Central Zoo Authority - Environment Notes

Central Zoo Authority – UPSC Environment Notes

The Central Zoo Authority (CZA), established in 1992 under the Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972, is a statutory body falling under the purview of the Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change. Chaired by the Environment Minister, the CZA comprises ten members and a member-secretary. The primary mission of the authority is to supplement and strengthen the national effort to conserve rich biodiversity.

The CZA plays a crucial role in recognizing zoos and takes on the responsibility of regulating zoos across the country. This article aims to delve into the functions and significance of the Central Zoo Authority, providing valuable insights for those preparing for the UPSC exam.

Central Zoo Authority – Background

  • The Indian Board for Wildlife, during its 9th session on November 18, 1972 in New Delhi, reconstituted its Zoo Wing as ‘the Expert Group on Zoos‘ to study the establishment and maintenance of zoos in the country.
  • The Expert Group on Zoos presented its report in June 1973, gaining approval from the Board at its November 1973 meeting.
  • The report advocated for the creation of a central agency named the Zoo Grants Commission. In response, the Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972 was amended in 1991 through an amendment Act.
  • Consequently, the Government of India established the Central Zoo Authority as a statutory body under the Ministry of Environment and Forests in 1992.

What is the Central Zoo Authority?

  • The Central Zoo Authority (CZA), established in 1992, aims to elevate Indian zoos to international standards.
  • The CZA holds responsibility for the well-being of animals in Indian zoos and actively works towards ensuring their care and maintenance.
  • Founded to safeguard the animals in Indian zoos and preserve the nation’s biodiversity, the CZA operates under the provisions of the Wild Life (Protection) Act of 1972 and the National Zoo Policy of 1992.
  • The Wild Life (Protection) Act underwent an amendment in 1991, introducing a new chapter focused on zoos and granting the Central Government the authority to establish the Central Zoo Authority for overseeing zoo functioning and development.
  • In accordance with this chapter, zoos complying with the Central Zoo Authority’s norms and standards receive ‘recognition’ to operate.
  • Established under Section 38A of the Wild Life (Protection) Act of 1972, the CZA consists of ten members and a Member Secretary.
  • The Central Zoo Authority (CZA) is a proud member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA), highlighting its international affiliations and standards.

Purpose of Central Zoo Authority

  • Before the establishment of the Central Zoo Authority (CZA), many zoos in India faced challenges with animal management.
  • Animals were often kept in inadequate enclosures, and there was a lack of proper records, leading to issues like inbreeding and hybridization.
  • The creation of the Central Zoo Authority aimed to address these shortcomings prevalent in Indian zoos.
  • The primary objective of the Central Zoo Authority is to define and enforce minimum norms and standards to ensure animals are kept in appropriate conditions and maintain their health in Indian zoos.
  • This statutory body is also tasked with preventing the operation of ill-conceived and unplanned zoos.
  • An additional crucial role of the organization is to contribute to the national effort in wildlife conservation.

Objectives of Central Zoo Authority

  • The CZA’s goal is to complement and strengthen national efforts in the conservation of the country’s rich biodiversity, with a focus on fauna.
  • The authority supports the conservation of endangered species by offering a last chance of survival through coordinated breeding under ex-situ conditions. This includes raising stocks for rehabilitation in the wild when deemed appropriate and desirable.
  • A key objective is to cultivate empathy for wild animals among zoo visitors, fostering understanding and awareness regarding the importance of natural resource conservation and maintaining ecological balance.
  • The CZA provides opportunities for scientific studies beneficial for conservation and facilitates the creation of a database for sharing among organizations involved in in-situ and ex-situ conservation.
  • Additionally, zoos will function as wild animal rescue centers for orphaned animals, contingent upon having suitable housing and upkeep infrastructure.
  • In cases where adequate facilities are lacking, both the State Government and the Central Government will explore the possibility of establishing rescue facilities in off-the-display areas of the zoo, subject to available land.

Functions of Central Zoo Authority

  • The Central Zoo Authority (CZA) plays a pivotal role in establishing guidelines and rules for the transfer of animals on both national and international scales among zoos.
  • The CZA takes charge of coordinating and implementing programs aimed at capacity building for zoo personnel, executing planned breeding programs, and conducting ex-situ research.
  • A core objective is to set minimum standards for the housing, upkeep, and veterinary care of animals within zoos.
  • The CZA is responsible for the evaluation and assessment of zoo operations, ensuring adherence to prescribed standards and norms.
  • It manages processes related to zoo identification and de-identification, including the identification of endangered wild animal species designated for captive breeding, entrusting this responsibility to specific zoos.
  • The authority oversees the coordination of acquisition, exchange, and loaning of animals for breeding purposes.
  • Maintaining stud books for endangered species of wild animals bred in captivity is crucial to ensure their upkeep.
  • The CZA is involved in identifying priorities and themes for the display of captive animals in zoos.
  • Coordinating zoo personnel training both within India and abroad is a significant function.
  • The authority oversees captive breeding research and educational programs for zoos.
  • Providing technical and other assistance for proper management and development of zoos along scientific lines is a key responsibility.
  • The CZA is empowered to perform any other functions necessary to fulfill the purposes outlined in the Act concerning zoos.

