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  what is and what is not zoo  

    • 1. Purport

      • Purport of these rules is concept definition of zoo, so that it is most distinctive as possible what breeding institution or establishment is regarded as zoo and what is not - namely for reason of the inclusion or exclusion in the database.. These rules are not resulting from rules other organizations (e.g. zoological associations) or from national laws about zoological gardens.

    • 2. Listing of zoological facilities to the database

      • In the database there are listed these zoological facilities, which are corresponding with the rules defined in the item II. (basic definition of zoo, essential criteria of zoo and specific details). For this reason, the list has not to coincide with other Internet lists and data.


    • (determination whether the facility ranks to the zoo database or not)
      Each facility has to 1) correspond with the basic definition, 2) meet the essential criteria and 3) to get through the sieve of closer specification, according to which it is listed into one of three categories.
      The exception: historic and prehistoric menageries, which are listed in separate categories "M" and "H".
      Simplified description of the categories:
      category A - "zoo" - standard zoo, aquariums and other facilities (facilities about which is no doubt about listing among a zoos)
      category B - "semi-zoo" - very small facilities and facilities which are lesser part of other non-zoological institutions (facility that part of people will sort among a zoos, part not)
      category C - "special facility" - special breeding facilities, which operate and look more or less like a zoo, but usually are non-exposure and closed to the public (e.g. breeding centres of other zoos)
      category M - "menagerie" - medieval menagerie (ca. 6th - 18th century)
      category H - "pre-menagerie" - prehistoric or ancient menagerie (ca. up to 6th century)

      each facility has to correspond with the Basic definition of zoo:

    • 1. Basic definition of zoo

      • For purposes of this list of zoos and similar facilities, as the zoo they are regarded an expert scientific or educational facilities of long-term character, which breed species of wild animals or domesticated animals by exposure way for reasons of education or for preservation and conservation of animal species. - Their mission is to conserve biodiversity and gene pool of free living animals by the breeding them in captivity, with an emphasis on preservation of endangered species and the public education to conservation of environment.

        Zoos was preceded by menageries, which usually the nobility founded (as a demonstration of power, wealth, passion of the collector's whim or due to whim for distraction of nobility). Menageries mostly were not publicly accessible (though not in all cases). As the predecessors of zoos the aristocratic menageries are listed into a separate category "M" (menagerie).

        However already before the aristocratic menageries, a prehistoric and ancient "pre-menageries" existed, even these were founded also mostly by monarchs, but these "pre-menageries" were much more similar to today's zoos than medieval menageries in many things - were mostly publicly accessible, enclosures are large and imitate the natural habitat of animals. These "pre-menageries" will be listed into separate category "H" (historic). For present time they are listed in a separate section "history".

    • unless the facility corresponds with the basic definition of Zoo, has to meet all the Essential criteria of zoo:

    • 2. Essential criteria of zoo

      • A) Permanent location

        • exposition of animals in permanent - stationary place (e.g. mobile menageries, dolphinariums in circus tents or movable open-air pools, aquariums or butterfly exhibitions in tents and so on)

      • B) Long-term (permanent) nature

        • no temporary facilities

      • C) Opened to the public

        • at least part of the facility and at least during part of year

          Exception: non-exposure breeding facilities listed in item II.3.B.

      • D) Zoological purpose of the breeding

        • i.e. facilities, which have primarily scientific and educational benefit - preservation of animal species (animal reproduction), zoological research and public edification and education to nature conservation

      • E) Exposure way of the breeding / keeping

        • adequate breeding facilities, i.e. facilities for visitors - not only for actual breeding. The facilities enabling a worthy presentation of animals to visitors. Not only the cages or enclosures that just impede animals from escaping, but the exposition (demonstration, displaying) - that enables to visitors an easy viewing of animals, to whoich he gets by the visitor's path etc. Usually also other services (descriptions, information tables, resting places, food, various activities etc.). The expositions are not only purpose-built, but also aesthetic, if possible.

          Exception: non-exposure breeding facilities listed in item II.3.B.

      • F) Professional breeding / keeping and look of the zoo

        • professional care, service, background etc.

      • G) Facility with captive animals

        • animals permanently intended for breeding in captivity - not wild animals (not even if they are temporarily nursed, rehabilitated etc.)

      • H) Appropriate number of animals

        • appropriate (unspecified) number of species and breeds of animals, alternatively specimens (in facilities with narrow specialization)

          the number of animals can not be determined - appropriate number in dolphinarium is different than appropriate number in the ordinary zoo, appropriate number ordinary insectarium is different than appropriate number in insectarium specialized in spiders... etc.

