Without conservation, our Zoo would be simply a collection of wonderful animals in a very pleasant park. With conservation, we are a vital force for good in a rapidly disintegrating world, where people are becoming increasingly removed from nature, and nature is fragmenting into tiny pieces.
In a world of rapidly diminishing habitats, disappearing species and increasing urbanisation, zoos and aquariums are uniquely placed to connect people to their natural environment, to inspire them to care, and to encourage them to take effective action to play an active part in reducing the relentless rate of environmental destruction.
Zoos and aquariums inspire people to help conserve biodiversity. There is a demonstrable thread which runs from having fun, to being inspired, to having a greater understanding, to supporting and achieving conservation. The short-hand expression of this chain of action is ‘conservation through inspiration’.
After fun, comes action. Not always, but sometimes. Visitors to our Zoo will enjoy the wonder of living animals, enjoy the experience of being close to nature, and will – increasingly, we hope – take effective action to help make the planet a safer place for all its species.
So conservation is about all of these elements coming together – fun, understanding and action. In Edinburgh Zoo, we strive to engender this sense of fun, to foster greater understanding, and to encourage effective action.