Zoo enclosures and areas in between them have a huge potential to harbor diverse communities of free-ranging animals and plants. A 3-year survey assessed free-living organisms in a city zoo, which is committed to exhibiting biodiversity, and documented, in total, 3110 species. Due to the lack of taxonomic experts, the number was estimated to exceed 5500 species. To increase native biodiversity between the enclosures, the use of chemicals, disinfectants, and other cleaning activities should be critically assessed and reduced whenever possible. A certain amount of “controlled variation” of natural materials located on and between enclosures is encouraged. Naturalistic exhibits with native flora and fauna should be promoted when- and wherever possible. Specific measures and objects to attract free-living organisms should be integrated into zoo development plans. Visitor information can use these new sources in their education programs. Biodiversity on zoo grounds also offers potential for the attending veterinarian to become involved on-site in wildlife conservation and research.
Christian John Wenker, Chapter 33 - Exhibit Biodiversity and Animal Health, Editor(s): Eric Miller, Nadine Lamberski, Paul Calle, Fowler' s Zoo and Wild Animal Medicine Current Therapy, Volume 10, W.B. Saunders, 2023, Pages 217-222, ISBN 9780323828529,