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: 

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."

Check here how WAZA is promoting animal welfare.


"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."

Find out more about EAZA and their members' commitment to animal welfare.

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."

Access the currently available EAZA Best Practice Guidelines here.

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."

Photo: Chicago Zoological Society

Find out more about AZA's work in animal welfare.

"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. "

Check out all the available Animal Care Manuals by AZA here.

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"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. "

Find out more about ZAA's position on animal welfare.

Zoo Animal Welfare: Strategies & Tools

Photo: Smithsonian National Zoo

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Photo: Louisville Zoo

Other Zoo Animal Welfare resources...

Other Zoo Missions...

reintroduction programmes prague zoo.jpg

Photo: Prague Zoo

Photo: Prague Zoo

Photo: Oregon Zoo

research oregon zoo.jpg

Photo: Oregon Zoo

education marwell.jpg

Photo: Marwell Zoo

© 2016 Ricardo Lemos de Figueiredo. Proudly created with

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