» WILDLIFE » Recognition of Zoo Rules, 2009

New Delhi, the 10th November, 2009


G.S.R. 807 (E).- In exercise of the powers conferred by clauses (f) and (g) of Sub-section (1) of section 63 of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 (53 of 1972), and in supersession of the Recognition of Zoo Rules, 1992, except as in respect of things done or omitted to be done before such supersession, the Central Government hereby makes the following rules, namely; :-

1. Short title and commencement.-

  1. These rules may be called the Recognition of Zoo Rules, 2009.
  2. They shall come into force on the date of their publication in the Official Gazette

2. Definitions.- In these rules unless the context otherwise requires:

  1. "Act" means the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 (53 of 1972);
  2. "Central Zoo Authority" means the Central Zoo Authority constituted under section 38A of the Act;
  3. "Conservation Breeding Centre" means the facility specially dedicated to planned conservation breeding of an endangered species of wildlife.
  4. "Enclosure" means any accommodation provided for zoo animals.
  5. "Enclosure barrier" means a physical barrier to contain an animal within an enclosure.
  6. "Endangered Species" means species included in Schedule I and Schedule II of the Act.
  7. "Critically endangered species" means an endangered species whose total number in all the zoos in the country put together does not exceed 200.
  8. "Form" means a form appended to these rules.
  9. "Performance" means any effort to force the animal to carry out unnatural act including performance of circus tricks.
  10. "Rescue Centre" means an establishment for the long-term care of animals specified in the Schedules to the Act.
  11. "Stand-of-barrier" means a physical barrier set back from the outer edge of an enclosure barrier.
  12. "Zoo Director" means an in-charge of the zoo with whatever designation, responsible for day to day management of the zoo.
  13. "Zoo Operator" means the person who has ultimate control over the affairs of the zoos provided that
  1. in the case of a firm or other association of individuals, any one of the individual partners or members thereof; or
  2. in the case of a company, any director, manager, secretary or other officer, who is in-charge of and responsible to the company for the affairs of the zoo ; or
  3. In case of zoo owned or controlled by the Central Government or any State Government or Union Territory Administration or any Trust or Society funded by the Central Government or a State Government or a Union Territory Administration, the Secretary of the concerned Department of that Government, or as the case may be the Union Territory Administration, shall be deemed to be the Zoo Operator.

3. Application for Recognition

  1. An application for recognition of a Zoo under section 38H of the Act, shall be made to the Central Zoo Authority in Form I.
  2. An application for obtaining prior approval of the Central Zoo Authority under sub-section (1A) of section 38H of the Act for establishment of a new zoo shall be made to the Central Zoo Authority in Form I along with the a detailed project report.

4. Fees for Application There shall be paid in respect of every application made under rule 3, a fee of ten thousand rupees to be paid through Demand Draft or Postal Order in favour of the "Central Zoo Authority, New Delhi"

5. Documents to be filled along with the application and particulars it should contain.- Every application under rule 3 shall be accompanied by the fee specified under rule 4 and shall also contain documents and particulars as to the matters specified in Form I.

6. Power to make inquiries and call for information.- The Central Zoo Authority may, before granting recognition to a zoo under Section 38H of the Act, make such inquiries and ask for from the applicant such further information, as it may considers necessary.

7. Form of recognition.-

  1. The Central Zoo Authority may, on being satisfied with regard to sufficiency of facilities and standards in the zoo, grant recognition to such zoo.
  2. The recognition granted to a zoo under sub-rule (1) shall be subject to the following conditions, namely;
  1. that the recognition unless granted on a permanent basis, shall be for such period not less than one year as may be specified in the recognition.
  2. that the zoo shall comply with such standards and norms as are, or may be specified or imposed, by or under the provisions of the Act or the rules made thereunder; and
  3. the zoo shall comply with the directions and guidelines issued by the Central Zoo Authority from time to time, for the purpose of maintenance and upkeep of the zoo.

