WAZA 2027 Population Management Goal

After consultation with WAZA regional and national zoo and aquarium association members through meetings in March 2023 and July 2023, the WAZA Council in September 2023, endorsed and recommended the goal that:

By 31 December 2027:

  • WAZA Regional* associations must have a science-based population management framework that reflects the specific professional and effective elements of population management as approved by WAZA.
  • WAZA Regional associations must require participation of its institutional members in their population management framework, such that there is institutional responsibility for effective and impactful population management.

* Without the oversight of a Regional association, this responsibility will be that of the operating National association.

During the Global Zoo and Aquarium Population Management Workshop, representatives from WAZA-member national and regional associations, described the specific elements of professional and effective population management frameworks, which are:

1. Goal-driven species selection

Population management activities are prioritised following a robust species assessment and selection process that identifies specific roles and goals for the population, and that considers the needs, feasibilities, and risks associated with managing the population.

2. Sourcing, transfer and destination policy 

Population management activities are based on and support legal, sustainable, and ethical sourcing and placement of animals.

3. Data, tools and science 

Population management activities are data-driven, science-based and use appropriate record-keeping and analytical tools to inform decision-making.

4. Animal Welfare 

Population management activities seek to maximise opportunities for positive welfare experiences, and these opportunities must be considered during decision-making processes at both the regional and institutional levels.

5. Engagement and participation by members

Population management activities are in accordance with rules and procedures set by the Regional Association, that contribute to achieving set goals and that assumes cooperation and participation by members and other relevant stakeholders for these activities. These rules and procedures should also define the process for the coordination and collaboration of these activities and how these are implemented and evaluated.

6. Capacity building and staff 

Population management activities are appropriately resourced and supported by trained and capable staff.

More information and the specific requirements under each of these elements can be found here.

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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