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:
Research/Knowledge on the biology and ecology of each species.
Visitor satisfaction & education.
Financial and human resources.
Past & Present - The Evolution of Zoos in Photos
© Joel Sartore
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?
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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
Photo: Chicago Zoological Society
"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. "
"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. "