AskDefine | Define zoo

The Collaborative Dictionary

Zoo- \Zo"o-\ A combining form from Gr. zwo^,n an animal, as in zoogenic, zoology, etc. [1913 Webster]

Word Net

zoo n : the facility where wild animals are housed for exhibition [syn: menagerie, zoological garden]



Shortened form of zoological garden, and now the usual form. See zoology, combining form of Greek zoion an animal, literally a living being, from PIE base * gwei- to live, life (cf. Greek bios life, Old English cwicu living; see bio-) + -logia study, from logos word.


  • /zuː/
  • Rhymes: -uː


  1. A park where live animals are exhibited.
  2. Any place that is wild, crowded, or chaotic.
    The shopping center was a zoo the week before Christmas.

Related terms


park where live animals are exhibited
  • Afrikaans: dieretuin
  • Arabic: (ħadīeqat al-ħayawanāt)
  • Bosnian: zoološki vrt
  • Chinese:
    Mandarin: 动物园
  • Czech: zoo
  • Dutch: dierentuin, zoo
  • Esperanto: zoo
  • Estonian: loomaaed
  • Finnish: eläintarha
  • French: zoo
  • German: Zoo, Tiergarten, Tierpark
  • Italian: zoo
  • Japanese: 動物園 (どうぶつえん)
  • Korean: 동물원 (dongmulweon)
  • Maltese: żu
  • Persian: (baghe vahš)
  • Portuguese: zôo, zoológico, jardim zoológico
  • Russian: зоопарк
  • Serbian:
    Cyrillic: зоолошки врт
    Roman: zoološki vrt
  • Slovak: zoologická záhrada
  • Slovene: živalski vrt
  • Spanish: zoo, jardín zoo, zoológico
  • Swedish: Zoo, djurpark
  • Turkish: hayvanat bahçesi



  1. zoo



  1. zoo




  1. zoo

Related terms



  1. zoo

Related terms



  1. zoo

Related terms

A zoo or zoological garden is a facility in which animals are confined within enclosures, displayed to the public, and in which they may also be bred. Relatively new terms for zoos, which were coined in the late twentieth century, are conservation park or biopark. Adopting a new name is a strategy by some zoo professionals to distance their institutions from the stereotypical and nowadays criticized zoo concept of the nineteenth century.
Collections of wild animals existed already in the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia, Egypt, and China. In medieval Europe some monarchs, monasteries, and municipalities continued to maintain collections of wild animals. The transition from menagerie, a predominantly private collection, to public institution marks the beginning of the modern zoo concept. Collections established during the nineteenth century began calling themselves zoological gardens. Throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, many new zoos and related facilities were founded for very different motives and purposes.
Zoo professionals proclaim exalting and demanding aims for their institutions, from educating the public to conservation of biodiversity. Many zoos define their aims as recreation, education, research, and conservation. Animal-rights groups claim that there is a wide gap between these claimed aims and actual practice, and that zoos have commercial and entertainment purposes in mind as well as financial profit.
Types of zoo include urban, open-range, safari, animal theme, roadside, rescue, sanctuary, petting, and specialized. The most traditional form of maintaining wild animals in captivity is keeping them in pits, barren cages constructed of concrete or metal, in small aviaries, or fenced paddocks. Most zoological gardens incorporated within international umbrella organizations are led by professionals such as zoologists or veterinarians.


The terms zoo and zoological garden, that refer to zoology (from Greek: zωο, zoion, "animal"; and λόγος, logos, "knowledge"), did not come into use until the modern zoo concept developed during the nineteenth century. The Zoological Society of London first used this term to describe its collection at Regent's Park, although this collection was simultaneously referred to as a menagerie. Most zoo founders of the nineteenth century operated with the term zoological garden to distinguish their institutions from the aristocratic and travelling menageries. The abbreviation zoo first appeared in Britain about 1847, when it was used for the Clifton Zoo, but it was not until some twenty years later that the shortened form became popular by a song called "Walking in the Zoo on Sunday". Relatively new terms for zoos, which were coined in the late twentieth century, are conservation park or biopark. Adopting a new name is a strategy by some zoo professionals to distance their institutions from the stereotypical and nowadays criticized zoo concept of the nineteenth century.


