1. Introduction

The Zoo of Barcelona and the Barcelona Zoo Foundation with this code aim to keep a high standard of behaviour and performance of good practice, which guarantee a responsible management of the species entrusted to their care, ensuring that its performance will always remain at the levels established by the codes of good practice of WAZA, EAZA and AIZA, professional associations of international, European and Iberian scope, of which the zoo is a full member.


Zoos and aquaria contribute substantially to biodiversity conservation, conservation research and to environmental education, and play a prominent role as cultural and social top-level entities. This is why we must fulfil our environmental and social responsibilities, defend ethical values ​​consistent with our previous missions and set an example with our good practice, based on widely accepted ethical principles. As a basic starting point, the acceptance of WAZA’s Global Strategy for Zoos and Aquariums is implicit.


The Zoo of Barcelona and its Foundation assume that their activity is based on the respect towards the dignity of the animals of which we take care, towards the community that welcomes us, people who visit us and the rest of the members of the international zoological community.


This Code complements and completes the existing code of ethics of the Barcelona Zoo Foundation.

2. Mission

To promote the study and observance of ethical values ​​and principles and the performance of best practices in daily and specific activities, related to conservation, research and education.

3. Fields of action

The Zoo of Barcelona and its Foundation are committed to act at all times in compliance with local, national and international legislations, and to work under the highest standards in all fields of action, in particular the following ones:



  • 3.1.- Animal well-being


The Zoo of Barcelona acknowledges that the well-being of the animals under its care is of paramount importance and, in order to guarantee it, it is committed to:


- Comply with the WAZA, EAZA and AIZA standards, as well as all currently applicable legal requirements, regarding its facilities and the management of animals, while ensuring that their environmental, behavioural and physiological needs are met.


- Carry out interrupted monitoring and evaluation of these standards’ compliance.


- Apply and maintain safe and appropriate management and veterinary care performance.



  • 3.2.- Animal population planning


- The Zoo of Barcelona:


- will keep an Institutional Collection Plan (ICP) of the animal population, in accordance with the EAZA guidelines on institutional collection planning, which will be based on the conservation, research and education goals of the institution.


- will take part in the planning of the Regional Collection and in EAZA’s breeding programs (EEPs and ESBs) and, as far as possible, in other scientific breeding programs, coordinated at local, national or international level.


- provide all requested information in European Endangered Species Programs (EEPs), European Studbooks (ESBs), Monitoring Programs and in International Studbooks.



  • 3.3.- Population management


The Zoo of Barcelona acknowledges its responsibility towards all the animals born in its collection, and thus, it commits to:


- Manage the breeding animals according to ICP guidelines, in order to avoid unacceptable excesses or an improper animal disposal.


- Use appropriate and safe contraception methods for this purpose, the secondary effects of which and whose impact on the behaviour of the animals have been assessed as far as possible, prior to the decision to use them.


- Perform euthanasia only as a last resort, for situations in which the animal’s well-being is or may be compromised.


- Not to practice hybridizations or selection methods intended to generate non-natural forms.



  • 3.4.- Origin of the animals


The Zoo of Barcelona will work to ensure that the origin of its animals is limited to those born under human care, and for this reason it will establish direct and bilateral communication with other zoos.


In the case of species included in community breeding programs (EEPs and ESBs), the zoo will always check with the corresponding responsible coordinator of the program, before adding a new animal to its collection.


This does not in any way exclude the possible reception of seized or rescued animals from the competent authorities.


The Zoo acknowledges that there may be a legitimate need to obtain wild animals, due to the requirements of certain breeding and conservation programs, educational programs or basic biological studies. Prior to this, the Zoo of Barcelona will ensure that such acquisitions do not have a detrimental effect on the wild population and are done according to law and in coordination with the competent authorities.



  • 3.5.- Facilities and monitoring of the animals


The Zoo of Barcelona is committed to guarantee that all its facilities have the necessary requirements, so the animals can express their natural behaviours, important to their well-being. Along these lines, all new planned facilities, as well as any improvement to existing facilities, that are being implemented will meet the requirements for each of the species, as established by the international zoological community.


Likewise, facilities must contain sufficient material to enable an appropriate enrichment that allows the development of such natural behaviours of the species.


The animals will also have areas where they can lay down if they wish to do so, and there will be reserve areas that will allow a temporary separation of animals that require it.


It will be acted immediately upon any circumstance that could compromise the well-being of the animals or that contradicts the maintenance standard that the Zoo intends to achieve.


When a specimen participates in public shows, these must convey a conservation message with educational value, and must be based on the natural behaviours of the animals, without degrading their image in any way.



  • 3.6.- Animal transference


The Zoo of Barcelona will ensure, before sending out one of its animals, that the receiving institution can guarantee acceptable standards both with regard to the facilities where the animal will be placed and to the capacity of its staff to take proper care.


