The Evolution of

Zoo and Aquarium


The Evolution of

Zoo and Aquarium


Now available!

Can zoos save the world?

Scores of wild species and ecosystems around the world face a variety of human-caused threats, from habitat destruction and fragmentation to rapid climate change. But there is hope, and it, too, comes in a most human form: zoos and aquariums. Gathering a diverse, multi-institutional collection of leading zoo and aquarium scientists as well as historians, philosophers, biologists, and social scientists, The Ark and Beyond traces the history and underscores the present role of these organizations as essential conservation actors. It also offers a framework for their future course, reaffirming that if zoos and aquariums make biodiversity conservation a top priority, these institutions can play a vital role in tackling conservation challenges of global magnitude.

Edited by

Ben A. Minteer

Jane Maienschein

James P. Collins

Foreword by

George Rabb


“In an age of extinction, ‘wild’ places are increasingly being managed like zoos. What role do actual zoos and aquariums have to play? The Ark and Beyond looks at this question from all angles; the result is both informative and thought-provoking.”

— Elizabeth Kolbert
Author of the Pulitzer Prize–winning The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History

“The role of zoos and aquariums is constantly evolving, particularly as there is pressure to increase their contribution to conservation. This collection ably shows that zoos and aquariums are not a flotilla of little arks that have to be self-sufficient. Rather, we should be better grounded in the social fabric of our communities, better networked, and better connected to the animals outside our walls.”

— Jenny Gray
CEO of Zoos Victoria, Australia, and president of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums

The Ark and Beyond is essential reading for anyone interested in our tangled and evolving relationship with zoos and aquariums. At the zoo we find ourselves at the shifting borderland between the wild and the walled. This book’s editors and contributors explore that territory, bringing together decades of practical and theoretical expertise in conservation biology, history, and education. Their insights will deeply inform and benefit readers wrestling with the complex questions we find ourselves asking when we lock eyes with our kindred creatures.”

— Curt Meine
Aldo Leopold Foundation & Center for Humans and Nature