8. Renewal of recognition.-

  1. A zoo, recognized under these rules, shall make an application to the Central Zoo Authority in Form I three months before the expiry of the period of recognition.
  2. The provisions of rule 3, rule 4, rule 5, rule 6 and rule 7 shall apply in relation to renewal of recognition as they apply in relation to grant of recognition except that the fee payable in respect of an application for renewal of recognition shall be five thousand rupees.

9. Classification of zoos.-

  1. For the purposes of deciding standards and norms for recognition of zoo and monitoring and evaluating its performance, the zoo, on the basis of area, number of visitors, number of species and animals, endangered species and number of animals of endangered species in its collection shall be taken into consideration and the zoo shall accordingly be classified into following four categories as specified in the Table, namely:-
Sl No Category of zoo Criteria for Qualifying to the Category
Area of the zoo (hectares) No. of visitors in a year (in lakhs) No. of species No. of animals No. of endangered species No. of animals of endangered species
1. Large 75 7.5 75 750 20 100
2. Medium 35 3.5 3.5 350 10 50
3. Small 10 1.0 10 100 3 15
4. Mini Less than 10 Less than 1.0 Less than 10 Less than 100 - -
  1. The zoo which meets at least any four of the aforesaid criteria (but including number of species and number of animals) shall be classified as such by the Central Zoo Authority.

Provided that the Central Zoo Authority may, by order in writing, allow a mini zoo to keep animals of endangered species subject to the conditions, if any, laid down in that order with regard to the area of the zoo, housing, upkeep and healthcare facilities including deployment of veterinarian and supervisory level staff.

10. Standards and norms for recognition.- The Central Zoo Authority shall grant recognition to a zoo, with due regard to the interest of protection and conservation of wildlife, and on being satisfied that the standards and norms and other matters specified in the Schedule are met by such zoo:

Provided that the Central Zoo Authority may, if it considers appropriate, and for reason to be recorded in writing, grant recognition, with conditions, if any, to such zoo which have shown considerable improvement in the past and have the potential and resources to come up to the prescribed standards and norms within a reasonable time frame and are willing to do so. Such an action would lead to qualitative improvement in the zoos, and avoid logistic problems arising due to the closure of the zoos on the basis of their present status.

11. Maintenance of Records and submission of Inventory.-

  1. Every zoo shall maintain record of the births, acquisitions, deaths and disposals of animals of each species in its collection in the manner and in the format determined by the Central Zoo Authority and the inventory of the animals in the collection of each zoo, along with the details mentioned above for each financial year shall be submitted to the Central Zoo Authority by 30th day of April of the ensuing year in Form II.

Provided that the details in respect of the animals pertaining to the species included in Schedule I and Schedule II to the Act, along with the detailed reasons of death identified on the basis of the post-mortem examination reports shall be submitted to the Central Zoo Authority every quarter, within a period of fifteen days of the end of that quarter.

  1. Every zoo shall submit an annual report of its activities and compliance of the conditions stipulated by CZA for each financial year to the Central Zoo Authority by the 30th day of June of the year.


[ See rule 10 ]

1. General requirements.-

  1. Every zoo shall endeavour to establish and sustain population of physically, genetically and behaviorally healthy animals for furthering the cause of wildlife conservation and communicating credible conservation message to the visitors through display of healthy animals in naturalistic settings.
  2. Every zoo shall, through proper landscaping and planting of appropriate species, provide a naturalistic environment within the zoo to enable the visitors to have communion with nature and get motivated for living in harmony with nature.
  3. Every zoo shall endeavour to regulate the movement of visitors in the zoo in such a manner that zoo animals are not unduly disturbed, stressed or provoked and the zoo shall be closed to visitors at least one day in a week.
  4. Every zoo, as a safeguard against the un-regulated access of visitors to the zoo and zoo animals being subjected to injury, pilferage and predation, shall design appropriately the barriers along the boundary of the zoo in accordance with the standards issued by the Central Zoo Authority in this regard.
  5. Every zoo, which is surrounded by human landscape shall be encompassed by a perimeter wall of at least two meter in height from the ground level on both sides.
  6. No residential colony shall be constructed within the zoo premises.

