University of Bristol
Wellcome Trust
Recommended by:
Society of Biology
PEEP for Physics & Ethics at GCSE


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The Role of Zoos in Conservation.

Good modern Zoos are said to play a vital role in conservation through:

  1. Captive breeding programmes saving species from extinction.
  2. Reintroduction of captive bred animals back into the wild.
  3. Research
  4. Education.

Many people disagree with zoos on animal welfare issues, and also the belief that captive breeding and the reintroduction of animals back into the wild does not work. Some of these issues are looked at more closely in the activity section.

What is a Zoo?

A zoo has a much wider definition than is traditionally thought and defined by Section 21 of the Zoo Licensing Act of 1981:

Open quotean establishment where wild animals (not normally domesticated in the UK - 'exotics') are kept for exhibition to the public otherwise than for purposes of a circus and otherwise than in a pet shop; and this Act applies to any zoo to which members of the public have access, with or without charge for admission, on more than seven days in any period of 12 consecutive monthsClose quote

  • Large zoos (i.e. London, Bristol, Chester etc.
  • Small zoos (i.e. Mole Hall, Linton, Brent Lodge etc.)
  • Wildlife/Safari parks (i.e. Port Lympe, Longleat, Whipsnade etc.
  • Amusement parks with animals (i.e. Chessington World of Adventures, Flamingoland etc.)
  • Sanctuaries and rescue centers with 'exotics' (i.e. Otter Trust, National Seal Sanctuary etc.)
  • Aviaries (i.e. establishment keeping birds, bird of prey centers, park aviaries etc.)
  • Farm parks or open farms with exotics
  • Terrariums (specialising in reptiles and amphibians etc).
  • Aquaria.
  • Butterfly and insect houses.


 The value of Zoos


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