Organisation & objectives
In a world in which the relationship between man and animal is under pressure, Ouwehands Zoo wants to encourage admiration for nature, to encourage people to think and act, and to develop into a leading organisation in this field. Ouwehands Zoo aspires to contribute to the objectives below.
For the survival of rare and endangered animal species, both in nature and in zoos, it is essential that they are made to reproduce. Therefore, Ouwehands Zoo is collaborating with other zoos in the field of international breeding programmes (European Endangered Species Programmes, or EEPs) for endangered animal species. Ouwehands Zoo has successfully bred many animal species, after which their offspring were donated to other certified zoos. As a result of these programmes, visitors all around the world will be able to admire a variety of animal species in zoos in the future as well, and learn about them, without animals having to be captured in nature for this purpose. Unfortunately, the numbers of many animal species in the wild are in sharp decline. For these animals as well, breeding programmes have been created with the aim of returning the animals to nature in the future. By now, Ouwehands has gained ample knowledge and experience, and the breeding results for some animal species, such as polar bears, are very good. In addition, knowledge about diets, accommodation and veterinary care is shared with various fellow zoos.
As a member of the Dutch Zoo Federation (NVD), Ouwehands Zoo contributes knowledge and finances to the nature conservation fund, which supports various projects aimed at the conservation of endangered animal species and their habitats. In addition, Ouwehands contributes to nature conservation by means of its own Ouwehands Zoo Foundation (OZF). This foundation protects the wild congeners of the animals that live in Ouwehands Zoo. OZF supports well-organised, small-scale projects that focus on the congeners of the animals that live at Ouwehands Zoo.
Furthermore, for some time now, Ouwehands Zoo has been supporting nature conservation by means of knowledge and a financial contribution to Bears in Mind, a foundation dedicated to the protection of the bear and its habitat. One of the best-known projects of Bears in Mind is the Bear Forest at Ouwehands Zoo. In addition to 'bear projects', the foundation focuses on other animal species in countries such as Bulgaria, Serbia, Russia, Slovakia, Georgia, Turkey, the Czech Republic and India.
Nature conservation education
Ouwehands Zoo wants its visitors not only to see the animals but also to learn something about the animal world. This will help visitors to gain understanding and respect for animals in nature, after which they can be made enthusiastic for nature conservation. At Ouwehands Zoo, education first and foremost takes place by means of informative panels. In addition, animal introductions, live park entertainment and personal explanations by the animal keepers and volunteers are used to convey the message of nature conservation.
Conducting scientific research is one of the important objectives of Ouwehands Zoo. Research projects focus on keeping the animals in the zoo as healthy as possible while at the same time gathering knowledge that contributes to the preservation of animal species in the wild. Researching animals living in the wild is difficult and expensive. Furthermore, knowledge of certain species in the wild is often lacking. It is easier to study the animals at the zoo. By conducting research, Ouwehands Zoo can learn more about species-specific characteristics, behaviour and reproduction. The knowledge acquired can subsequently be used to protect conspecifics in the wild.