Provided that where such colonies already exist, it shall be separated from the zoo premises by a boundary wall with a minimum height of two meters from the ground level. The entry to the residential colony shall not be through the zoo premises.

  1. Every zoo shall carry out its operations in a manner that causes minimum stress on natural resources and produces the minimum of solid wastes and effluents and the zoo shall also endeavour to put in place the practices of effective waste management through reducing, reusing and recycling and disposing the effluents and the solid wastes in a manner that causes least adverse environmental impact.
  2. Every zoo shall refrain from display of sick, injured, infirm and tethered animals to the visitors and such animals shall be housed in off-display facilities specially earmarked for and providing appropriate upkeep and healthcare for such animals
  3. Every zoo shall refrain from housing of domestic animals and pets within the zoo premises and adequate safeguards shall also be put in place to prevent the entry of domestic livestock, stray animals and pets into the premises of the zoo.

2. Administrative and Staffing Pattern

  1. The zoo operators shall post an officer of appropriate rank as "whole time in-charge" of the zoo with powers to take decision and ensure that adequate financial resources and infrastructural support is made available to such officer for proper housing, upkeep and healthcare of the zoo animals and managing the zoo in a planned manner.
  2. Every zoo operator shall provide adequate scientific and technical staff to support the officer-in-charge of the zoo in carrying out the responsibilities of housing, upkeep and healthcare of zoo animals, research and visitor education as specified in the Table below, namely:
Sl No Category of Staff Large Zoo Medium Zoo Small Zoo Mini Zoo
1. Curator 1 1 1 Mini Zoos shall avail the assistance of appropriately qualified individuals available locally
2. Veterinarian 2 1 1
3. Education Officer 1 1 1
4. Biologist 2 1
  1. In cases the scientific and technical posts are filled by direct recruitment, the recruitment rule for such posts shall provide for their carrier progression including the benefit of flexible complementing scheme for their promotions.

3. Development and Planning

  1. Every zoo shall prepare and get the master plan approved by the Central Zoo Authority
  2. Zoos which are in operation at the time of the commencement of these rules, shall prepare and get the master plans approved from the Central Zoo Authority within one year from the date of commencement of these rules.
  3. The master plan referred to in sub-paragraphs (1) & (2), shall inter alia, include all round development of the zoo for a period of twenty years which shall be revised every ten years along with a detailed layout plan prepared on the basis of the theme adopted by the zoo, indicating the locations of green belts, lawns, gardens, animal display area, visitor facilities, support infrastructure for animal upkeep and healthcare, buildings for administrative and maintenance unit.
  4. Atleast 30% of the area earmarked for the zoo shall be kept under green belt and natural vegetation and the area for animal housing shall not exceed 30% area of the zoo.
  5. Every zoo shall take adequate care to locate and design all 'pucca' buildings including the visitor facilities in such a manner that the natural landscape of the zoo and animal enclosures are not masked and the cleanliness and hygiene of the zoo is not affected.
  6. Every zoo shall, in consultation with the Central Zoo Authority, prepare a collection plan indicating the names of the species and maximum number of animals of each species to be housed in the zoo, having due regard to the congeniality of the climatic conditions of the locality for the general health and well being of the species, availability of the space and infrastructural support for proper upkeep and healthcare of the species, proximity of the zoo to the habitat range of the species and the past record of the zoo in management and breeding of the species and no zoo shall compromise on housing and upkeep standards of animals for accommodating new species or additional animals of the species in its collection.
  7. No zoo shall accept any rescued animal unless it has appropriately designed enclosure and upkeep facilities for the animal as well as the facilities for keeping it in isolation during quarantine period.
  8. Whenever any zoo decides to accept any rescued animal for housing, a detailed report regarding the source from which the animal has been received, legality of its acquisition and the facilities available at the zoo for housing, upkeep and healthcare shall be sent to the Chief Wildlife Warden of the State.

Provided that in case, the rescued animal pertains to an endangered species a copy of the report shall also be sent to the Central Zoo Authority.

