Lory Landing at San Antonio Zoo. Credit San Antonio Zoo

Announcing the Updated WAZA Animal-Visitor Interaction Guidelines


The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) is pleased to launch the updated WAZA Animal-Visitor Interaction Guidelines.

The WAZA Animal-Visitor Interaction Guidelines are based on the scientific recommendations provided in the World Zoo and Aquarium Animal Welfare Strategy, and aim to provide guidance on promoting animal-visitor interactions that prioritise positive animal welfare for the animal individuals that participate in them.

These guidelines highlight five essential elements to consider:

  • Monitor and assess animal welfare
  • Suitability of the animals for interactions
  • Staff expertise
  • Messaging
  • Safety

Recommendations are provided for each element.

These guidelines were first published in 2016. The WAZA Ethics and Animal Welfare Committee led by Committee Chair, Karen Fifield, worked with representatives of the different regions to conduct a review that is representative and inclusive of the views of WAZA members from different parts of the world. From a WAZA perspective, these guidelines represent the global consensus of the most progressive zoos and aquariums on how animals and visitors should interact.

Please know that these WAZA guidelines are complementary to guidelines, standards, and best practices documents developed by the 23 WAZA-recognised national and regional associations of zoos and aquariums. We also take this opportunity to invite you to explore and share those resources between associations

The guidelines are currently available in English, Spanish, Portuguese and Russian and further translations are currently in the pipeline. Click the button below for more information and to read the guidelines. 

The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) is the global alliance of regional associations, national federations, zoos and aquariums, dedicated to the care and conservation of animals and their habitats around the world.

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