From ancient to modern times

Collections of wild animals existed already in the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia, Egypt, and China. In ancient China, wild animals, especially exotic species, held the interest of rulers and the wealthy class. Starting with the founder of the Shang dynasty (ca. 1500 BC), China's rulers built animal reserves. However, it was Wen Wang, founder of the Zhou dynasty (ca. 1000-200 BC), who built the first well-known animal reserve, which he called Lingyou, commonly referred to as the "Garden of Intelligence". A more accurate translation would be "Garden for the Encouragement of Knowledge". This reserve and similar parks owned by the wealthy class of the Zhou period were large, walled-in natural areas that required their own staffs of administrators, keepers, and veterinarians. The rulers of the Han, Qin, Tang, and Song dynasties continued the fashion of large royal parks, where birds and mammals were kept in cages for personal pleasure and the demonstration of wealth and power.
Also in the ancient Greek and Roman world live animal collections existed. Historians have written many publications about extravagant and bloodthirsty spectacles in Rome, involving wild animals. However, little has been written about the facilities of keeping those animals. The Latin word vivarium referred to the stockyards and arenas where wild animals were held for public spectacles. In medieval Europe some monarchs, monasteries, and municipalities continued to maintain collections of wild animals. One of these collections was the Tower Menagerie in London. Menageries owned by monarchs and wealthy aristocrats can be seen as the predecessor institution of the modern zoological garden. The oldest existing zoo, the Tiergarten Schönbrunn in Vienna, evolved from such an aristocratic menagerie, founded by the Habsburg monarchy in 1752.

Evolution of the modern zoo concept

The transition from menagerie, a predominantly private collection, to public institution marks the beginning of the modern zoo concept. Collections established during the nineteenth century began calling themselves zoological gardens. In some cases this was simply fashionable since zoos were considered professionally managed facilities, whether they were or not. In other cases there was an emphasis on education and science rather than on entertainment. The first modern zoo, established particularly for scientific and educational purposes according to its founders, was the Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes as part of the Muséum national d'histoire naturelle in Paris (1793). About thirty years later, the members of the Zoological Society of London adopted the idea of the early Paris zoo when they established London Zoo in 1827.
In the United States, physician William Camac initiated the incorporation of the Zoological Society of Philadelphia in 1859. According to the society's charter, "The object of this Corporation shall be the purchase and collection of living wild and other animals, for the purpose of public exhibition at some suitable place in the City of Philadelphia, for the instruction and recreation of the people." The American Civil War interrupted these efforts so that the opening of the Philadelphia Zoo delayed until 1874. Some years ago, about 1861/62, a smaller zoo with lower standards had been already established in New York City, the Central Park Zoo. When the first American zoological gardens came into existence, only a few supporters of the early animal welfare movement spoke out against zoos. Humanitarians protested cruelty in training animals for circuses more often than they opposed zoos. Their concerns were that zoo animals were healthy and well cared for, and not subjected to cruelty or pain.
Throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, many new zoos and related facilities were founded for very different motives and purposes. Cultural and philosophical attitudes as well as political developments such as imperialism had an impact on the appearance and aims of zoological gardens. Human beings were sometimes displayed in zoos along with non-human animals, supposedly to illustrate the differences between people of European and non-European origin (“Human zoos”). According to historians Eric Baratay and Elisabeth Hardouin-Fugier the zoos of that period reflected the determination of imperialist nations to classify and dominate.
When ecology emerged as a matter of public interest through the 1970s, a few zoos began to consider making conservation their central role, with Gerald Durrell of Jersey Zoo, George Rabb of Brookfield Zoo, and William G. Conway of Bronx Zoo leading the discussion. Since then, zoo professionals became increasingly aware of the need to engage themselves in conservation.. The changes at zoos have served both the ideology of environmentalism and the day-to-day needs of zoos to maintain their collections. Many of contemporary zoos led by professionals show fewer species and display social animals in groups; landscape immersion exhibits replicate animal habitats. see List of zoos


