The value of zoos for species and society: the need for a new model

Spooner, S.L. ORCID: 0000-0001-6650-3135, Walker, S.L., Dowell, S. and Moss, A., 2023. The value of zoos for species and society: the need for a new model. Biological Conservation, 279: 109925. ISSN 0006-3207

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Zoos and aquaria were founded in a world fundamentally different from today, and yet, the need for such
conservation organisations could not be stronger. We are currently in a climate and biodiversity crisis, with
unprecedented species loss, exacerbated by human actions. The mission of many conservation zoos is to prevent
such extinctions through integrated species conservation actions. The role of zoos has historically been categorised
as fitting within the four pillars of conservation, education, research, and recreation. These ‘pillars’ no
longer align with present day conservation zoos which provide a vast spectrum of services for species and society.
However, in the absence of a new model, the value of zoos has been underestimated and under-supported. We
propose a new model and assessment framework for viewing conservation zoos, with the zoo at the centre of a
web of conservation and societal activities. We acknowledge zoos' potential as conservation hubs able to provide
advice and skills to communities and policy makers. We also reflect on the criticisms and conservation challenges
faced by zoos which may prevent them fulfilling their full potential and how these might impact their future role.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Biological Conservation
Creators: Spooner, S.L., Walker, S.L., Dowell, S. and Moss, A.
Publisher: Elsevier BV
Date: March 2023
Volume: 279
ISSN: 0006-3207
Rights: This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-NDlicense (
Divisions: Schools > School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences
Record created by: Jeremy Silvester
Date Added: 03 May 2024 09:35
Last Modified: 03 May 2024 09:35

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