Evaluating the Conservation Mission of Zoos, Aquariums, Botanical Gardens, and Natural History Museums

“Collection-based institutions – zoos, aquariums, museums, and botanical gardens – exhibit wildlife and thus have a special connection with nature. Many of these institutions emphasize a mission of conservation, and, undeniably, they do contribute directly to conservation education and conservation science. They represent an exceptional opportunity for many urban residents to see the wonders of life, and they can contribute to education and habitat preservation. Because many collection-based institutions now hold a stated mission of conservation, we suggest eight potential questions to evaluate actions toward that mission... We hope they will help employees and administrators of a collection-based institution (and citizens of the surrounding community) think about and support their institution’s conservation activities. Public support and praise for institutions that are striving towards solutions for conservation problems and pressure on organizations that are moving more slowly toward a conservation orientation can help shift more resources toward saving nature.” (p.86)