Aims and objectives of zoo research

Importance

UWEC aims at generating good research that will produce a well-validated body of knowledge based on internationally accepted principles and suitable for sharing. We welcome any zoo’s staff in the world, and/or by students, trained volunteers or professional research partners to do research at UWEC. We encourage new research approaches that will address emerging needs in a rapidly changing world. For instance, global climate change is increasing threats in nature and this has led to deleterious impacts on wildlife. Consequently, many new species will have to be brought into zoo collections for conservation breeding in addition to those already in care and which are being studied. The research results will be used to derive strategies for the biosecurity, care and appropriate treatment of animals threatened with diseases. High-quality research will be published in international and peer reviewed journals that will bring credibility to the zoo’s or aquaria. It will also give Zoo’s a good reputation as serious institutions that makes sound, science-based decisions.

Overall, the objectives of zoo research concern

  • To promote conservation of wild species and habitats and the health and welfare of individual wild animals or populations.
  • To help in identifying, characterising and solving problems in animals in captivity and the wild
  • To help in prioritisation and decision-making for conservation, animal welfare or other purposes, including education and public relations.
  • To contribute a vital role in the expansion of scientific knowledge on many fronts and be transferable in far wider contexts, including wildlife management in the field.

It should be noted not all zoo-based research has to be immediately and obviously ‘practical’ or driven by prior hypotheses. It is possible to simulate different environmental conditions in zoos and aquariums, and many such institutions have valuable data on animal health that have been collected historically, they may be particularly appropriate places to carry out climate-change studies.

Research areas

Research will be conducted under the following research themes;

(a) human–animal interactions and relationships

(b) anticipatory behavior

(c) cognitive enrichment

(d) behavioral biology

(e) reproductive and population management

The areas will include;

  1. Animal welfare and management
  • Captive breeding with emphasis on threatened species (species survival programs).
  • Animal welfare and husbandry.
  • Animal health and disease surveillance.
  • Animal behavior
  1. Conservation Education
  • Conservation and management of threatened ecosystems.
  • Human-Wildlife relationships.
  • Visitor engagement and management.
  1. Eco tourism program
  • Community conservation actions.
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