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ZIMS for Medical: EAZA leads the development of biobank feature

Caption: Taken collectively across wider populations, biological samples such as blood and tissue lead to discoveries that can improve the welfare of an entire species. It is then extremely important to have accurate sample data that can link to the animal from which it came. ZIMS for Medical – Biobank is uniquely designed to enable regional and international communities to securely manage large sample collections. (Photo licensed from Adobe Stock Images)

Overview: Developed with leadership and guidance from the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA), the ZIMS Biobank feature enables regional and international zoo and wildlife organizations to share information critical to research and discovery, and to securely managing large sample collections across regions. Included in ZIMS for Medical, the feature facilitates the operations of the EAZA Biobank serving zoo and aquarium and wildlife institutions in Europe and the Middle East.

This project was supported by funds from Beauval Nature and the Royal Zoological Association of Antwerp (KMDA), while the EAZA Biobank itself is supported by the European Union LIFE+ fund.

Biological samples collected by zoo and wildlife veterinarians are critical to identifying disease, understanding an individual animal’s condition, and treating illness. EAZA Biobank provides the infrastructure and expertise needed to store and manage biological samples from its member zoos and aquariums. The biobank is essential for institutions that lack the resources to store samples, and provides a central resource for conservation research and for genetically supporting population management.

Caption: The EAZA Biobank consists of four banking hubs for the EAZA community located in Antwerp Zoo, the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) Edinburgh Zoo, the Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW) and Copenhagen Zoo. Their staff ensure the keeping, curating and registering of samples under optimal and long-term storage, supporting the aim of the EAZA Biobank. Read more. (Photo courtesy of Copenhagen Zoo)

Taken collectively across wider populations, these samples can lead to discoveries that can improve the welfare of an entire species. ZIMS Biobank facilitates EAZA’s ability to share information about samples, securely and with the data standards required for research and discovery.

“This is a major step forward for the collection and management of biological sample information, which will lead to real benefits in zoo- and aquarium-based ex situ conservation,” said Myfanwy Griffith, EAZA Executive Director. “We look forward to seeing how large-scale adoption of the module will influence the research and practice of population management for conservation.”

EAZA worked with Species360 to develop an efficient way to capture, share and manage the data that it required for each sample. EAZA Biobank led the initiative, working with Species360’s veterinary product development team. The solution is based upon ZIMS for Medical – Sample Storage, introduced earlier this year.

The ZIMS feature enables EAZA Biobank staff to confirm required patient sample data is recorded, and to add supplemental information regarding storage of the sample. ZIMS streamlines sample management, while ensuring that EAZA and its members retain accurate, searchable, complete information about each sample. Sample data is linked to the animal from which it came.

In developing the feature, EAZA and Species360 focused on: 1) ensuring efficiency for those entering and using the information; and 2) enabling secure and transparent data sharing between the institutions collecting the samples and the Biobank staff placing them into storage.

ZIMS, or the Zoological Information Management System, is used by more than 1,200 wildlife institutions worldwide to record medical, husbandry, and studbooks information for animals, collections, and enclosures.

For more information about EAZA Biobank, contact Ania Brown, EAZA Biobank Coordinator, at

For more information about Species360 and the Zoological Information Management System (ZIMS), contact

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