About ZSL

About ZSL

Founded in 1826, the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) is an international scientific, conservation and educational charity whose mission is to promote and achieve the worldwide conservation of animals and their habitats.

Our mission is realised through our groundbreaking science, our active conservation projects in more than 50 countries and our two Zoos, ZSL London Zoo and ZSL Whipsnade Zoo.

ZSL Vision

A world where animals are valued, and their conservation assured.

ZSL Mission

To promote and achieve the worldwide conservation of animals and their habitats

ZSL is registered as a charity in England and Wales: no.208728.

ZSL strategic aims

Strategic aim 1

To undertake and promote relevant high quality zoological and conservation research, to help us achieve our conservation objectives and to inform and influence conservation policy.

Strategic aim 2

To encourage and motivate all our stakeholders to support and engage in conservation.

Strategic aim 3

To implement and achieve effective and appropriate ‘in situ’ and ‘ex situ’ conservation programmes for priority species and habitats.

Strategic aim 4

To lead and deliver exemplary Zoos in order to advance ZSL’s mission.

Strategic aim 5

To further ZSL’s mission by maximising opportunities to generate funds.

ZSL history

Since Sir Stamford Raffles founded ZSL in 1826, there have been a number of achievements in our conservation work in the wild as well as at ZSL London Zoo and ZSL Whipsnade Zoo. Read more about ZSL’s history .

Famous animals

Over the years ZSL has been home to many famous animals, including Guy the gorilla, Goldie the golden eagle and Winnie, who became one of the most famous bears in the world. Find out more about ZSL’s Famous animals

ZSL architecture

When London Zoo opened in 1827, Decimus Burton was called on to lay out the grounds and house the animals. Many other leading architects have since contributed to the built environment of the Zoo, creating a collection of buildings that includes two Grade I and eight Grade II listed structures. Read more about the ZSL’s amazing architecture.

Useful Links

All the organisations listed below complement the work of ZSL.

Find out more


ZSL is a member of BIAZA (British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums), the professional organisation representing the zoo and aquarium community.

BIAZA is a conservation, education and scientific wildlife charity founded in 1966 out of a mutual desire within the zoo and aquarium community to see sound principles and practices of animal management widely adopted in the British Isles and Ireland. Find out more about: BIAZA

ZSL – A Year in Review

A copy of our latest annual review can viewed online here:

Our previous annual reviews including the Institute of Zoology (IoZ) review can be found here: ZSL Annual Reports

Highlights of 2011

See some of ZSL’s amazing achievements in 2011.

Play this video

ZSL Conservation Review

The ZSL Conservation Review highlights ZSL’s major conservation achievements in 2010/11.

Animal inventory

For a full inventory of animals held at ZSL London and Whipsnade Zoos please visit our animal inventory page .

Guiding principles

Respecting and valuing animals and the natural world

Our belief is that a diverse and healthy natural world is valuable in its own right and is essential for ensuring secure and healthy lives for people. This motivates ZSL’s vision and mission, and our other core values follow from this.

Inspiring conservation action

We seek to motivate others to take conservation action in their daily lives.

Achieving excellence in our field

Building on our heritage, Royal Patronage since 1831 and reputation as a learned society, we aim to be an authoritative source of information and good practice for the scientific study, conservation and husbandry of animals; and to make efficient and effective use of available resources to achieve the highest possible standards in everything we do in the operation of a successful and innovative conservation organisation.

Acting ethically, responsibly and sustainably

We aim to operate in fair and justifiable ways that do not conflict with our mission or objectives, and which respect the environment.

Valuing everyone we work with

We support and value teamwork and collaboration, strive for fair and equitable treatment of everyone with whom we work and come into contact with, and aim to act with respect and courtesy in all our dealings.