Welcome to the website of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA). Founded in 1935, by a small group of leaders of zoos and aquariums, the organisation once called the International Association of Directors of Zoological Gardens has become WAZA, a global community dedicated to realising the full conservation potential of zoos and aquariums.
Globally, people visit zoos and aquariums over 700 million times each year. This gives WAZA members - over 340 zoos, aquariums, corporate partners and national/regional zoo associations, the potential to be major players in all areas of wildlife conservation. We have the ability, and the capacity, to promote wildlife conservation; to educate people about the vital importance of protecting wildlife and natural habitats; to participate in, contribute to and indeed, drive in-situ conservation; and to be examples of and advocates for exemplary animal welfare wherever wild animals exist.
WAZA's two newest strategies; Committing to Conservation - The World Zoo and Aquarium Conservation Strategy, and Caring for Wildlife - The World Zoo and Aquarium Animal Welfare Strategy, are all about realising this inherent potential.
Committing to Conservation calls on all zoos and aquariums to adopt a One Plan approach to conservation, integrating in-situ and ex-situ planning and activities to manage species conservation holistically. It particularly emphasises inspiring behaviour change, because the main threats to biodiversity are human practices and without changing those we won't reverse species and habitat decline.
Caring for Wildlife offers a structured approach for assessing and managing animal welfare through accreditation, staff awareness, exhibit design and environmental enrichment. The strategy incorporates animal welfare into the conservation activities of zoos and aquariums such as breeding programs and programs for the reintroduction of animals into the wild.
Committing to Conservation and Caring for Wildlife are guides to making animal welfare and conservation the primary focus of zoos and aquariums; the prerequisite to becoming a great zoo or a great aquarium.