    • unless the facility meets all criteria of zoo is further listed in one of the three categories.

      The sorting into the categories (and specifications) at this item is done by "access method" - ie. that always there is a choice of two or more options at several levels - the final item with labeled category (color point icon) is at the end:


      • Everyone knows what is zoo, it is difficult to establish a boundary between what is still considered a zoo and what is not, therefore some more specifications are here.

      • A) Exposure facilities

        • Self-standing or non self-standing (see below) facilities built by exposure way, i.e. facilities for visitors - not only for actual breeding. Individual expositions are accessible by paths, easy observation of animals is allowed for visitors and usually also a wider service is prepared for them (descriptions, information tables, resting places, food, various activities etc.). The expositions are equipped not only for purpose, but also aesthetically if possible.
          Self-standing: self-standing breeding facilities and multipurpose facilities, of which zoological part is an equivalent of the second or is very important part of the whole - eg. zoological-botanical gardens, amusement parks with significant zoo etc. (so-called 1:1)
          Non self-standing: usually smaller (complementary) facilities, that are less important, but distinct (not negligible) professional part of other primarily non-zoological facility - whose importance is far below the main (parent) part - eg. aquariums, terrariums, insectariums or other expositions in botanical gardens, museums, shopping malls, larger mini-zoos of hotels, smaller visitor centres of national parks etc. (also very small self-standing facilities can be alternatively listed in this category)

          Among these facilities there are not counted especially breeding facility or school or house type (hobby breeding), laboratory, hunting, agricultural and other purely commercial breeding, zoo-shops, circus menageries or too small facilities operated by restaurants, hotels, various associations etc., which serves mainly to the purpose of shortening free time of accommodated or as a visual aids of clubs and interest groups - the facilities without easy access to exhibitions, purpose-built (not nice-looking) expositions. Among the exposure facilities are not counted even a small (albeit aesthetic) decorative aquariums, aviaries or so on in spaces of restaurants, hotels, department stores etc..

        • a) Ordinary zoo facilities

            • self-standing - ordinary zoological and zoological-botanical gardens, safari parks, more important self-standing mini-zoos and zoo-corners, bird, snake, reptile and other parks, sea worlds, dolphinariums, aquariums, terrariums, vivariums, insectariums, butterfly houses, tropical halls for animals etc.
              non self-standing - smaller, but distinct (not negligible) professional parts (mini-zoos, menageries, akvariums, terrariums, bird, snake, reptile and other specialized expositions etc.) of other facilities

        • b) Zoo facilities with domestic animals

            i) Demonstrative zoos and bird parks with domestic animals

            • self-standing - professional facilities as a ordinary zoo or mini-zoo, only domestic animals - usually a number of breeds or species of exotic domestic animals are instead of the wild species
              non self-standing - exposition of several breeds of purely domestic animals, often supplemented by domesticated or farm species (llamas, ostriches, rodents and other species ordinary breed home), as the case may be also several few species of local animals

            ii) Petting zoos

            • mostly non-exposure - pets, often just individual pieces of farm and rural animals, mostly in one enclosure only. Also similar specialized facilities such as rabbit parks etc. - it is not counted to the database (exposure facilities similar to common zoo can be an exception).

            iii) Facilities with several species of domestic animals only (no breeds specifying)

            • usually non self-standing - just as a demonstration (for children from cities or in a Museums of agriculture), non-zoological purpose of breeding - it is not counted to the database

        • c) Indoor zoos, roof zoos, zoo-cafeterias etc.

            facilities inside the building or mainly inside the building, alternatively on the roof or terrace of the building which are not classic vivariums, aquariums, terrariums and so on - usually in shopping malls, cafes etc.

            i) Classic exhibitions

            • self-standing - professional facilities as a ordinary outdoor facilities
              non self-standing - smaller, but significant parts of other indoor facilities

            ii) Contact and petting facilities with wild animals

            • larger with exhibition breeding equipments - larger contact or petting zoos, but with a significant number of exhibition equipments (showcases, professional aquariums, terrariums etc.)
              smaller with exhibition breeding equipments - smaller contact or petting zoos, but with a significant number of exhibition equipments (showcases, professional aquariums, terrariums etc.)
              without exhibition breeding equipments - contact or petting zoos without or with minimum of exhibition equipments (mostly home cages, terrariums, aquariums, portable assembled pens, wooden boxes or crates etc.) - often a sort of "animal playrooms" - it is not counted to the database.

            iii) Facilities with several species of domestic animals only (no breeds specifying)

            • non-exposure facility, usually with few animals only (often only one specimen of the species) - a sort of "animal playroom" - it is not counted to the database