  1. Any decision of the Central Zoo Authority about any animal being sent to a particular zoo for augmenting the number of founder animals for the conservation breeding programme of the species shall be binding on the concerned zoo

4. Animal housing, display of animals and animal enclosures

  1. Every zoo shall endeavour to display the animals in nature immersing enclosures.
  2. The designs and dimensions of every enclosure shall be determined having due regard to the biological behaviour of the species and the number of animals to be housed therein as per the standards specified by the Central Zoo Authority in this regard from time to time.
  3. The zoo shall ensure that the enclosure is safe and secure for the animals, animal keepers and the visitors and has requisite space for free movement, exercise and expression of natural behaviour by the animals.
  4. Adequate space shall also be made available to the animals in order to maintain safe distance from the dominant animals in the group or herd.
  5. No zoo shall display any animal in the enclosure that is not in accordance with the standards specified by the Central Zoo Authority in this regard.
  6. Every zoo shall make special efforts to enrich the environment of the enclosure to meet the species specific behavioural requirements of the animals in accordance with the standards specified by the Central Zoo Authority.
  7. Adequate screening shall be provided between adjacent enclosures to safeguard against the animals getting unduly excited or stressed due to visibility of animals housed in these enclosures
  8. No new enclosures for endangered species shall be constructed without prior approval of the Central Zoo Authority.
  9. Every zoo shall provide appropriately designed and effective stand off barriers at every animal display enclosure to regulate the movement of visitors in the zoo in a manner that facilitates the visitors in getting unobstructed view of wild animals, without reaching in the vicinity or proximity of the animals and getting the opportunity to physically touch or provoke the animals and shall also display adequate sign boards so as to give warning to the visitors to keep a safe distance from the animals.
  10. Every zoo shall provide appropriate signage with relevant information on the biology, behaviour and the population status of the species in the wild at every display enclosure.

Provided that large and medium zoos shall endeavour to provide interactive interpretation facilities for the purpose of explaining behaviour and biology of the species displayed in the enclosure

5. Upkeep and healthcare of animals.-

  1. Every zoo shall house and maintain the animals in its collection in socially and behaviourally viable groups. No animal shall be separated from the group unless doing so is necessary for the security and welfare of the animal or other animals in the group.

Provided that the animals, so separated, shall be housed in accordance with standards specified by the Central Zoo Authority in this regard.

  1. Every zoo shall endeavour to provide all the animals in its collection timely supply of quality food of such a composition and in such quantities that nutritional and behavioural requirement of each animal are fully met and adequate safeguards shall be taken to ensure that no animal remains under-nourished on account of dominant animals not permitting other animals getting their share of the feed and the zoo operator shall ensure round the clock supply of potable water to all the animals in the zoo.
  2. The timing of distribution of food, placement of food and way of distribution of food to the animals shall be regulated in such a manner that the animals get maximum opportunity to express natural instincts and skills and behaviour related to feeding.
  3. As a safeguard against feral animals, free ranging wild animals and scavengers sharing the feed of the zoo animals, each animal shall be provided feed in the feeding cells/ kraals specially earmarked for the purpose and such feeding cells and kraals shall be so designed that these can also serve as indoor enclosures for the animals during extreme weather conditions as well as for secure stay during the nights:

Provided that the dimensions and designs of the feeding cells and kraal shall be as per the standards specified by the Central Zoo Authority.

