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Keywords:

  • communities;
  • conservation;
  • distributors;
  • ethical trade;
  • fair trade;
  • handicrafts;
  • producers;
  • sustainability;
  • sustainable development;
  • visitors;
  • zoo souvenir shops

Issues relating to current ethical and environmental trading standards and certifications, and their prevalence and relevance to zoos today, are introduced. This is followed by a case study of the Payamino community conservation project and its sustainable production of handicrafts as part of a conservation-friendly range of ‘Zoos Go Wild’ products, distributed by HMJ Design of Denmark. The project aims to protect the high levels of biodiversity in a pristine and remote 60 000 ha territory of Ecuadorian upper lowland rainforest. Handicraft production is just one of the forms of income that the project promotes to support the sustainable development of this community, enabling it to keep oil, timber and gold companies out of its territory, and removing the need to hunt and sell illegal bushmeat. Although HMJ Design no longer distributes these or other handicrafts, it hopes that lessons can be learnt from its experiences. In light of the issues raised in the case study, a discussion then follows on how conservation and sustainability could be better integrated into and supported by zoo shops in the future.