Spectacled Bear at Chester Zoo | Photo: Hans Hillewaert, license: CC BY-SA 3.0

The value of zoos for species and society: The need for a new model

Published on sciencedirect.com in March of 2023. | By: Sarah L. Spooner, Susan L. Walker, Simon Dowell & Andrew Moss

Zoos and aquariums are built on a number of pillars according to the classical model. This approach is outdated, at least according to the authors of the publication.

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Note: Classically, zoos are based on the four pillars of conservation, education, research, and recreation. The authors propose a sphere of influence of zoos that includes species & habitat conservation, education & training, scientific research, public health & wellbeing, conservation finance, economy, and policy. The aim is to measure the value of zoos and, above all, to prove it. However, the contradiction prompting the work does not actually exist: both models can coexist perfectly because they have very different objectives.

The pillar model talks about the foundation of zoos and aquariums. It describes the basis on which any zoo is built – like the roots. The sphere model sets out to describe the flowers of the plant whose roots were formed by the pillar model. In the end, the study is an extension and complement rather than a substitute. It remains to be seen if the sphere model prevails accordingly.

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