Arguments are presented that zoological institutions and aquariums should take a broader view of their conservation responsibilities. The current emphasis on captive breeding and public education should be expanded to include a greater commitment to involvement in field conservation. Examples are given of various ways in which members of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA) are already contributing to a more holistic approach to conservation in the field. Examples include the use of public relations, local education, political action, scientific research, development of relevant technologies, training wildlife personnel and fund raising. Also covered are the organizational changes developed by AZA within the last three years to promote the Association's collective field-conservation efforts. Among these are the establishment of the Field Conservation Committee (FCC) and several Fauna Interest Groups (FIGS), the formation of a set of guidelines for international conservation programmes and the further development of projects by existing conservation and scientific committees such as SSPs, Taxon Advisory Groups (TAGS) and Scientific Advisory Groups (SAGS).