Legislation comes in many forms and varieties.
Zoo Legislation with a capital "L"
refers to actual laws and acts of government
regarding the setting up, administration,
monitoring, quality, safety and other aspects of
captive wild animal facilities.
Zoo legislation in its greater meaning
could include zoo standards and guidelines
created by anyone, from its own local board or
It can, and should, include the many
national and regional zoo association Codes of
Ethics, guidelines, individual taxon group
standards, accreditation procedures, etc.
Zoo legislation, or one might say the "looking
out for" or regulation of zoos is as complex and
varied as are captive wild animal facilities
themselves and the cities, countries and regions
where they are located.
many countries now that have actual Zoo
Legislation, with written laws under local,
state and even national government which demand
compliance or the facing of a penalty.
The most dramatic example of Zoo
Legislation would be, perhaps, that of the
European Union which controls the zoos of a
Zoo legislation can also come in and
under other legislation such as Wildlife Acts
and Animal Welfare Acts.
Often a few lines or paragraphs in
Wildlife or Welfare evolves into a separate and
detailed piece of legislation.
also countries in which the zoos took control of
their standards and instituted a means of
regulating themselves, before government could
come in and, in its often ham-handed manner,
create legislation which would neither regulate
irregularities efficiently but also impede
The American Zoo Association (AZA) is the
best example of this situation.
Its standards and inspection procedure
is more rigorous than that of any governmental
This method works in a culture where
peer pressure regarding both quality and ethics
overrides any other consideration.
More and more, national and regional
zoo associations are taking charge of their
zoos' standards because zoo professionals are
increasingly aware that bad
zoos reflect badly on all
plenty of countries which do not have any
legislation or which want to review and revise
When a country wants to create
legislation, they must go through a tedious
process of writing to zoo associations and
governments in many countries to ask them for a
copy of their zoo act, or their association
standards, or guidelines for this and that.
The zoos which receive these requests
(probably) always comply, but it must be a
botheration, both to the requesting zoo if they
have to wait for various countries to reply, and
to the zoos which have to dig out a copy of the
their legislation and send it.
Thereby the reason for this website
we hope to have the zoo legislation of every
country displayed here.
Not just Legislation but also all the
associated matters - association constitutions
(at least links to these), animal standards,
can do this only if people help us.
we have enough to begin with several regions,
South Asia, South East Asia, Australia, and a
bit on East Asia and Africa.
Individual countries and states within
these regions have much more legislation and
rules than we have been able to collect ... and
believe me, we have tried hard to collect it !
some regions and countries, nothing like actual
legislation is available so we have included
whatever we could get that is related to
monitoring the keeping, care and disposal of
captive wild animals.
Some of this is taken from notes or
interviews or emails from different zoo people.
Also, some countries, such as
Singapore, have such a wealth of legislation
related to captive animal maintenance that it
would overwhelm our site.
However, when we get a copy of
individual laws, we will include them.
type of material is that having to do with
We have gone on the assumption that
people would prefer this now to waiting for
actual government legislation, which would take
In any case, it is often zoo
associations which catalyze zoo legislation.
An example of that is happening as we
write in Dhaka, Bangladesh, where the Dhaka Zoo
organized a meeting of the South Asian Zoo
Association and in connection with that meeting,
formed an association of Bangladesh Zoos and
made an Action Plan for a Zoo Act for
The Report of that Working group is
included in the section on Bangladesh, under the
Bangladesh wildlife legislation.
When their zoo legislation is passed,
this report will be removed and the legislation
idea of assembling zoo legislation in one place
came about when I was asked to write about the
Zoo Legislation of South Asia, where I work in
India, for the Encyclopedia of the
This was understandable that they
should ask me because having lived there and
been involved with the zoos, I could do this
with relative ease.
turning in the essay, the Editor
requested me to do South East Asia, however.
This was harder.
Then East Asia - very difficult, made
possible only because there is probably no
legislation for most of these countries.
Living in Asia as I do, I did not
question being asked for any of these regions.
Then came a request for Australia,
Africa, Europe, South America and Eastern Europe
began to understand that there is a problem !
In trying to research these essays via
email I collected many bits and pieces but could
not complete some regions.
the Central Zoo Authority, who was beginning to
revise their Zoo Act and Zoo Rules, requested me
to compile some information on specific aspects
of zoo legislation and I got the idea for a web
first checked with several big zoo organizations
to see if anyone else was in the process of
doing this and, surprisingly,
no one was doing this systematically.
here is a beginning.
I have covered some of the most
difficult regions first, with whatever I have.
The next most difficult regions are
South America and Africa.
you are involved with zoos, I request you to
please help with this potentially very useful
project by providing your own country or state
As time goes on we will make this
module more useful and more organized.
For now, a start is required and this
would like to thank the Universities Federation
for Animal Welfare for providing funding for
assistance and extra web space and Dr. U.S.
Seal, of the Conservation Breeding Specialist
Group for writing a letter of endorsement for me
to send zoos and governments when asking for
legislation is on the web already and we will
try and link into that for additional detail.
are including old legislation as well as new
because some of the countries which are framing
their legislation for the first time may be more
comfortable with the wording of earlier
The United Kingdom has had legislation
for a long time and we will put all of it up in
welcome any additions, comments, compliments and
criticism for this site.
We also request your patience and
I am sure there are many better ways of
organizing this material and we will improve in
send all zoo legislation you can collect to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks in advance.
Walker, Founder / Secretary
Zoo Outreach Organization
Convenor, CBSG, South Asia