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The Zoo Evidence Project

Creating a global database

Wild Planet Trust has teamed up with Conservation Evidence to create the first global database of scientific evidence for the effectiveness of husbandry and management interventions in zoo animals.


To create this evidence map, we documented more than 1,000 scientific studies looking at the success or failure of husbandry options in more than 600 species. We did this using the systematic methods developed for the wider conservation world by the Conservation Evidence group at the University of Cambridge.

Given the many potential conservation benefits of ex-situ species management, we aim to incorporate the work of zoos and aquariums into the tools and resources developed by Conservation Evidence. Staff and students at Wild Planet Trust assessed the relatively narrow range of zoo topics covered by the current Management of Captive Animals synopsis published in 2018.

Ultimately, we would like to see all the evidence for the husbandry and management of all taxonomic groups covered by synopses and freely available through the Conservation Evidence website.


Christie, A.P., White, T.B., Martin, P., Petrovan, S.O., Bladon, A.J., Bowkett, A.E., Littlewood, N.A., Mupepele, A., Rocha, R., Sainsbury, K.A., Smith, R.K., Taylor, N.G., Sutherland, W.J. (2021). Reducing publication delay to improve the efficiency and impact of conservation science. PeerJ 9: e12245.

Lemasson, A.J., Petrovan, S.O., Smith, R.K. Sutherland, W.J., Bowkett, A.E. (2020_. What is the evidence for the effectiveness of husbandry and management interventions for the conservation and welfare of captive animals? A systematic map protocol. Journal of Zoo and Aquarium Research 8(4): 223–230.

Jonas, C.S., Timbrell, L.L., Young, F., Petrovan, S.O., Bowkett, A.E., Smith, R.K. (2018). Management of Captive Animals: Global Evidence for the Effects of Selected Interventions. University of Cambridge, Cambridge.