Science and Research

Through their living collections, zoos and aquariums are uniquely placed to contribute to conservation-related research. Zoos and aquariums may undertake research to further their own as well as other institutions' aims (e.g. by collaborating with universities). Research categories include studies in pure and applied biological sciences (e.g. behaviour, genetics, diseases and reproduction), in situ conservation research (e.g. socio-economic and field surveys) and research aimed at developing other roles (e.g. visitor learning and marketing surveys).


Zoos and aquariums can develop their research capacity by establishing research units within their own organisation, by supporting research projects and by developing collaborative partnerships with research institutions. In this regard, WAZA contributes by providing (financial) support for research aspects of the WAZA conservation projects. Zoos and aquariums can also support publications, symposia and workshops for the dissemination of research results, which is how WAZA mainly contributes to research.


There is also a major research facility among the affiliate members of WAZA, the IZW – Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research in Berlin. This institute cooperates with numerous WAZA members and undertakes research in various fields, including evolutionary ecology, evolutionary genetics, wildlife diseases, reproduction biology and reproduction management.


There are five scientific journals specifically devoted to zoo and aquarium research: Zoo Biology, Journal of Zoo and Aquarium Research, Der Zoologische Garten, Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine and International Zoo Yearbook. Der Zoologische Garten is the official organ of WAZA; WAZA financially supports the Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine and collaborates with the International Zoo Yearbook on international studbooks.


The following three publications have resulted from a study on the comparative life expectancy of zoo animals, which was supported by the International Species Information System, IZW Berlin and WAZA:


Müller, D.W.H., Gaillard, J.-M.,  Bingaman Lackey, L., Hatt, J.-M. & Clauss, M. (2010) Comparing life expectancy of three deer species between captive and wild populations. European Journal of Wildlife Research 56: 205−208.


Müller, D.W.H., Bingaman Lackey, L., Streich, J., Hatt, J.-M. & Clauss, M. (2010) Relevance of management and feeding regimens on life expectancy in captive deer. American Journal of Veterinary Research 71: 275−280.


Müller, D.W.H., Bingaman Lackey, L., Streich, W.J., Fickel, J., Hatt, J.-M. & Clauss, M. (2011) Mating system, feeding type and ex situ conservation effort determine life expectancy in captive ruminants. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 278: 20762080..

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  • Science and Research

    Science and Research

    (1) © Erika Travis, (2) © Lester Ledesma, (3) © John Lewis