Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Evaluation of Animal Enclosures

The Directive requires all zoos to accommodate their animals:

“under conditions which aim to satisfy the biological and conservation requirements of the individual species. . .”

(Art. 3. European Council Directive 1999/22/EC)

Compliance with this requirement was evaluated by assessing the suitability and quality of each zoo enclosure in relation to its potential impact on the health and welfare of the animals it contained. In this study, this is referred to as the evaluation of 'Environmental Quality of Enclosures'. All occupied enclosures were recorded where an animal was observed or if there was a reasonable likelihood that an animal was in an off-show area.

In each zoo, 30 enclosures were randomly selected for evaluation of 'Environmental Quality of Enclosures'. If the zoo had less than 30 enclosures, all were evaluated. All selected enclosures were then assessed against 12 individual criteria (Table 1), each based on the provisions of the "Five Freedoms" (OIE Terrestrial Animal Code), in order to determine whether the basic biological and behavioural needs of the animals on display were being met.

Figure 4. Example of an enclosure in Lovech Zoo, Bulgaria, which does not meet the basic biological and behavioural needs of the Jaguar (Panthera onca).

The table below shows how each of the 12 criteria used to evaluate 'Environmental Quality of Enclosures' relate to each of the Five Freedoms.  NB. Although the Five Freedoms are regarded as best practice standards for acceptable welfare of an animal, they should only be regarded as minimum standards.

Table 1

Click image to enlarge

Evaluation of the Animal Enclosures was undertaken using Section D of the Zoo Assessment Protocol

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

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