ZOO Networks

Engineering the “Three C’s” of Conservation
(Communication, Cooperation, Collaboration)

Minimising the “Three E’s of Extinction
(Ego, Envy, Elitism)

ZOO use information and exposure to encourage the 3 C’s & obstruct the 3 E’s

Dr. U. S. Seal, Chairman of the Conservation Breeding Specialist Group, SSC, IUCN, commented at the CBSG Annual meeting held in Singapore in 1991 that more regional activity was desirable due to the high cost of travel and the need to focus on species in their range countries. Later that year, ZOO formed its first network CBSG, India in 1991. Conservation linkage between zoos/zoo personnel and field agencies/field biologists for conservation workshops and training can be organized and carried out meaningfully using networks as the focus. ZOO/CBSG, India conducted more than 22 CAMP Workshops in India covering nearly 10,000 spcies and sub species. Ex situ conservation (to be conservation at all) depends on Linkage between captive & wild species and the people who work with them. Zoo Outreach Organisation associates intensively with the Conservation Breeding Specialist Group, SSC, IUCN to catalyze and some instances host national and regional networks. These networks link with zoo associations, government forest & wildlife agencies, universities, research institutes and other NGO’s in South Asia. The objective of linking field biologists, academics, zoo personnel and other conservation actioners is to catalyze objective, scientific, participatory, practical conservation action.

The special focus of Zoo Outreach Organisation is primarily on animal groups that are often ignored in order to create awareness of their importance and to direct conservation attention to such taxon groups as invertebrates, amphibians, reptiles, bats, rodents, insectivores and other rodent like animals. We carry out this work with a combination of taxon networks, directories of taxon specialists, newsletters, workshops, training, education, etc.

Taxon Networks

These taxon networks were called “Special Interest Groups” (SIGs) and were first introduced in 1991 when CBSG, India was formed.   They are similar to SSC Specialist Groups but are national or regional and not exclusive.   Anyone with interest both in situ and ex situ can belong to the network in some capacity although care is taken to collect information about species only from working field biologists, zoo managers and others involved in active collection of data.

These networks provide SSC Specialist Group Chairs with a list of specialists and their specific area of work from the South Asian region. This is important because the number of Asian taxon and disciplinary specialists who are members of SSC Specialist Groups are very few. In every specialist group the membership is always skewed towards western countries.   In today’s conservation scenario where the Convention on Biodiversity itself puts so much emphasis on programs initiating from and being under the control of member states, and with such a large percentage of the earth’s biodiversity located in tropical countries, this inverse representation is not productive. So these networks are an attempt to correct the imbalance.