Zoological Society of London

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Zoological Society of London
PurposeTo promote worldwide conservation of animals and their habitats; London Zoo and Whipsnade Zoo, research in Institute of Zoology, field conservation
  • London, England
Coordinates51°32′09″N 0°09′27″W / 51.5357°N 0.1575°W / 51.5357; -0.1575Coordinates: 51°32′09″N 0°09′27″W / 51.5357°N 0.1575°W / 51.5357; -0.1575

The Zoological Society of London (ZSL) is a charity devoted to the worldwide

Whipsnade Park


Zoological Society of London (ZSL), Main Building by John Belcher and John James Joass

On 29 November 1822, the birthday of

Jardin des Plantes in Paris. It would house a zoological collection "which should interest and amuse the public."[1]

The society was founded in April 1826 by

George IV on 27 March 1829.[1]

The purpose of the society was to create a collection of animals for study at leisure, an associated museum and library. In April 1828, the Zoological Gardens were opened to members. In 1831

Royal Menagerie to the Zoological Society, and in 1847 the public was admitted to aid funding, and Londoners soon christened the Zoological Gardens the "Zoo". London Zoo
soon had the most extensive collection of animals in the world.

A History of the ZSL, written by Henry Scherren (FZS), was published in 1905.[1] The History was criticised as inadequately researched by Peter Chalmers Mitchell in 1929; both histories were labelled inaccurate by John Bastin in 1970.[3]

As the twentieth century began, the need to maintain and research large animals in a more natural environment became clear. Peter Chalmers Mitchell (ZSL Secretary 1903–35) conceived the vision of a new park no more than 70 miles (110 km) away from London and thus accessible to the public, and at least 200 acres (0.81 km2) in extent. In 1926, profiting from the agricultural depression, the ideal place was found: Hall Farm, near

. In 1931 Whipsnade Park was opened to the public as the world's first open zoological park.

In 1960–61,

Lord Zuckerman, then Secretary of ZSL, raised funds from two medical foundations to found laboratories as an Institute of Zoology
where scientists would be employed by ZSL and undertake research.

The Society is a registered charity under English law.[4]

The Institute of Zoology

The Institute of Zoology is the scientific research division of the ZSL. It is a government-funded research institute, which specialises in scientific issues relevant to the conservation of species and their habitats. The Institute of Zoology focuses its research on five areas: evolutionary biology, genetics, ecology, reproductive biology and wildlife epidemiology. The Institute of Zoology was graded 4 in the 1997–2001 UK Research Assessment Exercise, and publishes reports annually. From the late 1980s the Institute of Zoology had been affiliated to the University of London. However, in 2000 this was replaced with a partnership with the University of Cambridge.

Zoos and publications

ZSL runs

BIOSIS. The Society has published the Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London, now called the Journal of Zoology, since 1830. Since 1998 it has also published Animal Conservation. Other publications include the International Zoo Yearbook and Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation


The society administers the following award programmes:[5]


Individuals can be elected Fellows of the Zoological Society of London and therefore granted the post-nominal letters FZS.

Honorary Fellows

The ZSL's Honorary Fellows include:[7]


The council is the governing body of the ZSL. There are 15 council members, led by the president and served by the secretary and treasurer. Council members are the trustees of the society and serve for up to five years at a time.[8]


The Presidency is a voluntary position, with the role of leading the ZSL Council. The Society's Presidents and their dates in office are:[9]


The post of secretary is honorary and under the society's constitution carries the responsibility for the day-to-day management of the affairs of the ZSL. The secretaries and their dates in office are:[10][11]

Coat of Arms

Coat of arms of Zoological Society of London
Coat of Arms of the Zoological Society of London.svg
Granted 10 February 1959 [12]
On a wreath Or and Sable, an osprey, wings extended, perched upon and grasping in talons a fish fesswise Proper.
Gules, a lion passant guardant Or, armed and langued Azure, holding in the dexter paw a torch Or, enflamed Proper, the flame irradiated also Or.
On either side a zebra Proper, collared Or.
'Curae Genus Omne Animantium'


  1. ^ a b c d Scherren, Henry (1905). The Zoological Society of London. Cassell & Co.
  2. ^ "Zoological Society". The Times. No. 12956. London. 2 May 1826. col C, p. 3.
  3. .
  4. ^ "Zoological Society of London, registered charity no. 208728". Charity Commission for England and Wales.
  5. ^ ZSL scientific awards
  6. ^ 1961 ff
  7. ^ The Zoological Society of London Honorary Fellows
  8. ^ Current ZSL Council Members
  9. ^ New president for ZSL promises public a gateway into conservation Archived 14 June 2009 at the Wayback Machine ZSL press release announcing the new president in 2004
  10. ^ The Zoological Society of London. Charter and Byelaws. 1995.
  11. ^ Denton, Peter (12 May 1994). "Obituary: Sir Barry Cross". The Independent. Archived from the original on 7 May 2022. Retrieved 14 October 2011.
  12. ^ "Zoological Society of London". Heraldry of the World. Retrieved 25 September 2022.

External links