Zoo Outreach Organization &
Wildlife Information Liaison Development


About US

Zoo Outreach Organization -- Z.O.O.
Zoo Outreach Organization is an exceptionally unique, dynamic and productive conservation, research, education, and welfare NGO. How can we make such an arrogant and seemingly self-saving statement? What makes ZOO different?

The starting point for ZOO is its philosophy -- we try to operate on the basis of principles rather than personalities, politics or profit. The principles are

1. Positive and constructive action
Action rather than activism
Avoidance of critical extremism

2. Focus on need-based projects
we try to focus on subjects that are being neglected by other agencies and departments, to avoid duplication of effort and territorial disputes.
Zoos and captive breeding
Invertebrates, amphibians, reptiles and mini-vertebrates (chiroptera and rodentia)
Inventories, status surveys, compendiums, handbooks, networks

3. Objectivity
we try and serve as a neutral link in organising and facilitating conservation exercises (between different agencies and organizations).
PHVA Workshops
CAMP Workshops
Networking of specialists

4. Result-oriented projects
we try to pull a useful and usable product out of every activity as opposed to endless discussion and tired recommendations.

5. Mystical rather than mechanistic values

6. Utopian vision and practical action
Our philosophy and behaviour is based on the observation that conservation and extinction are driven by the behaviour and actions of conservation actioners themselves, as much as by poachers, property developers, big businessmen, etc. We in the conservation community have many tools today to save threatened species. It is our behaviour with one another that comes in the way.

Therefore we cultivate the "Three C's of Conservation" and discourage the "Three E's of Extinction" in all that we undertake. At least we TRY to do this. Nobody is perfect, after all!

Three C' of Conservation Three E's of Extinction
Communication Ego
Cooperation Envy
Coordination Elitism

Why the name?
Zoo Outreach Organization (ZOO) was so named because its initial activity involved primarily zoos, and its purpose was to "reach out" and involve more people with zoos. Also its acronym itself is "Z.O.O." in order to make a strong statement of support of zoos and their potential.

ZOO was founded in 1985 with funds and mandate from the then Department of Environment, Government of India, to provide technical and educational support for zoos, enhance the public image of zoos, and liaise between local, national, international interests for the benefit of Indian zoos. We also lobbied for organizations and legislation affecting zoos and animal welfare in zoos.

Zoos are not just captive wildlife, however and ZOO is not just about zoos. In order for zoos to be relevant to conservation they must have extensive knowledge of wildlife in the wild. Field personnel and policy makers need to know what zoos can do for them. Therefore Zoo Outreach Organization concerns in situ conservation as much as ex situ.

Zoo personnel were not in communication with one another, with field personnel or with their colleagues in the rest of the world. There was not much published information or training going on. Our publications and networks have addressed this problem for the last 15 years: Our Magazine and Journal are generated and edited in- house as well as all the newsletters and compendiums. ZOOS' PRINT magazine (ZP) starts 19 years of regular publication this year. ZOOS' PRINT is the oldest and the only regular zoo publication in all of Asia.

Magazines, journals and compendiums

ZOOS' PRINT - articles from zoo, wildlife, welfare and education specialists - 12 issues per annum.
ZOOS' PRINT JOURNAL - peer- reviewed journal of articles from in situ & ex situ conservation specialists - 12 issues p.a.
ZOO ZEN - compendiums of technical information from zoos around the world vetted for Indian conditions - 12 issues p.a.

Newsletters and Networks

CBSG, South Asia News
Newsletter of the Conservation Breeding Specialist Group, SSC IUCN South Asian Regional and Networks CBSG South Asia
Frog Leg
Newsletter of the Declining Amphibian Populations Task Force - South Asia (DAPTF-SA)
Bugs 'R All
Newsletter of the Invertebrate Conservation & Information Network of South Asia (ICINSA).
Reptile Rap
Newsletter of the South Asian Reptile Network (SARN)
Back, When ?& Then?
Newsletter of the Society for Promotion of History of Zoos* and Natural History in India** (SPOHZ*NHI)
Bat Net - Bits about Bats
Newsletter of the Chiroptera Conservation and Information Network of South Asia (CCINSA)
Newsletter of the Rodentia, Insectivora, Scandentia Conservation & Information Network of South Asia (RISCINSA)
Reintro Redeux
Newsletter of the IUCN / SSC Reintroduction Specialist Group, South & East Asia (RSG South & East Asia)

South Asian Primate Network
Newsletter of the South Asian Zoo Association for Regional Cooperation (SAZARC)

Networks and Special Interest Groups
CBSG, South Asia
Asian Regional Network of International Zoo Educators (ARNIZE)
Invertebrate Conservation & Information Network of South Asia (ICINSA)
Amphibian Network of South Asia (ANSA)
South Asian Reptile Network (SARN)
Chiroptera Conservation & Information Network of South Asia (CCINSA)
Rodent, Insectivore and Scandentia Conservation & Information Network of South Asia (RISCINSA)
Members of these groups number over 1000 academic and technical wildlife and zoo specialists who help ZOO conduct scientific workshops for wildlife management and regional biodiversity inventories:

ZOO has acquired skills in organising and facilitating group exercises, using principles of modern business management to create a "team" atmosphere.

PHVA -- Population and Habitat Viability Assessment Workshop - these are for highly threatened single species. PHVAs bring together official wildlife agencies, academics, field personnel and NGOs to identify problems and evolve solutions using computer simulation models, group process techniques and consensus agreements.

CAMP -- Conservation Assessment and Management Plan Workshop - ZOO organised a national biodiversity inventory in which 300 specialists assessed more than 1700 species of Indian wild plants and animals. These workshops were appreciated for their objective and participatory qualities and the output has been used by governmental and non-governmental organizations alike for purposes of legislation, protected area management and prioritisation of field research. ZOO/CBSG, India has organized a total of 13 of these useful workshops.

Training -- ZOO has conducted a very large number of training workshops in which an external expert was called and taken around to different states to conduct workshops for local people. In this way many people were trained who could normally never attend a workshop. Training includes zoo education, press management, veterinary science, invertebrate, amphibian and bat conservation techniques, botanical garden education, etc.

Organization -- ZOO helps organize people, providing the catalyst for institutions and associations that need to begin. ZOO played a leading role in the formation of the South Asian Zoo Association for Regional Cooperation (SAZARC). ZOO brought together zoo and field conservation actioners from five countries of South Asia to form the zoo association, to hold the first CBSG, South Asian Regional meeting, to inaugurate CBSG, Nepal and conduct a South Asian Zoo Educator Course.

ZOO provides consultancy and other services to a variety of organizations and institutions in India and abroad. ZOO's activities range from cute little education packets and badges for tiny kids to heavy tomes of species information for biodiversity conservation assessments.

What Z.O.O. Doesn't Do - EVER !
Z.O.O. Doesn't criticise zoos or zoo personnel.
Z.O.O. Doesn't retain members who criticise zoos. Z.O.O. Doesn't criticise the government (much), although we may occasionally REMIND them if something important has been overlooked!

ZOO believes in our energy where it can do the most good. While activists and fanatics are howling and screeching, we are sitting quietly at our computers or drawing board, or conducting technical workshops, . . trying to understand problems, involved in resolving issues and to find solutions to problems. Government and other large institutions are an easy target for critics. ZOO recognises that no institution is perfect and also cannot do everything. Therefore ZOO tries to do things that slip through the crack, that are not being done by anyone else.


A Positive, Constructive, Practical,
Scientific, Sensible and Sensitive
Conservation, Education, Research
and Animal Welfare Organization