  1. Every zoo operators shall ensure that the left over feed, excreta of animals and all other wastes are removed promptly from the feeding cells and kraals and the feeding cells and kraals are washed and disinfected as per the advice of the authorized veterinary officers and the solid and the liquid waste generated during the process shall be disposed off in such manner that has no adverse impact on the hygiene and cleanliness of the zoo and the landscape surrounding the zoo.
  2. The curatorial and the veterinary staff shall keep a close watch on the general behaviour and health parameters of the zoo animals. The animals shall be handled only by the staff having experience and training in handling the individual animals.
  3. Any animal that shows any sign of dullness, loss of appetite, injury or abnormal behaviour shall be thoroughly assessed and provided medical attention promptly as per the standards specified by the Central Zoo Authority in this regard from time to time and the direction of the Zoo administration.
  4. Every zoo animals shall be screened for parasitic loads as per written schedule prepared by the zoo in consultation with the veterinary officer and prophylactic medicines administered as per clinical requirements and vaccination of animals against infectious diseases shall also be done, as per the schedule prescribed by the Veterinary Officer from time to time.
  5. All staff involved with upkeep and healthcare of zoo animals shall be screened against zoonotic diseases once every year and those found positive to any communicable disease shall be provided appropriate treatment till they get cured and freed of the infection and during the period of such treatment, the infected employees shall be kept away from the responsibility of upkeep and healthcare of the animals.
  6. Every zoo shall maintain detailed records of observations of biological and social behaviour and health status of the animals including feed intake, medication and treatment provided in the keeper's diary, daily reports, animal history cards and treatment cards, as per standards specified by the Central Zoo Authority.

6. Veterinary and infrastructure facilities.-

  1. Every zoo shall,-
  1. have veterinary facilities appropriate to the size and type of the animal collection of the zoo;
  2. have a full fledged veterinary unit with all basic diagnostic facilities, comprehensive range of drugs, operation theatre and in-patient wards.
  3. Provided that a mini zoo shall have at least facilities of a treatment room.
  1. No zoo shall acquire sophisticated and costly diagnostic equipments unless there is adequate technically qualified manpower to operate and use the same.
  2. Every zoo, except mini zoo, shall have a postmortem room, isolation ward, quarantine ward, animal restraining and tranquilizing equipments and a veterinary care reference library.
  3. Tranquilization of any animal shall be done exercising utmost care and following the standards specified in this regard by the Central Zoo Authority from time to time.
  4. Every zoo operator shall provide each zoo the veterinary support staff as specified in the Table below; namely:-
Sl No Support Staff Large Zoo Medium Zoo Small Zoo
1. Lab. Assistant 1 1 -
2. Stockman or compounder 2 1 1

Provided that a Mini zoo shall have atleast one whole time employee to take care of upkeep and feeding of the zoo animals.

  1. Every zoo shall have linkages with the eminent institutions and organizations working in the field of wild animal healthcare with the objectives to provide for:
  1. the assistance in scientific diagnosis of diseases of serious nature and advise on the effective remedial treatment.
  2. the training and upgrading technical skills of zoo staff; and
  3. the development of protocols for preventive medicines and vaccination

7. Post-mortem and disposal of carcasses of animals.-

  1. Every animal died in the zoo shall be subjected to a detailed postmortem examination by registered veterinarian to determine conclusively the cause of the death.
  2. The findings of the post-mortem examination referred to in sub-paragraph (1) shall be recorded in such format as may be prescribed by Central Zoo Authority and in this regard and shall be maintained for a period of not less than six years.
  3. In the event of the post mortem being inconclusive and no specific reason for death is identified, the zoo authorities shall send the samples of the tissues and organs, blood, viscera etc. for further examination to the qualified diagnostic laboratory having adequate specialization for further investigation and identifying the cause of death.
  4. Every zoo shall ensure that the carcasses of the animals, after the post-mortem has been conducted, is disposed off by burying or burning in a manner that does not have any adverse impact on the hygiene and cleanliness of the zoo:

Provided that the carcasses of large cats shall be disposed off by burning in the presence of the Director of the zoo or any officer in the next rank to him and authorized by him in this behalf:

Provided further that the carcasses of animals died due to Anthrax or such other communicable diseases shall not be opened and subjected to post-mortem, as a safeguard against spread of the disease. These shall be buried intact.

8. Euthanasia of the animals.-

No animal in the zoo shall be euthanized unless doing so is essential for the health of other animals or relieving the animal from unnecessary suffering or agony and whenever such exigencies arrives, action may be taken in accordance with the norms specified by the Central Zoo Authority in this regard.