Zoo professionals proclaim exalting and demanding aims for their institutions, from educating the public to conservation of biodiversity. Many zoos define their aims as recreation, education, research, and conservation. Animal-rights groups claim that there is a wide gap between the claimed aims and actual practice, and that owners of zoos have commercial and entertainment purposes in mind to increase their financial profit. Some zoos work to save endangered species, but most animals in zoos are bred in captivity for the purpose of public display, not species protection. In his 1985 critique of zoos, philosopher Dale Jamieson asserted that zoos generally do not live up to their own goals, that zoo animals are deprived of freedom for little social or scientific good, and that zoos cause suffering without producing compensatory benefits for animals or people. Jamieson argues that a moral presumption against keeping animals in captivity outweighs any benefit that might accrue from education, science, or species preservation. The animal rights philosophy refuses zoos as a matter of principle. Keeping wild animals in captivity is seen as human domination over other creatures. French historians Baratay and Hardouin-Fugier see zoos as an allegory for the contradictions of modern Western societies: "The zoo made concrete, in an enclosed space, what society wanted to do in nature, as, with the advance of urbanization, people felt an increasing need to preserve the wild. But the desire remained unrealized, because Western society did not want its methods called into question, and because, in the final analysis, it preferred to transplant, delimit, cultivate and arrange nature however and wherever it liked, rather than leave places truly free of human influence."


Recreation, which is close to entertainment and pleasure, does not benefit the welfare of the zoo animals, but that of the zoo visitors. Jamieson points out that "we should have the honesty to recognize that zoos are for us rather than for the animals". According to Swiss zoologist Heini Hediger recreation is one of the most important aims of the modern zoo in the face of proceeding urbanization and alienation from nature. People, especially from urbanized areas, should be given the opportunity to relax and to enjoy a naturalistic environment in their very neighbourhood.


Since the beginning of the modern zoological gardens education and therefore the propagation of biological knowledge has been one of the most prominent aims claimed by zoo professionals. Already in 1829, London Zoo published its first guide to the zoo. Today’s educational efforts of zoos concentrate mostly on ecological and conservation issues. The idea of conservation education at zoos has a longer history than it is often acknowledged. This idea was foremost among the goals of the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum as it was planned in the early 1950s. Animal exhibits were one component of the museum, which was begun with the goal of educating the public about the plant life and scenic value of the desert. Although the museum's focus was regional, and it was not a traditional zoo, directors of many American zoos looked to it as a model. Many zoos now have an education department, a classroom, and full time educational officers. Edinburgh Zoo has pioneered a scheme called "interlink" which combines the resources of the zoo, local museums, and the botanical gardens to create educational courses. Like several other zoos it offers teachers a range of courses from day trips with infants to intensive courses for advanced students. In 1991, over 50,000 students were involved with structured courses at Edinburgh Zoo. However, critics say that there is no educational value in exhibiting wild animals in artificial environments. According to them true respect for wildlife could only be stimulated by learning about animals in their natural habitat. Rather than promoting respect for understanding behavioral and ecological aspects of animals, signs in zoos often provide little more information than an animal’s species, diet, and natural range.


Classical zoological gardens played a role in research in comparative anatomy and physiology in the nineteenth century. Contemporary research efforts focus on ethology and conservation breeding. According to William Conway zoo science would contribute basic biological information and technological know-how to the increasingly demanding tasks of wildlife care in constricted habitats.


