The Zoo will be a world benchmark as a conservation, research and education centre

Management presented its proposed strategic plan for the Zoo with the new perspective of its social function for the 21st century

This morning, Zoo Director Antoni Alarcon presented the proposed strategic plan to the Barcelona Zoo Foundation trust. This plan will make the shared vision of social and political stakeholders a reality, in order to assure the Zoo’s future and its public service function, by conducting an in-depth overhaul of its operating foundations. This project has used the work done at other zoos as a reference, such as those in New York, London and San Diego.

This shared vision is the result of the work carried out in 2016 by the Zoo Work Group, which championed for a zoo at the Ciutadella Park in which animal wellbeing and comfort is an essential factor for all actions, based on three core development areas: 

- The conservation of autochthonous and Mediterranean species that are threatened and endangered 

- Driving forward research and projects in nature that improve their status.

- The ramping up of the educational function.

The purpose of the project is for the Barcelona Zoo to become a meeting point for research, conservation and dissemination on autochthonous, Iberian and Mediterranean wildlife; the Zoo will become the home for naturalists in Catalonia.


Conservation, native wildlife and endangered species – The Zoo leaves the Zoo

This core area establishes three criteria that entail the restructuring of the number and species currently housed at the Zoo:

1. Prioritise autochthonous animal species. Moving from 15% to over 30% of the total in a first stage. 

2. Prioritise species that are extremely endangered in nature. Moving from 22% to 40% of the total in the short term.

3. Prioritise species for which there are conservation plans.

The proposed strategic plan aims to consolidate the Zoo’s transformation as a benchmark and leader in local wildlife and geographic proximity, in the framework of the Conservation of the Mediterranean. Some examples are: the Montseny brook newt, the vulture from western lands, the pond turtle, amphibians in the Empordà, the monitoring of otters in Besòs, the monitoring of the fin whale in Catalan-Balearic seas, the butterflies in the metropolitan area, as well as the toothcarp in the Llobregat Delta, the Hermann’s tortoise, and the reintroduction of the midwife toad to Majorca, among a slew of many others. Agreements were strengthened with research centres and local administrations throughout the region. This year, 69% of the financial endowments for in situ conservation projects will be allocated to autochthonous wildlife, 23% to allochthonous animals and 6% to others. 

Ex-situ conservation will also be maximised in order to become an instrument for conservation, centring on the preservation of vulnerable and endangered species, both native to our lands and not native. 

Research – centre for the country’s science and ecology

Scientific progress will be strengthened by doubling the budget for in situ research and conservation and establishing collaboration lines with the country’s scientific and academic institutions. 

Along this line, the Zoo will join the country’s hotspot for science and ecology, which brings together over 5000 researchers from a wide range of centres in a 1 km2 space. 

Education – Knowledge and excitement 

There is a plan to start-up comprehensive communication strategy that will assure that visiting the Zoo is not limited to simply observing a series of animal exhibits, but instead becomes a complete experience that helps to acquire new knowledge, is exciting and moves people to take action before, during and after their time at the Zoo. The figure of the Friends of the Zoo will also be strengthened to contribute to conveying the Zoo’s renewed values.


The new vision projects the Zoo as a reference facility showcasing the city’s sustainability, allowing for the city’s environmental policies to be explained as applied to the Zoo, which then can be transferred to the entire area.  Improvements will be introduced in water and waste management, mobility, food services and environmental education, with special attention placed on the Zoo’s role in conserving the local wildlife in Ciutadella Park. 

Renewal of the physical space 

The development of the three core areas will also entail a metamorphosis of the physical space. The Zoo will re-layout its spaces to obtain structured infrastructures in terms of biomes and taxa.  

- New spaces will be created: biomass of the Mediterranean, as a priority for the Zoo, marine biodiversity centre, butterfly garden and invertebrate pavilion.

- The biomass of the Sahel savannah and the biomass of Madagascar insularity will be finished.

- The rest of the facilities will be improved, always grouping them by taxa whenever possible (like the primates and Komodo dragons now). 

- The public spaces will be improved and new facilities will be established essential for Zoo operations: new education area, logistics area, services network, etc. 


The new model establishes the opportunity to create large species biomes, favouring the immersion of more naturalised spaces and thus improving animal comfort and wellbeing. The new facilities will be complemented with logistics equipment at the service of the Zoo. 

Forecast investments

To implement the new model, a total investment of €64.6 million is planned for the 2018-2031 period, where 50% will be allocated to the animal exhibits, 24% to public spaces and service roads, 21% to equipment and logistics, and 5% to demolition and temporary structures.



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