9. Acquisition and breeding of animals.-

  1. Every zoo shall endeavour to keep and maintain animals of various species in their collection in such a sex ratio that optimizes breeding and helps in developing a self-sustaining population of each species.
  2. To safeguard against ill effects of inbreeding on the zoo population, the zoo shall endeavour to introduce unrelated animals to zoo stock through exchange, loaning and getting gifts of animals from other zoos.
  3. No zoo shall acquire single animal or genetically non-viable number of animals unless such acquisition is necessary for pairing of single animals or making the group genetically/ biologically viable.
  4. Every zoo shall endeavour to acquire mates for single and unpaired animals on priority basis and in the event of any zoo failing to find a mate for single and unpaired animal within a period of six months, the unpaired or single animal shall be transferred or exchanged or given on breeding loan to any other zoo in accordance with the norms specified by the Central Zoo Authority in this regard.
  5. For the purpose of transportation of animals from one place to another, the standards specified in this regard by the Central Zoo Authority shall be complied with.
  6. The Central Zoo Authority shall assign the responsibility of conservation breeding of the identified critically endangered species to identified zoos having technical capabilities and housing facilities, preferably close to the distribution range of the species and every zoo shall help the identified zoos in implementing the breeding programme.
  7. The surplus animals from the breeding population shall be made available to the contributing zoo for display purposes on the basis of quality of housing and infrastructural facilities available with the zoos.
  8. Every zoo shall, with a view to prevent inbreeding and the loss of heterozygosity, the zoos shall maintain the animal history cards & stud and herd book for the animals of endangered species housed in the zoo and put appropriate identification marks and transfer or exchange animals with other zoos.
  9. Every zoo shall endeavour to limit the number of animals of each species within the limits set by the animal collection plan of the zoo by implementing appropriate population control measures like segregation of sexes, vasectomy, tubectomy and implantation of pellets etc., with due consideration of the health and welfare of the animals and interest of their long term survival.
  10. Every zoo shall take effective measures to safeguard against escape of the zoo animals from the premises of the zoo and in the event of any accidental escape, immediate action shall be taken to retrieve the escaped animals.
  11. No zoo shall release any captive animal into the wild except in accordance with the norms specified by the Central Zoo Authority in this regard.
  12. Every zoo shall ensure that no hybridization of species or races of same species takes place in the zoo.

10. Research activities.-Every zoo shall endeavor to carry out collaborative research for evolving innovative strategies for providing the animals housed in the zoo a better quality of life, enhanced longevity, higher genetic and behavioural viability and improved reproduction potential and to achieve the said goal the every zoo, other than mini zoos, shall make arrangements for meticulous recording of data on the social behaviour, group dynamics and reproductive biology of the species housed in the zoo and developing a data base to be shared with other zoos and the identified institutions, in accordance with norms specified by the Central Zoo Authority in this regard.

11. Education and outreach activities.-

  1. Every zoo shall endeavour to educate the visitors to the zoo and the people at large about the significance of wildlife conservation for the general well being of the people and keeping the life support system of nature intact and the efforts shall be made to make people aware about the role played by the zoos in this regard and the ways and means through which general public can participate and contribute for the same.
  2. No physical handling or performances by animals shall be permitted as part of educational activity.

12. Visitors facilities.-

  1. Every zoo operator shall provide adequate civic facilities for visitors at appropriate and convenient places in the zoo including for physically disadvantaged persons and such facilities shall be so located that they do not mask or impact the view of enclosures.
  2. Every zoo shall have first aid facilities including snake anti-venom and life saving drugs, readily available in the zoo premises.
  3. Every zoo shall make arrangements for providing access to the handicapped persons for viewing wild animals at various animal enclosures.

[F.No.5-1/2009-WL I]

(Anmol Kumar)
Dy. Inspector General (Wildlife)

Form1 Form 1 : Application For Getting Recognition From The Central Zoo Authority Under Section 38h (Sub-section 2)

Form2 Form 2 : Proforma for Quarterly/Annual Inventory Report