Up to now, only a few species such as the Przewalski’s Horse, the American Bison, or the California Condor could be saved from extinction and reintroduced to the wild. The American Bison, for example, was close to extinction at the beginning of the twentieth century. In 1907, the Bronx Zoo led by William T. Hornaday was the first zoo to help the American Bison Society with its reintroduction project, sending 15 bison to the Wichita Forest Reserve in Oklahoma. Other reservation herds were established in succeeding years using additional zoo-bred animals. By 1933, there were 4,404 bison in the United States and 17,043 in Canada. Although most species maintained in zoos are not endangered, and those that are will likely seldom be released into natural habitats, biologist Colin Tudge emphasizes the urgency of ex-situ conservation in zoos in the face of increasing threat to natural habitats. In 1993, the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA), formerly known as the International Union of the Directors of Zoological Gardens, produced its first conservation strategy. In November 2004, WAZA adopted a new strategy that sets out the aims and mission of zoological gardens of the twenty-first century. The captive breeding of endangered species is coordinated by cooperative breeding programs. Under the auspices of WAZA, 182 International Studbooks are kept. These studbooks are coordinated by the Zoological Society of London. About 810 animal species and subspecies are managed under cooperative breeding programmes at the level of the regional association members such as the Species Survival Plan (SSP), established 1981, or the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP), established 1985.
But critics point to the marginal contribution of zoos to the preservation of biodiversity. Andrew Linzey, director of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics, argues that zoos make a "minuscule contribution to conservation." Most conservation experts agree that few of the rare or endangered species can be saved from extinction by breeding them in captivity. In 1990, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) drew up an action plan for the survival of 1370 species. It considered that the reintroduction of captive bred animals could assist in the conservation of only 19 species (1.4 percent). How controversial ex-situ conservation is, shows the captive breeding program for the critically endangered Sumatran rhinoceros. Between 1984 and 1996, 40 Sumatran Rhinos were transported from their native habitat to zoos and reserves across the world. After years of failed attempts and a dramatic decline of the captive population, one individual gave birth to a healthy male calf at Cincinnati Zoo in September 2001. This was the first successful captive birth of a Sumatran Rhino in 112 years. Two other calves followed in 2004 and 2007. Despite the recent successes in Cincinnati, the captive breeding program has remained controversial. Proponents argue that zoos have aided the conservation effort by studying the reproductive habits, raising public awareness and education about the rhinos, and helping raise financial resources for conservation efforts in Sumatra. Opponents of the captive breeding program argue that losses are too great; the program too expensive; removing rhinos from their habitat, even temporarily, alters their ecological role; and captive populations cannot match the rate of recovery seen in well-protected native habitats.


Urban zoos

Urban zoos are the classical zoological gardens that stand in the tradition of the nineteenth century zoo concept, even if some of them changed their names to Conservation Park or Biopark. Most of them are relatively small in size and based within cities or urbanized areas, a fact that often complicates the construction of more sizable enclosures.

Open-range zoos

A number of open-range zoos have been established since the early 1930s in rural surroundings. The prototype is Whipsnade Park, England, established by the Zoological Society of London in 1932 (600 acres, 2.4 km²). Fewer species are exhibited in such zoos than in urban zoos, but they are mostly kept in more sizable enclosures. The largest zoo in terms of size is the 1,800-acre (7 km²) San Diego Wild Animal Park in the Pasqual Valley, California, that is run by the Zoological Society of San Diego. The Werribee Open Range Zoo near Melbourne, Australia, concentrates on displaying animals living in a wide open savanna. This 500-acre zoo is managed by the Zoological Parks and Gardens Board which also manages Melbourne Zoo. One of only two American state supported zoos is the 535-acre North Carolina Zoo located in Asheboro, North Carolina.

Safari parks

A safari park is a zoo-like commercial tourist attraction where visitors can drive in their own vehicles and observe the wildlife, rather than viewing animals in cages or small enclosures. Most safari parks were established in a short period of ten years, between 1966 and 1975.

Animal theme parks

An animal theme park is a combination of an amusement park and a zoo, mainly for entertaining and commercial purposes. Marine mammal parks such as Sea World and Marineland are more elaborate dolphinariums keeping whales, and containing additional entertainment attractions.
Another kind of animal theme park is Disney's Animal Kingdom in Orlando, Florida or Busch Gardens Africa in Tampa, Florida. These commercial parks are similar to open-range zoos according to size (550 acres, 2 km²), but different in intention and appearance since they contain far more entertainment elements (stage shows, roller coasters, mythical creatures etc.).

Roadside zoos

There are hundreds of substandard wildlife attractions throughout the United States and Canada called roadside zoos. These mainly amateur facilities are usually privately owned and occasionally accredited by the American zoo organization AZA. The focus is on amusing customers, rather than on meeting the needs of the animals. Roadside zoos often lack trained, experienced animal care staff, proper funding and safety practices. Animals are confined to small, barren, often filthy cages, and suffer poor welfare as a result of inadequate housing, care and diet. Roadside zoos breed animals in order to have a constant supply of cute babies to attract the public. Big cat rescues, primate rescues, and native wildlife rescues are overwhelmed due to the constant influx of animals coming out of roadside zoos.

