Do you want to perform research at the Cincinnati Zoo?
AZA believes that contemporary animal management, husbandry, veterinary care, and conservation practices should be based in science, and that a commitment to scientific research, both basic and applied, is a trademark of the modern zoological park and aquarium. AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums have the invaluable opportunity and are expected to, conduct or facilitate research both in in situ and ex situ settings to advance scientific knowledge of the animals in our care, enhance the conservation of wild populations, and engage and inspire the visiting public.
In 2020, 160 AZA-accredited and certified related facilities reported spending approximately $20.5 million on research efforts that impacted over 600 species and subspecies. Explore each Annual Report on Conservation and Science to learn about what each facility is doing individually, or explore Highlights to see what the AZA community is accomplishing together. The Cincinnati Zoo is one of the many Zoos leading the way by having the most full-time equivalent (FTE) staff dedicated to research!
How to Submit Proposal
All animal research performed at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden must be reviewed and approved by the Animal Management Team. To submit your research request, please send a 2-3 page project proposal to [email protected].
The Cincinnati Zoo does not require a specific form for research proposals; however, your proposal should include background/justification, hypothesis, specific aims, methods, and significance/outcomes detailing how the proposed activities will improve the welfare and/or conservation of the species or individuals of interest. Please specify the minimum number of samples or individuals needed and the anticipated end date of the study. Be sure to include your full name, institutional affiliation, institutional address, email, and phone number.
Additional documents to include:
- A letter of support if your project is endorsed by a TAG or SSP
- A full copy of the survey if your project is survey-based
- A copy of the ethogram if your study entails animal behavior monitoring
Proposals will be reviewed by CZBG’s Animal Management Team. Approval is based on scientific merit, feasibility, and conservation impact. Although we wish we could participate in all good research projects, staff availability and staff time required may dictate our ability to commit to some endeavors. The Cincinnati Zoo receives many research requests and cannot facilitate the needs of all of them.
Please note: projects requiring changes to an animal’s routine or daily husbandry will require an extra layer of approval by the CZBG’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), in addition to project approval by the Animal Management Team (as described above). Examples of project activities requiring IACUC approval include, but are not limited to: animal training, the addition or removal of enrichment items, fur plucking/shaving, dietary changes, and confinement to a certain area of the animal’s habitat for the purposes of the study.
The time from proposal submission to a decision usually is within 4 weeks. Projects requiring IACUC approval will take longer to be approved.
Following project approval, a data agreement/biological samples transfer form will be provided and must be completed by the researcher/PI and returned before the study can be started.
Additionally, for animals not owned by CZBG, the researcher/PI is responsible for obtaining permission from the owning institution before the study can be started. For example, if a researcher requests fecal samples collected from a zebra that is owned by another zoo, then following project approval by CZBG, the researcher/PI will be notified that permission is needed from [owning] Zoo. An email correspondence conveying permission is acceptable.
The Cincinnati Zoo supports student research; however, we do not have the resources to help students generate ideas for projects. We recommend contacting a faculty member at your College or University or a scientist who performs research that aligns with your interests. Research requests from students will be subject to the same review process as other requests.