Zoos have come along way from their menagerie past. But society is increasingly demanding they become agents of conservation rather than entertainment.
The cheetah population almost halved since 1975 with only an estimated 7,100 left in the wild today.
Captivity isn't kind to cheetahs where most develop diseases that are unusual in big cats. It's never been clear why this is the case, but understanding their metabolism might provide the answer.
A meerkat at the National Zoo and Aquarium in Canberra. The Zoo has recently announced an expansion that will double its size.
AAP Image/Stefan Postles
Zoos' role in conservation is divisive, but in Australia they could be critical in securing and even recovering threatened species.
Duke.of.arcH / shutterstock
Animal welfare depends on quality of territory not quantity.
It's not all about the gym and your diet. The places where we live and work shape our health, too.
Supakit Ekthananun / shutterstock
Organised crime always looks for new ways to make money. And zoo animals are an easy target.
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If zoo data was 'open access' we could identify the worst before too many animals die.
Zoos, emphasising natural behaviour and conservation, remain more popular than ever.
With circuses on the wane, are our attitudes towards animals improving?
Good zoos should be treated like they treat their animals. That means not beating them over the odd mishap.
More than 50 animals in a Venezuelan zoo have reportedly died from starvation in the past few months.
Flaviu the lynx is still at large (file photo of a similar Eurasian lynx).
Magdanatka / shutterstock
Domestic cats often travel hundreds of miles to their former homes – so why not an escaped lynx?
A makeshift shrine to Harambe, the zoo gorilla whose death has raised some uncomfortable moral questions.
We tend instinctively to value human lives over non-human ones. But is there a point where the scales might tip the other way?
Menageries of the 19th century brought exotic animals (and people) to Western society – as do many zoos today.
The shooting death of Harambe the gorilla has once again raised concern for the well-being of zoo animals. But animals in zoos may be fated by the very institution we have created to protect them.
A makeshift shrine at the Cincinnati Zoo, where Harambe, a male gorilla, was killed by zoo officials.
The death of Harambe the gorilla has sparked outrage and raised questions over the adequacy of zoos, but protecting some animals through legal personhood is flawed and dangerous, says legal scholar.
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The best modern zoos focus on conservation, education and research – not entertainment.
Cincinnati Zoo / EPA
We can't blame a gorilla for looking after its territory. But we can ask how a child managed to get into the enclosure in the first place.
Hmmm … looks good to me.
No wonder scientists love it.
No more breeding, but still on exhibit.
The history of displaying exotic animals seems to be one of evolving public expectations about what constitutes acceptable conditions. Is it a case of the more things change, the more they stay the same?
An orang-utan playing with the interactive digital projector at the Melbourne Zoo.
Microsoft Research Centre for Social Natural User Interfaces at the University of Melbourne
An experiment providing interactive games for orang-utans is showing the potential for digital technology to enrich the lives of zoo animals.
Paul Meyerheim’s Victorian menagerie.
Exotic animal escapes are relatively rare today, but in the 19th century it wasn't unusual to find a tiger loose in the street.