Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild


In 2009 and 2010, a total of 200 zoological collections in 20 European Union Member States were assessed as part of the EU Zoo Inquiry 2011 project, and in 2015, a total of 54 zoological collections in seven EU Member States were assessed under the EU Zoo Inquiry 2016 project. Activities included an evaluation of the national zoo law of each EU Member State against the requirements of the EU Zoos Directive 1999/22, an assessment of the implementation and enforcement of the law and an investigation into the status and performance of a sample of zoos in each Member State.

Investigations have taken place in the following countries:

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain and United Kingdom (England only).   

The following methodology has been applied:

A Zoo Assessment Protocol was established to evaluate the compliance of zoos with the requirements of the Directive, the national zoo law and the EAZA Minimum Standards for the Accommodation and Care of Animals in Zoos and Aquaria. Additional assessment criteria were devised based on the UK Standards of Modern Zoo Practice, 2008 (SMZP) and the Zoo Expert Committee Handbook. The Zoo Assessment Protocol was adapted for each Member State to incorporate the specific requirements of the national law. It examined the following aspects:

A. General Zoo Information: licensing status, ownership and public safety measures;

B. Conservation Participation: ex situ coordinated captive breeding programmes and conservation of biodiversity;

C. Public Education: signage, public integration and educational value;

D. Evaluation of Animal Enclosure Quality: suitability for the species contained;

E. Animal Welfare Assessment: the condition and behaviour of the animals

Data gathered from each zoo were incorporated within a spreadsheet to allow accurate analysis.

(c) BFF


Number of zoos

Clearly, even a survey of this nature visiting, as it did, 200 zoos in 20 countries over a period of 10 months can only give a broad, representative overview of the issues relating to the implementation and enforcement of the Zoos Directive in each Member State.


Although every effort was made to avoid misinterpreting information provided in the numerous languages of the study group (through the professional translation of questionnaires and the use, where possible, of native-speakers), this was not possible in all Member States.

Zoo performance

Some aspects of the evaluation and analysis of zoo performance relied upon the completion and return of the Standard Zoo Questionnaire. If the Questionnaire was not completed or returned, analysis relied more significantly on information collected from other sources (as described in the Methodology).

2011 Country Reports

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

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