Rescues and sanctuaries

Animal welfare supporters have funded the construction and set-up of sanctuaries for wild animals. The animal welfare organization WSPA established several of these facilities for rescued bears worldwide. According to the organization those in Greece and Turkey have helped stamp out the tradition of forcing bears to perform tricks for public entertainment. Another type of sanctuary takes the form of a rehabilitation and release center. An example of this is the Idaho Black Bear Rehabilitation Center, where orphaned bear cubs are cared for and prepared for release back into the wild. Another sanctuary, especially for apes and primates, is 65-acre (0.26 km²) Monkey World near Wool, Dorset, England. Set up in 1987 it was originally intended to provide a home for abused chimpanzees used by Spanish beach photographers, but is now home to many different species of primates.

Petting zoos

A petting zoo, also called children's farms or children's zoos, features a combination of domestic animals and wild species that are docile enough to touch and feed. To ensure the animals' health, the food is supplied by the zoo, either from vending machines or a kiosk nearby.

Specialized zoos

Some zoos specialized on specific groups of animals such as bird parks (public aviaries), reptile zoos (reptile centre, serpentaria), public aquaria or butterfly zoos.


Traditional enclosures and new approaches

The most traditional form of maintaining wild animals in captivity is keeping them in pits, cages constructed of metal bars or concrete, in aviaries, or fenced paddocks, although many zoos replaced these by more elaborate and spacious enclosures.
German merchant Carl Hagenbeck developed a new form of animal exhibition at the beginning of the twentieth century. When he opened his private owned zoo at Stellingen near Hamburg, (Tierpark Hagenbeck) in 1907, Hagenbeck had broken with a strong tradition to exhibit animals in accordance with taxonomy. He created a new style of exhibition based on ecological and geographical habitats including different species. For example, the "Northern Panorama" exhibited seals and walruses in a pool in the foreground, with reindeer behind them, and polar bears behind the reindeer. The different enclosures were divided with moats not visible to the public, and the successive enclosures were higher than the one in front. The exhibits were landscaped with plants and artificial rocks. This gave the public the impression they were seeing the animals together in one natural habitat. After initial skepticism, many zoological gardens throughout the world adopted Hagenbeck's ideas and replaced traditional enclosures. Edinburgh Zoo, for example, was one of these institutions inspired by Hagenbeck’s new design. Even if this kind of exhibiting animals to the public was revolutionary in the history and evolution of zoo design, the actual space provided to the animals remained relatively small and was, in fact, not different from that of the traditional enclosures. The new panoramas benefited the aesthetic sense of visitors and can be seen as mainly anthropocentric constructions.
From the 1950s on, first attempts were made to integrate the behavioural needs of the animals into zoo design. This approach based on the ideas of Swiss zoologist Heini Hediger who published his book Wild Animals in Captivity in 1942, translated into English in 1950. In this work he gave cogent arguments for a biological and particularly behavioural approach to zoo design and animal care.But the attempts to integrate the knowledge about animal behaviour into zoo design were often ineffectual and not consequently implemented. More important than behaviour and welfare of the animals remained hygienic aspects and, above all, architectural innovation such as New Brutalism. The Elephant and Rhino Pavilion at London Zoo, built 1962-1965, is such an example. Most enclosures constructed from the 1950s to the 1970s were sterile and small cages made of concrete or ceramic tiles.
Due to limited space and a lack of financial means it still remains difficult to construct adequate enclosures, particularly for large animals and their requirement for a sizable territory. According to animal rights groups, zoos lacking the financial means or the interest in constructing more elaborate enclosures still keep their animals in inadequate conditions. These conditions can cause stereotypic behavior.Elephants in zoos can also often suffer from arthritis and foot disease. Only some zoological gardens are able to raise enough funds and have sufficient space to build more adequate enclosures for these animals. Such an example is urban Cologne Zoo, Germany, which opened in 2004 an indoor and outdoor elephant enclosure of about five acres. In 2006, three American zoos (Lion Country Safari, Philadelphia Zoo, Gladys Porter Zoo) announced the closure of their elephant exhibits due to a lack of space. Two other zoos, Bronx Zoo and Santa Barbara Zoo, announced the phase-out of their elephant exhibits.

