Multi-Species Husbandry Guideline Compilations
Animal Care Manuals from the AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquariums) can be your best friend. These highly detailed documents outline the basics of design for an animal including sizes of exhibit, barrier types and heights, and elements required within the exhibit, such as a pool of specific depth, natural substrates, etc. The AZA publishes these manuals on their website currently, but require that you have a password to access them (given only to AZA members). The Association is currently undergoing the process of writing Animal Care Manuals for most of the animal species held in America’s zoos to replace the outdated Husbandry Guidelines for Mammals published in 1997.
Currently, the AZA has published ACMs for the following species:
- Andean Condor
- Chimpanzee – translated into Japanese
- Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake
- Giant Pacific Octopus
- Indigo Snake
- Japanese Spider Crab
- Kori Bustard
- Large Canids
- Mongoose, Meerkat, and Fossa
- Polar Bear
- Red-legged Seriema
- Red-legged Seriema – translated into Portuguese
- Red Panda
- River Otter
- Tapir – translated into Spanish
If you need access to the 1997 Husbandry Guidelines (which are outdated, less extensive, and much more generic–but a place to start when you have absolutely nothing else to go on), let me know.
Many people don’t realize the government sets standards for animal care in the United States. However, these standards are very small and should be followed as minimums only as a double check that you haven’t made a gross error. APHIS (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) covers all animals but provides meaningful information on Marine Mammals specifically. Currently, with the exception of Polar Bears, the AZA does not have separate guidelines for marine mammals. So, if you are working with marine mammals, you must use the USDA APHIS standards as your working minimum.
Follow link above and look under Chapter 1, Subchapter A, Part 3, Subpart E for Marine Mammals.
An independent registry dedicated to various sources for husbandry manuals published by associations and organizations around the world. Some sources have direct links to web published manuals, which is very convenient, while others simply list a contact person with email and phone number. I’ve found these contact people to be very helpful and generally reply in a timely manner.
The International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council share their “Minimum Standards for Wildlife Rehabilitation”. These guidelines, targeted for rehabilitators, outline minimum space requirements for common North American species not generally included in other husbandry manuals. A great resource particularly for birds and reptiles.
The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums has published a species specific resource with tons of great information, including their recommended exhibit size minimums. A great starting point.
Update (Jan. 2013): All sizing recommendations have been removed from the website, although behavioral and transport info are still available.
Comprehensive list of North America’s aquariums along with vital stats like size, cost, year opened and architect.
The AZA Elephant TAG has created a concise resource for all things elephants including educational messaging content, exhibit design recommendations, conservation, husbandry resources among many other interesting and helpful info.
The full husbandry manual is updated and maintained by the Chicago Zoological Society along with an exceptional database of enrichment ideas.
This detailed manual outlines how-to to design for and maintain sharks, rays, and chimaeras in captivity.
The official government issued regulations pertaining to polar bears in captivity. If your facility does not meet these standards, the Canadian government will not allow the export of bears to you.
The complete document is targeted at sea turtle rehabilitators, but does include some useful sizing information for captive animals–providing a fairly comfortably sized enclosure. Information specific to facility design can be found in Section 4.
Includes detailed information for flamingos in captivity. Massive bibliography supporting everything aspect of the birds.
Information for all species of penguins in captivity. Highly detailed and very useful.
Great draft of husbandry manual by an AZA accredited zoo for this tropical bird.
Collection of hoofstock husbandry manuals from AZA TAGs. Includes Okapi, Wildebeest, Wild Cattle, Babirusa and many more.
Zoolex is a non-profit zoo design organization dedicated to the collection and dissemination of exhibit information from around the world. The Gallery of Exhibits contains self-reported information from zoos on specific exhibits including photos, number of animals, exhibit size, construction cost, and much more. A useful tool for bench marking.
Shape organizes loads of enrichment information online, publishes a monthly newsletter, and leads workshops with various institutions around the world. Utilize the Enrichment Idea Database (found under the Services tab), or other free enrichment resources via their website, or order the monthly enrichment newsletter featuring dozens of great enrichment ideas for an annual fee.