4.3 Conservation Education

“If conservation is to succeed, people need to be inspired to care about and understand animals and the threats they face in the wild. To do that EAZA believes, everyone should have the opportunity to experience and learn about wildlife first hand. EAZA members have an important role to play in protecting nature and wildlife both at our zoos and in the wild, and communicating this role through conservation education is essential in EAZA zoos. Conservation education is not just confined to people who visit EAZA zoos and aquariums. It can take place out in the local community, in partnership with other organisations, within in situ projects and collaboratively on a global scale.”
– EAZA Conservation Education Standards – EAZA

Conservation education is one of the key roles of modern zoos, so it is essential for all zoo staff to understand the principles and importance of conservation education. It is particularly important for keepers to be skilled in conservation education, because for many keepers conservation education may be a part of their job role. Even if keepers are not directly tasked with delivering conservation education messages, the nature of the keeper role means that they will be interacting with visitors and so should be able to deliver relevant conservation education messages when talking with the public. It important that all zookeepers have an understanding of how zoos can deliver this role, why it matters and who it matters to. Within this topic there are three competencies:

  • Importance of Conservation Education: zookeepers can describe the role that zoos play in educating the public and why this is important for conservation of species.
  • Methods for Delivering Conservation Education: zookeepers demonstrate awareness of a variety of different ways of delivering educational messages and achieving behaviour change with visitors.
  • Delivering Keeper Talks: zookeepers are able to devise and deliver keeper talks that enable the public to experience and learn about wildlife.
Zookeepers working at Competent level can: Zookeepers working at Proficient level can: Zookeepers working at Expert level can:
4.3.1 Importance of Conservation Education Define conservation education, based on the EAZA Conservation Education standards
Give a range of examples of conservation education work carried out by their zoo
Describe the EAZA Conservation Education Standards and how they apply to their institution
Explain why conservation education is important for zoos
Describe relevant examples of how they apply the EAZA Conservation Education Standards within their daily work
4.3.2 Methods for Delivering Conservation Education List key methods for delivering conservation education in zoos (eg. classroom teaching, guided tours, talks and presentations, signs, immersive theming, interactive exhibits, animal encounters, games, practical demonstrations and workshops)
Describe the conservation education activities of their own institution
Explain how different methods are used with different audiences, types and size of collection
Deliver conservation education activities effectively
Collaborate with educators to design new educational activities that deliver conservation education messaging and impact, in line with the EAZA standards
Select and apply appropriate delivery methods for different audiences
Confidently deliver face to face engagement
4.3.3 Delivering Keeper Talks Deliver talks to the public ensuring key learning points are delivered
Explain why public talks are an important tool for educating the public and what the drawbacks of talks might be in relation to delivering educational messaging
Devise a plan for a keeper talk, including key learning outcomes and a description of how and where the talk should be delivered.
Describe what needs to be considered when developing a new talk
Use appropriate equipment for the delivery of public talks
Develop a talks programme, taking into account the range of messaging and experiences visitors might expect and the practicalities of delivery
Detail the pros and cons of different technologies and approaches for delivering keeper talks


  • EAZA Conservation Education Standards – EAZA
  • WAZA Conservation Strategy: Committing to Conservation – WAZA
  • EU Zoos Directive Good Practices Document (chapter 2.3) – European Commission

Paths to fulfilment

  • EAZA Academy course ‘Introduction to Zoo and Aquarium Management’  – EAZA

Last updated: 14/12/2017