Landscape immersion

During the 1980s many zoological gardens, first in the United States, changed their policy of designing animal enclosures. The so called "landscape immersion", a term coined by Seattle architect Grant Jones, transformed visibly the outlook and appearance of many zoos throughout the United States. The idea and concept of landscape immersion combines a naturalistic and realistic imitation of natural habitats with the environmental needs of the animals. It was developed by several landscape architects during the wholesale renovation of Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle in the late 1970s encouraged by zoo director David Hancocks. The first landscape immersion exhibit, an enclosure for gorillas, designed by Johnpaul Jones, opened in 1978 at Woodland Park Zoo. For the first time, zoo gorillas had trees to climb, places to hide, a complex landscape to explore, and live vegetation to interact with. According to the original idea and philosophy of landscape immersion the visitors are given the sense they were actually in the animals' habitat. Buildings and barriers are hidden and vegetation plays a dominant role.
Specific forms of exhibit that can also be referred to landscape immersion are walk-through enclosures and walk-in aviaries. A few European zoos had already realized such exhibits before the term landscape immersion was coined. These ideas were integrated into the concept of landscape immersion and consequently advanced. In contemporary zoos, there are a lot of walk-through exhibits, particularly for birds and small primates. One example is Apenheul Zoo, Netherlands, where visitors can get into direct contact with squirrel monkeys and lemuridae on moated islands.
Associated with these changes of zoo design are large tropical indoor exhibits. Bronx Zoo’s 37,000-square-foot Asian rainforest "Jungle World", opened in 1985, is a pioneer exhibit of its kind. Leipzig Zoo, Germany, is currently building a similar, but more giant project, the so called "Gondwanaland". The transformation of zoos according to the concept of landscape immersion is slow and still in progress since the changes require extraordinarily financial and technical expenditures.

Management and animal care


Related and similar institutions in aims, staff and history are public aquaria. At the time when the first zoological gardens were established during the nineteenth century also public aquaria came into existence. Today, both zoos and public aquaria are integrated in the same national and international umbrella organizations. These zoo associations proclaim to force their members to achieve certain standards in animal management, veterinary care, aims, and stewardship.


Most zoological gardens incorporated within international umbrella organizations are led by professionals such as zoologists or veterinarians. Responsible for the actual care of the animals within these institutions are well trained zoo keepers. Some keepers can become highly specialized such as those who concentrate on a specific group of animals like birds, great apes, elephants or reptiles. Daily basic duties of zoo keepers include cleaning and maintenance of animal enclosures and feeding of the animals. The educational requirements for an entry level zoo keeper vary but are often a college degree in zoology, biology or an animal-related field. Some colleges offer programs oriented towards a career in zoos. Job advancement is also possible but more limited than in some other careers requiring a college degree. Some zoos, particularly roadside zoos, are private-owned amateur facilities with a lack of well trained personnel.

Animal care

Most contemporary zoos led by professionals are aware of environmental enrichment, also called behavioral enrichment, as a part of the daily care of animals. Environmental enrichment refers to the practice of providing animals with environmental stimuli. The goal of environmental enrichment is to improve an animal's quality of life by increasing physical activity, stimulating natural behaviors, and preventing or reducing stereotypical behaviors.
But sometimes even those zoos proclaiming high standards can fail to meet them in some way. After a series of publicized animal deaths at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Zoological Park (National Zoo) in early 2003, the National Academies released an interim report in 2004 and an final report in 2005.
Another example is the captive breeding management of great apes where these animals and their infants are traded and shuttled from place to place.
Some practices in certain countries with low-income economies are frowned upon by many western, high-income societies. Some examples include:
The Badaltearing Safari Park's practices (China), where zoo visitors can throw live goats into the lions' enclosure and watch them being eaten, or can purchase live chickens tied to bamboo rods to dangle into lion pens. Visitors can drive through the lion's compound on buses with specially designed chutes leading into the enclosure into which they can also push the live chickens.
Xiongsen Bear and Tiger Mountain Village's (near Guilin in south-east China) practice in which live cows are fed to tigers to amuse visitors.
Qingdao Zoo's practices, (near Beijing, China) where visitors engage in "tortoise baiting, in which they are encouraged to throw coins at the turtle's heads. The turtles here have elastic bands around their necks, so that they can't retract.
Orcas, Beluga Whales and Bottlenose Dolphins are caught from the wild for public display around the world. In the past, dolphins captured in so called dolphin drive huntings at the coasts of Japan have been exported to the United States for several marine mammal parks. Other countries are still importing dolphins from the Japanese drive hunts, for example China and Taiwan.
The downside to breeding the animals in captivity is that thousands of them are placed on "surplus lists", and sold to circuses, animal merchants, auctions, pet owners, and game farms. The San Jose Mercury News conducted a two-year study that suggested of the 19,361 mammals who left accredited zoos in the United States between 1992 and 1998, 7,420 (38 percent) went to dealers, auctions, hunting ranches, unaccredited zoos and individuals, and game farms. Zoos have advertised surplus animals in the Animal Finders' Guide, a newsletter in which the owners of hunting ranches post notices of sales and auctions. Animals who breed frequently, such as deer, tiger, and lions may be killed for their meat. Deputy director of Nuremberg Zoo, Germany, said: "If we cannot find good homes for the animals, we kill them and use them as feed." Other animals may be sold to smaller zoos with poor conditions. PETA cites the example of Edith, a chimpanzee found in a concrete pit in a roadside zoo called the Amarillo Wildlife Refuge in Texas. She had been born in Saint Louis Zoo, but had been sold just after her third birthday, and for the next 37 years was passed around five other facilities before landing in the roadside zoo. It was alleged in March 2008 that hundreds of the Berlin Zoo's 23,000 animals are missing, amid allegations that they have been slaughtered, and that some tigers and leopards were sent to China to make drugs for traditional Chinese medicine.


