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Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs for Zoo Animals


We overlay Maslow’s hierarchy of needs pyramid with a tree to express the aspiration of the World Zoo and Aquarium Animal Welfare Strategy; that is, to direct animal welfare attention towards the highest categories of Maslow’s pyramid of wellness and well-being. The tree’s roots represent the critical foundational requirements for survival, including nutrition systems, understood through experience and science. In the trunk, health care meets the animals’ physical and safety needs. The crown is the site of the most varied and complex welfare-related activities that the best zoo and aquarium design and management would make available to the animals. The birds taking flight from the tree represent perhaps an ideal of zoos and aquariums—retaining and encouraging natural abilities. As a tree provides a complex habitat for other species, a zoo or aquarium can foster the welfare of animals beyond its own confines.

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