GEORGE B. RABB, PhD President Emeritus of the Chicago Zoological Society, George B. Rabb served as Director of Brookfield Zoo from 1976 until 2003. His pioneering work led the Zoo towards its current position as a conservation centre, a concept he has championed for zoos everywhere. George B. Rabb received both a Masters and Doctorate in Zoology from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the College of Charleston, South Carolina. He also has an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the College of Charleston. In 1956 he joined Brookfield Zoo as Curator of Research, going on to create the Education Department. He was also instrumental in the use of naturalistic exhibits to provide visitors with environmental immersion experiences. In addition, while he was Director a new approach to help children develop caring attitudes towards nature was pioneered at Brookfield Zoo. George B. Rabb has affiliations with conservation organizations worldwide and is a respected spokesman on wildlife conservation issues. Most notably, he is past chairman of the Species Survival Commission of the IUCN, the largest species conservation network in the world, and he founded the Declining Amphibian Populations Task Force. On the local scene, George B. Rabb is active with the biosphere-reserve initiative of Chicago Wilderness, a multi-organizational effort to maintain the exceptional biological diversity of the metropolitan region, and serves as President of Chicago Wilderness magazine. He has long been a member of the Committee on Evolutionary Biology of the University of Chicago, and a Research Associate of The Field Museum. George B. Rabb currently serves as Chairman of the Illinois State Museum Board and is on the Board of Defenders of Wildlife. He is a published authority on the behaviour of mammals, reptiles and amphibians, notably on the social behaviour of a captive wolf pack, behavioural development in okapi and breeding behaviour of pipid frogs. His other studies have ranged from the evolutionary relationships of viperid snakes to diabetes in tree shrews.
The future of zoos and aquariums: conservation and caring
Article first published online: 4 MAY 2006
International Zoo Yearbook
Volume 39, Issue 1, pages 1–26, January 2005
How to Cite
RABB, G. B. and SAUNDERS, C. D. (2005), The future of zoos and aquariums: conservation and caring. International Zoo Yearbook, 39: 1–26. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-1090.2005.tb00001.x
- Issue published online: 4 MAY 2006
- Article first published online: 4 MAY 2006
- Manuscript submitted 2 May 2001; accepted 19 February 2003; revised 13 August 2004
- conservation biology;
- conservation psychology;
The success of zoos and aquariums as conservation centres depends on the holistic embrace of conservation, including acting as model citizen, wildlife conservationist, agent for conservation and mentor/trainer. Success also depends on truly reaching our audiences, from policy-maker to land manager to citizen, to help them care about and care for nature. In pursuing our conservation goal, we must acknowledge our general lack of experience in effectively changing the behaviour of these different audiences, which function at both the global and local level. To start with those closest to us, the visitors to our institutions, we should appreciate that we do not have deep understanding of the effect our business has on them by providing close-up experiences with a variety of animals. Nevertheless, by the caring ways in which we express biophilia and carry out particular conservation activities, our institutions can become transformative models, inspiring and motivating urban people around the globe to have a more harmonious and sustainable relationship with the natural world.