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ZIMS at Work: Germany’s Wuppertal Zoo contributes essential data for more than 800 species

Local media outlet Wuppertaler Rundshau on July 5 says visitors to Wuppertal Zoo are reserving tickets online as more animal houses begin to open post-COVID. Here, Sea lion Cuba with her cub Keela. Photo: Grüner Zoo Wuppertal / Claudia Philipp

When you realize just how much information is generated by institutions like Wuppertal Zoo, Germany, it is not surprising that Species360 member zoos and aquariums form one of the largest sources of demographic knowledge of fish, mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians. So, just HOW MUCH knowledge does Wuppertal contribute to our knowledge of species?

In all, Wuppertal Zoo is one of the largest contributors of husbandry and medical information used to better understand and care for wildlife. Curators, animal care, and aquatic experts use Species360 ZIMS (the Zoological Information Management System), to enter over 150,000 husbandry and medical records for more than 800 Species.

That data makes a difference. By combining information recorded by Zoo Wuppertal with data for the same species at other Species360 member institutions worldwide, our community provides ZIMS Global Medical Resources like Anesthesia Summaries, Drug Usage Extracts, Expected Test Results, and other tools that are essential to caring for ill or injured wildlife.

The Demographic Species Knowledge Index, published in Publications of the National Academy of Sciences, demonstrates the role of zoo and aquarium data in providing information essential to conservation. The index serves as a first step towards mapping the world’s biodiversity knowledge and has been recommended for the implementation of the post 2020 EU Biodiversity strategy supported by WWF, BirdLife International, the Nature Conservancy, and 17 other conservation organizations.

The impact of data from Species360 members like Wuppertal Zoo extends beyond the care of individual animals to influence how we protect and sustain biodiversity of life. Demographic and population management data in ZIMS, combined with other global sources, has become essential to shaping the policies and priorities that seek to protect populations. For more information on the role of zoo and aquarium data in species conservation, look to the Species360 Conservation Science Alliance.

Talk to us about how your institution is making a difference in species knowledge and other areas! Email your member stories to

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