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Wildlife Wellness: A New Ethical Frontier for Zoos and Aquariums

Wildlife Wellness: A New Ethical Frontier for Zoos and Aquariums

Chapter:
(p.226) Chapter Eighteen Wildlife Wellness: A New Ethical Frontier for Zoos and Aquariums
Source:
The Ark and Beyond
Author(s):
Terry L. MapleValerie D. Segura
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226538631.003.0019

Zoo Atlanta emerged from an institutional crisis in 1984 when city, county business, and government leaders united to transform the former municipal zoo into a public-private partnership (privatization) operated by a non-profit board of directors. The operating reforms enabled zoo management to elevate the standards and practices of the zoo and recruit highly qualified personnel. Early experiments to reach the goal of optimal animal welfare positioned the zoo as a leader among its peers. Zoo Atlanta’s leadership culminated in a unique conference where zoo leaders and critics faced off to debate the future of zoo ethics. The book Ethics on the Ark was the product of this meeting. Better practices and higher standards are still evolving with the construct of “wellness” emerging as a new approach to superior management of wildlife living in human care. The best zoos and aquariums practice evidence-based (empirical) problem-solving to benefit the zoo and aquarium population. This approach ensures that animals no longer suffer in zoos and aquariums. Further, the highest ethical operating standards move beyond coping to encourage thriving for each and animal species in our care.

Keywords:   empirical, ethics, standards, leadership, management, privatization, wellness, Zoo Atlanta

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