Significance of Central Zoo Authority

  • To operate, every zoo in India must receive approval from the Central Zoo Authority.
  • The CZA evaluates zoos in alignment with the established rules and regulations designed for this purpose.
  • With the authority to deny recognition to zoos failing to meet prescribed standards, it also holds the power to decertify and order closure of such non-compliant zoos.
  • The Central Zoo Authority extends assistance to zoos capable of enhancing their animal management standards, providing both financial and technical support.
  • Additionally, the authority plays a vital role in identifying endangered species suitable for captivate breeding, entrusting this responsibility to proficient zoos.
  • It facilitates animal exchange to promote increased breeding and contributes to the coordination of captive breeding education programs for zoo personnel.

Pros and Cons of Central Zoo Authority

Zoos play a crucial role in saving animals from extinction or endangerment.Animals in zoos may become trapped in cages, limiting their natural movement.
Zoos provide an opportunity to see diverse animals in a single location.Animals, despite having ample space, are often restricted in movement within zoos.
Large zoos offer a wide range of unique species, not easily found elsewhere.Some animals in zoos are confined to restricted areas, unlike their wild counterparts.
Zoos contribute to the economic development of many local communities globally.Profitability of zoos varies, and some rely on donations and government subsidies.

Indian Zoos Vision Plan (2021-2031)

  • The Union Environment Minister unveiled the Vision Plan (2021-2031) for Indian zoos, crafted by the Central Zoo Authority (CZA). The goal is to upgrade zoos to meet global standards and reinforce the CZA.
  • The 10-year vision plan, developed through data mining and stakeholder consultation, aims to guide India towards ex-situ conservation approaches.
  • This comprehensive vision document focuses on enhancing the role of the CZA and Indian zoos as a formidable conservation force. It envisions providing unparalleled animal care, conducting cutting-edge research, and delivering immersive visitor experiences appealing to all age groups.


  • Zoos have a crucial role in the conservation of various animals and birds. With natural habitats under threat, zoos serve as a safe haven for breeding and ensuring the survival of these species.
  • The Central Zoo Authority plays a pivotal role in ensuring that animals in Indian zoos are provided with a healthy environment conducive to their survival and thriving.

FAQs on Central Zoo Authority (CZA)

Question: What is the Central Zoo Authority?

Answer: The Central Zoo Authority (CZA) is a statutory body established under the Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change in India. Formed in 1992 under the Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972, the CZA is responsible for the recognition and regulation of zoos across the country. Its primary mandate is to set and enforce standards for the management and upkeep of animals in Indian zoos, ensuring their well-being and contributing to national wildlife conservation efforts.

Question: What are some of the advantages of Zoos?

Answer: Zoos offer several advantages, including:

  1. Conservation: Zoos play a crucial role in the conservation of endangered species, providing a controlled environment for breeding and preventing extinction.
  2. Education: Zoos serve as educational institutions, raising awareness about wildlife and fostering a sense of responsibility towards the environment.
  3. Research: Zoos contribute to scientific research, allowing for the study of animal behavior, health, and reproduction in a controlled setting.
  4. Recreation: Zoos provide recreational opportunities for the public, allowing them to observe and learn about a diverse range of animal species.
  5. Species Preservation: Zoos act as arks for preserving species facing threats in the wild due to habitat loss, climate change, or other factors.

Question: What is the purpose of the Central Zoo Authority?

Answer: The Central Zoo Authority (CZA) serves multiple purposes, including:

  1. Regulation: The CZA regulates zoos across India, ensuring they adhere to prescribed standards for animal housing, care, and veterinary practices.
  2. Recognition: It grants recognition to zoos that meet the established norms and standards, promoting a high level of animal management.
  3. Conservation: The CZA contributes to wildlife conservation by coordinating breeding programs, evaluating zoo operations, and identifying endangered species for captive breeding.
  4. Education: The authority plays a role in educating zoo personnel and the public on best practices in captive breeding, wildlife care, and conservation.
  5. Implementation of Standards: It establishes and enforces minimum standards for zoos, fostering a commitment to the well-being of animals and their contribution to global biodiversity conservation.

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