• conservation;
  • co-operation;
  • husbandry;
  • organizational structure;
  • recruitment;
  • technology;
  • 21st century;
  • world class;
  • zoo and aquarium associations

At the start of the 21st century modern zoos and aquariums are expected to contribute to the survival of the species they display, to educate the public, and to maintain the physical and psychological well-being of the animals in their care. For the future, however, zoos and aquariums will have to be extraordinary in both quality and accomplishments. In this article the characteristics of a world-class zoo or aquarium are described, ranging from organizational structure and philosophy, and staff recruitment and training, to animal care and husbandry, research, conservation, education and exhibit design. The importance of inter-institutional co-operation, technology, government affairs, marketing and development, and public relations are also discussed. In the future managers will have to take a more holistic approach to all these characteristics in order to achieve their core mission without losing sight of the primary objectives of the zoo or aquarium.