Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Captive wildlife issues

Zoo Check provides every captive animal with a voice

Much of the work by Born Free’s Zoo Check Programme requires an in-depth understanding of animal welfare, behaviour and related topics. It is imperative that all of Zoo Check’s campaigns and projects are supported by up-to-date and accurate information, using wherever possible, legislation and guidance.

Below is a variety of supporting information that you might find useful:

Understanding animal welfare PDF 77KB - A guide to the Five Freedoms of animal welfare and their application to wild animals in captivity

Polar Bears and Captivity PDF 62KB - A document summarising why polar bears fair particularly badly in captivity.

The Zoo Debate – Do zoos have a role in the 21st Century? PDF 54KB - A transcript of an article first published in The Ecologist magazine in which Miranda F Stevenson, director of the Federation of Zoos of Great Britain and Ireland debates the need of zoos in the 21st Century with Zoo Check's Daniel Turner

Zoo Status

  • Earliest zoos date back to Ancient Egypt
  • First UK menagerie, Woodstock (11th Century)
  • Tower of London menagerie (13th Century)
  • First modern UK zoo, London Zoo (1828)
  • First UK tiger*, London Zoo (1829)
  • First UK elephant*, Tower of London menagerie. Presented to Henry III in 13th Century.
  • First UK chimpanzee*, London Zoo (1835)
  • 20th Century - zoos proliferate worldwide, millions of animals exploited
  • 1984 – Zoo Check is the first voice speaking up for captive animals
  • Following Born Free campaigns there is only one polar bear in a UK zoo, the UK is a dolphinaria-free zone, and there are no more elephants in London Zoo (2007)
  • Born Free’s 21st Century vision – an end to all zoos, keep wildlife in the wild!
 *London Zoo has never returned these species to the wild.


Born Free Foundation
Broadlands Business Campus, Langhurstwood Road
, Horsham, RH12 4QP, UK - Charity Reg. No. 1070906

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