Collection planning in zoos is a relatively new concept.
Historically, a collection was determined by preferences and availability. Now, there are systematic criteria formulated within conservation targets. Zoo collection planning can be managed at global, regional and institutional levels and now the focus is on making an impact in conserving biodiversity.
Now species are included in the collection if they are in need of conservation action and if they can contribute to the public education, fund raising and through that can support scientific research and conservation work in the field.
Unfortunately the world’s wildlife is in decline. Zoos are in a position to make real contributions to conservation. Resources are, however, limited; zoos do not have unlimited space and there are only a certain number of animals available. These captive populations are carefully managed (demographically, genetically), and collection planning is now vital to the success of zoo breeding and conservation.
Read more about Conservation roles and justification
Listen to a collection planning podcast featuring Dr Mark Pilgrim.