In the United States, any public animal exhibit must be licensed and inspected by the United States Department of Agriculture, United States Environmental Protection Agency, Drug Enforcement Agency, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and others. Depending on the animals they exhibit, the activities of zoos are regulated by laws including the Endangered Species Act, the Animal Welfare Act, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 and others. Additionally, zoos in North America may choose to pursue accreditation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). To achieve accreditation, a zoo must pass an application and inspection process and meet or exceed the AZA's standards for animal health and welfare, fundraising, zoo staffing, and involvement in global conservation efforts. Inspection is performed by three experts (typically one veterinarian, one expert in animal care, and one expert in zoo management and operations) and then reviewed by a panel of twelve experts before accreditation is awarded. This accreditation process is repeated once every five years. The AZA estimates that there are approximately 2,400 animal exhibits operating under USDA license as of February 2007; fewer than 10% are accredited.
In April 1999, the European Union introduced a directive to strengthen the conservation role of zoos, making it a statutory requirement that they participate in conservation and education, and requiring all member states to set up systems for their licensing and inspection.


External links

zoo in Afrikaans: Dieretuin
zoo in Arabic: حديقة حيوان
zoo in Bosnian: Zoološki vrt
zoo in Bulgarian: Зоопарк
zoo in Catalan: Zoològic
zoo in Czech: Zoologická zahrada
zoo in Danish: Zoologisk have
zoo in German: Zoo
zoo in Spanish: Jardín zoológico
zoo in Esperanto: Zoo
zoo in Persian: باغ وحش
zoo in French: Parc zoologique
zoo in Korean: 동물원
zoo in Croatian: Zoološki vrt
zoo in Indonesian: Kebun binatang
zoo in Italian: Giardino zoologico
zoo in Hebrew: גן חיות
zoo in Swahili (macrolanguage): Bustani ya wanyama
zoo in Lithuanian: Zoologijos sodas
zoo in Hungarian: Állatkert
zoo in Dutch: Dierentuin
zoo in Japanese: 動物園
zoo in Norwegian: Dyrehage
zoo in Norwegian Nynorsk: Dyrehage
zoo in Low German: Zoo
zoo in Polish: Ogród zoologiczny
zoo in Portuguese: Jardim zoológico
zoo in Russian: Зоологический парк
zoo in Simple English: Zoo
zoo in Slovak: Zoologická záhrada
zoo in Finnish: Eläintarha
zoo in Swedish: Djurpark
zoo in Tamil: விலங்குக் காட்சிச்சாலை
zoo in Thai: สวนสัตว์
zoo in Turkish: Hayvanat bahçesi
zoo in Ukrainian: Зоопарк
zoo in Contenese: 動物園
zoo in Chinese: 動物園
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