Other Zoo Missions

Wildlife Conservation

Prague Zoo

Scientific Research

Oregon Zoo


Marwell Wildlife