        • d) Parks, centres and expositions of raptors and owls

            i) With cages and / or aviaries

            • self-standing - as an ordinary bird park specialized in raptors and owls
              non self-standing - permanent with exposure part (aviaries, cages), even if a part of the birds is (for falconry demonstrations) tethered on the seat (often in castle or chateau)

            ii) Without cages and aviaries

            • non-exposure - falconry way of breeding - birds are tethered on the seat cushion or in booths - unstable seasonal shows - it is not counted to the database (including falconry centers in a castles, where are only flight demonstrations and the breeding is elsewhere)

        • e) Deer (game) parks (preserves)

            i) Demonstrative preserves, exposure deer parks

            • facilities with several species of deer and mostly also with other forest animals (moufflons, wild boars etc.) in ordinary exposure enclosures, nearly as ordinary zoo - adapted for visitors

            ii) City deer parks

            • usually only one "non-zoological" enclosure with one or two species deer for demonstration, non-zoological purpose of the breeding - it is not counted to the database

            iii) Hunting deer parks

            • commercial, non-exposure, non-zoological purpose of the breeding - it is not counted to the database

            iv) Game parks

            • usually with wild (non-breed) animals, large huge enclosures, where it is necessary to go by off-road, non-exposure, non-zoological purpose of the breeding - it is not counted to the database

        • f) Bear expositions

            • self-standing with several enclosures - bear parks etc. with several enclosures - as an ordinary zoo specialized in bears
              self-standing in moats or pits - eg. municipal so-called bear moats or pits - concrete, usually embed enclosures (so-called bärengraben in German-speaking countries) - only one or very few enclosures for bear breeding or keeping
              non self-standing in castles and manors - bears in castles or manor moats, pits, enclosures or other similar facilities ordinary in zoos
              non self-standing in cages - bears in small cages (usually at restaurants or recreational properties) - it is not counted to the database (it is rather animal cruelty)

        • g) Facilitis with crocodiles

            i) Expozitions of crocodiles

            • self-standing - crocodile zoos and parks - as an ordinary zoo or terrarium specialized in crocodiles
              non self-standing - facilities with exposition of more species of crocodiles (and often also another reptiles) in ordinary exposure enclosures or pens, in breeding facilities similar to zoo (adapted also for visitors) - for example often exposure parts of commercial crocodile farms

            ii) Crocodile farms

            • commercial, purpose-built, non-exposure, non-zoological purpose of the breeding - it is not counted to the database

        • h) Other facilities specialized to certain species or group of animals

            • self-standing - monkey parks, deer parks, wolf parks, parks of beasts of prey, crocodile parks, panda or seal breeding centres, etc. - facilities working more or less as a zoo (or ordinary safari park), but with certain groups of animals
              non self-standing - smaller, but distinct (not negligible) professional specialized breeding parts of other facilities

            • Among these facilities there are not counted especially commercial farms (ostriches, crocodiles, deer etc.) and hunting even city deer parks usually with one "non-zoological" enclosure only

        • i) Visitor's centres of National parks etc.

            i) With demonstrative breeding exposure

            • visitor's centres of National parks, Nature reserves etc. mostly more or less resemble a zoo - exposure demonstrative enclosures, where  a few animals (living in the NP or reserve) are kept. Typically several species, but also visitor's centres showing only one species whose protection is crucial (eg. wisent)

            ii) Without exposure part

            • non-exposure, not breeding, but wild animals - it is not counted to the database

        • j) Animal rescue stations, orphanages etc.

            i) With exposure breeding part

            • exposure centres (often called also mini-zoos) of animal rescue stations and orphanages, which look similarly to the zoo or mini-zoo - some work and look fully as a zoo (onyl origin of the animals is different), also normal (without handicaps) animals are often bred (not only kept).

            ii) Without exposure part

            • non-zoological purpose of breeding, handicapped and orphaned animals are not breed, usually are kept for short-time only (minority long-time) - it is not counted to the database

        • k) Animal sanctuaries, reserves etc.

            • usually with original wild (non-breed) animals (confiscated animals, orphans and so on), large huge enclosures, where it is necessary to go by off-road or on contrary animals tethered animals without expositions (eg. elephant sanctuary), non-exposure, non-zoological purpose of the breeding - it is not counted to the database

        • l) Special breeding centres

            i) With public accessible exposure part

            • special breeding facilities, usually focused to specific specie or group of animals (e.g. wisents, raptors), which have public accessible exposure part
              standard breeding centres - partly focused also to visitors (basic visitors service)
              very similar to normal zoo -  to the larger or same degree oriented to visitors (visitors service same as in the zoo)
              very special facilities - wholly or partly opened to the public, however everything is subordinated to breeding - the breeding facilities are purposeful (functional) rather than exhibitional (without or nearly without visitors service)

            ii) Public inaccessible or without exposure part

            • it is not counted to the database or is listed in some else item (see Primarily non-exposure facility)

        • m) Sacral facilities

            • eg. facilities with sacred crocodiles - wild (non-breed) animals, mostly non-exposure, non-zoological purpose of the breeding - it is not counted to the database

        • n) Too small insignificant facilities

            • too small, nearly insignificant self-standing facilities and separately stnding individual cages or aviaries in public parks etc. Few species and also specimens of animals - it is not counted to the database.