All transferred animals will be accompanied by appropriate records with information on health, diet, current status and other relevant details to be disclosed at the beginning of the transfer-oriented talks. These records will enable the receiving institution to take appropriate decisions regarding the future management of the animal.


All transfers of animals will fully comply with the current local, national and international standards and legislation.


When the transferred species so require according to their needs and characteristics, the animals will be accompanied by qualified personnel.



  • 3.7.- Records and transparency


The Zoo of Barcelona will keep a record of all its animals permanently updated, in accordance with the applicable regulations, in a format that enables easy transmission and share of such record. This record will contain as much information as possible on each of the animals.


The Zoo of Barcelona recognizes the value and importance of sharing information, ideas and experiences, and so it will disclose the professional data contained in its records, in order to collaborate with other institutions. This provision will be particularly systematic regarding regulatory authorities.



  • 3.8.- Alteration of the animals’ aspect


The Zoo of Barcelona considers any action aimed to modify the physical appearance of animals for purely aesthetic reasons or for presentation to the public to be unacceptable.


However, the Zoo accepts that the management of some species, under certain circumstances, requires the application of measures that may alter the physical appearance of animals, as is the case of some identification methods, used to differentiate individuals. In this case, such alteration will always be carried out under professional supervision and in a way that does not harm the animal’s well-being.



  • 3.9.- Euthanasia


The Zoo of Barcelona has a specific protocol that develops and expressly states the criteria to be considered before practising euthanasia on one of its animals. These criteria's main goal is the well-being and health of animals.


In any case, if after applying this protocol, the resulting decision is that the animal must be submitted to euthanasia, this will be carried out in a way that guarantees a death without suffering and will be always performed under veterinary control.



  • 3.10.- Conservation


As part of its commitment to the World Zoo and Aquarium Conservation Strategy of WAZA, Zoo of Barcelona and its Foundation are aware that the promotion of biodiversity conservation is an essential and key goal. As a result of this conviction and willingness to act, a Research and Conservation Plan (PRIC), managed by the Barcelona Zoo Foundation, has been established, in order to:


- Promote and support the conservation of biodiversity,

- Allocate resources to conservation projects and efforts,

- Raise awareness and engage visitors in environmental problems and conservation projects,

- Regularly evaluate and document conservation efforts, to demonstrate their effectiveness,

- Make this information available to all parties involved in these projects and to the rest of the zoological community; and        

- Ensure that conservation programs comply with the IUCN/SSC’s Reintroduction Specialist Group Guidelines and that they have the support of relevant wildlife management agencies, when they involve the introduction or reintroduction of animals into the wild.



  • 3.11.- Research


As part of its commitment to the World Zoo and Aquarium Conservation Strategy of WAZA, Zoo of Barcelona and its Foundation are aware that the use of animals under their care to carry out scientific and responsible research, aimed to increase the knowledge about them and about conservation of biodiversity, is an essential and key goal. Therefore, a Research and Conservation Plan (PRIC) has been established, explaining the criteria to be followed in research activities and giving priority to the areas and goals that should guide it. The Zoo proposes to share the results of research activities in which it collaborates or sponsor, through the presentation in scientific and informative media.



  • 3.12.- Education.


As part of its commitment to the World Zoo and Aquarium Conservation Strategy of WAZA, Zoo of Barcelona and its Foundation are aware that conservation education is a third key goal and of paramount importance in the development of a zoological institution Therefore, they undertake to provide their visitors with information and activities aimed at their education, as an effective tool to promote knowledge and awareness of the natural world, as well as of the need for biodiversity conservation.


It is assumed, therefore, the commitment to endow with a relevant educational content each and every one of the activities that the Zoo organizes. And that is why there is a Department of Education, where specifically trained staff designs programs with high educational content and carries them out according to the visitors’ needs.



  • 3.13.- Day-to-day operation and visitor’s service


The Zoo of Barcelona will strive to the extent of its possibilities to provide top quality equipment and the best experience possible at any time, to visitors.


Aware of having potentially dangerous animals among the species under their care, the Zoo will pay due attention to the health and safety of staff, visitors and animals, by means of:


- Compliance with current health and safety regulations,

- Immediate resolution of potential threats to the safety of staff and visitors, and

- Maintenance of a Security and Emergency Plan, regularly reviewed and updated.


A commitment is made to continuously implement environmentally sustainable practices.


It will also be ensured that promotional campaigns convey a positive and respectful image of their animals, aware that the way animals and zoos are shown to the media has an impact on public perceptions.

4. Ethics and animal well-being committee

The Zoo of Barcelona and its Foundation have a Committee on Ethics and Animal Well-being, as advisory body that supports, advises and promotes proposals and lines of action in accordance with this Code of Ethics and Animal Well-being. This Committee consists of several people, both from the Zoo and outside the institution who are periodically renewed, and under an applicable Internal Operation Regulation that defines its functions and procedures.


The Code of Ethics and Animal Well-being will be reviewed by this Committee every two years or at the request of the members of the Committee.



Barcelona, December 12, 2016