Realizing that the animal collection of any institution is dynamic and must satisfy changing needs and purposes, the following policy has been written to guide the managers in acquiring and disposing of specimens. Collection changes will be made in accordance with Zoo Miami’s mission statement1, pursuant to Miami Dade County Administrative Order No. 4-432 and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Code of Professional Ethics3. All animal transactions will be made in strict accordance with applicable local, state and federal regulations. All animal transactions will be initiated by the collection goals set by the General Curator and approved by the Director.
Collection goals are derived from the following criteria:
- Conservation priority/ SSP® recommendations
- Educational value Staff expertise in caring for the species
- Display potential
- Climatic suitability for the species
- Genetic management of the collection
Every effort will be made to plan breeding in order to maintain proper age structure and gender distribution, and to produce animals in numbers appropriate to the conservation and exhibition needs of each species. To accomplish these ends it is necessary to acquire and relocate animals. It is the responsibility of the zoo Director and Animal Science Managers to accomplish these transactions in a humane, safe, and responsible manner.
When on-site inspections are performed, the following will be used as a guideline for references. The preferred method for evaluating a facility is an on-site inspection by a Zoo Miami staff member or another AZA colleague.
In either case, an inspection form must be completed. If an on-site inspection cannot be performed, three references (AZA members preferred) will be asked to complete a reference questionnaire and a decision as to whether a facility is suitable will be made based on the information provided.
- One (1) Zoo Miami staff person inspection of facility.
- One (1) AZA colleague inspection or submission of a prior inspection report.
- Three (3) AZA colleague references that submit a reference questionnaire.
- Three (3) references deemed appropriate by Zoo Miami staff.
All acquisitions are accomplished through trades, donations, loans and purchases from zoological institutions or related facilities. Animals may be obtained from recognized commercial dealers who have demonstrated their capabilities through membership in the AZA. Commercial dealers who are not AZA members may be a source for animals provided other AZA institutions offer good recommendations and a dealer profile questionnaire is completed to the satisfaction of zoo staff. Donations may be accepted from private individuals. On occasion, specimens may also be collected from the wild. No acquisition will be made through animal auctions deemed unsuitable by the AZA’s Code of Professional Ethics.
All dispositions are accomplished through trades, loans, sales, donations, releases and euthanasia. Sales, loans and trades are conducted with AZA institutions, related facilities, private individuals and recognized commercial dealers as described above under acquisitions. Dispositions to individuals will be considered if the party in question has in their possession the proper permits, facilities and expertise related to the species involved to ensure adequate care, and that they complete a recipient profile questionnaire to management’s satisfaction.
No disposition will occur through animal auctions deemed unsuitable by the AZA’s Code of Professional Ethics. Any party receiving animals from Zoo Miami must first sign and return an animal transaction agreement stating the conditions of transfer, i.e., future transfers cannot be for hunting, at auctions, for terminal or debilitating research, or any other use contrary to the AZA Code of Professional Ethics.
Breeding loans to other institutions or individuals will be based on the following factors:
- Recommendations of an AZA SSP® or other conservation programs
- Specific need of the requesting institution
- Need of specimen at Zoo Miami
- Number of specimens at Zoo Miami
- Breeding success of requesting institution
- Breeding success of Zoo Miami
If the requesting party is an individual not affiliated with a zoological institution, then he or she must meet the criteria outlined above prior to approval of the loan.
General loans constitute all other loan agreements e.g., educational and display loans. All parties requesting general loans must meet the criteria stated above as to permits, capability of proper housing and care, and staff expertise prior to approval of the loan.
Documentation of Loans
The contractual agreement between Zoo Miami and requesting party will meet or exceed the standard loan agreement used by Zoo Miami, prepared under the guidelines of the AZA. Annual updates on the status of the specimens on loan from Zoo Miami to others must be provided in writing. Failure to do so will constitute grounds for termination of the loan.
Release of Zoo Miami animals will be permitted to further the conservation of species in their natural habitat. Any release must take place under the auspices of a scientific wildlife management program conducted by qualified biologists. All appropriate governing authorities for the location of the release and species concerned must also approve releases.
¹Zoo Miami’s mission statement: Share the wonder of wildlife and help conserve it for generations to come.
²Miami Dade County Administrative Order No. 4-43: The county policy that authorizes Zoo Miami to Trade, Donate and Sell animals with Zoo Miami Director, Miami Dade County Parks and Recreation Director and County Manager approval for transactions based on their dollar value.
³AZA Code of Professional Ethics: The ethics of the AZA and Member Institutions relating to animal transactions can be found r