      • B) Primarily non-exposure (i.e. breeding) facilities

        • Professional breeding facility equipped reasonably (for the purpose only), serving to protect and save species and preserving of gene pool. Usually with very rare or difficult breeding species requiring absolute quiet. Often the breeding associated with research and observation of animals for reasons of gaining important knowledge about animal behavior etc. Usually closed to the public for reasons of economic, security, due to the quiet (animals), legislation of the country or under. Facilities more or less similar to classical zoo but mostly non-exposure - reasonably (for the purpose only) equipped

          Among these facilities there are not counted especially laboratory breeding, commercial research breeding etc.

        • a) Breeding facilities of other zoos

          • breeding facilities of other zoological institutions (breeding reserves etc.), usually not open to the public

        • b) Non-public self-standing noncommercial facilities

          • specialized breeding facilities more or less similar to classical zoo, but but for some reason not open to the public. Usually with very rare and difficult bred local species (often endemic). Mostly under the leading of some national or supranational institutions.

        • c) Non-public commercial facilities

          • it is not counted to the database.

        • b) Other facilities

          • it is not counted to the database

      • C) Private (personal) collections of animals

        • Facilities more or less similar to classical mini-zoo but private (personal, home, not for profit - non-business, non-commercial - so no firm, company or the like.) - usually in gardens of family houses or so on. Adapted also for visitors and meeting all other Essential criteria of zoo (see item II.2.).

          Among these facilities there are not counted especially home breeding only for own pleasure, non-exposure breeding, non-professional breeding etc.

        • a) Ordinarily accessible private collections of exotic or many breeds of domestic animals

          • the private collection of exotic animals (ordinary zoo animals) or collection of many breeds of many species of domestic animals, which are ordinarily publicly accessible (for anybody) - during the stated opening hours or by appointment (usually publicly known as a mini-zoo, which is possible to visited)

            Among these facilities there are not counted home aquariums, terrariums etc., unless they are not in a separate room and unless they do not form a comprehensive exposition.

        • b) Sporadically accessible private collections of animals

          • private collections accessible only for limited circle of people (family, acquaintances, friends, members of various groups and clubs etc.) or only rarely also for others - it is not counted to the database

        • c) Collection only of several species of domestic animals

          • without specifying of breeds, very few breeds or breeds of certain specie or group only  (pigeon fanciers, rabbit breeders) - it is not counted to the database

        • d) Very small insignificant private breeding

          • it is not counted to the database


    • 1. Factors without influence on delimitation zoo

      • Any influence for determination whether it concerns the zoo or not hasn't mainly:
        - whether it concerns an independent institution or a significant part of another facility (such as botanical garden, museum, amusement or theme park, possibly hotel, cultural and business centre etc.)
        - partially commercial breeding, especially if is for financing of non-commercial (breed) part (e.g. crocodile parks)
        - fully explorational (research) if serves for getting information and observations about animal species important for breeding and reproducing
        - quality of breeding facility
        - amount of entrance fee or free entrance etc.

    • 2. Zoo, which lies on more localities

      • Some of the zoo etc. are located on more one another unconnected places (in one or even more cities), others have some expositions or breed facilities and spaces in another places. In such cases, every facility is listed in the database separately.

    • 3. Moving of the zoo

      • When the zoo is moved, then it is listed in this manner:

      • A) As one zoo

        • if it concerns fluent relocation of the zoo in same city and continuous or almost continuous operating

      • B) As two zoos

        • i.e. one abolished and second new - if it concerns moving between two cities, relocation with greater break of operation or change of character of the facility (eg a classic zoo from the original vivarium)

WZD - Worldwide Zoo Database
2009 - 2019
Zdroje a autoři: WZD, oficiální stránky ZOO, oficiální tiskové a jiné materiály ZOO (není-li uvedeno jinak); Datum poslední aktualizace: 29. 06. 2019
Sources and authors: WZD, official websites of ZOO, official printed and other matters of ZOO (if it is not stated otherwise); Date of last actualization:29. 06. 2019
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