The observation, data collection and analysis of animals in human care have contributed a great deal to our knowledge and comprehension of the world around us.
Such study was paramount in developing the descriptive biological sciences: anatomy, morphology, taxonomy, classification, etc. Our growing knowledge in such fields as animal nutrition, reproduction, physiology and psychology regularly improves and refines our ability to offer the highest standards of care for wildlife in captivity, while also increasing our success in the management and conservation of wild populations.
Meanwhile, people-related research that examines visitors, staff and the general public offers valuable in-sight, helping improve environmental awareness and education programs.
Scientific work is conducted not only by the CAZA members institutions themselves, but often in partnership with external researchers representing other zoos or aquariums, universities, wildlife agencies and recovery teams from around the world. The dissemination of findings and results through various publications enhances the educational contribution that zoos and aquariums already make
How Accredited Zoos and Aquariums Contribute to Science
Almost all animal species in zoos, especially those playing an important role in ex-situ conservation, require further research in a wide range of areas, e.g. husbandry, nutrition, various behavioural characteristics, interactions with the environment, medicine, reproduction, physiology, endocrinology, etc. Increased knowledge in these areas is required for improvement of longevity, well-being, reproduction, long-term conservation, and reintroduction potential.
This research is necessary to increase our general knowledge of the dynamics of in-situ and ex-situ populations. It includes: theoretical development of small population genetics and demographics, adjustment of theoretical generalizations to species specific situations, genetic and molecular genetic studies of various real populations, taxonomic studies to determine species and subspecies boundaries, improvement of population management techniques, etc.
To explore the ways in which artificial reproduction and cryopreservation techniques can support in-situ and ex-situ conservation.
Primarily species-specific, but also involves the development of general methods and techniques for assessing the viability and degree of endangerment of species, populations, and habitats. This information is basic to the formulation of action plans and priority lists for species requiring ex-situ conservation.
This is helpful to improve the content of environmental awareness and education programs to increase its effectiveness and impact on the public.