The economic and social contribution of the zoological industry in Australia



This paper is based on a report that Aegis Consulting Australia and Applied Economics prepared for the Australasian Regional Association of Zoological Parks and Aquaria (ARAZPA) in March 2009. We discuss the zoological industry's contribution to the Australian economy and society in terms of the following items.
• Economic value, that is Gross Domestic Product, employment and tourism.
• Value for consumers, based on visitor survey results, financial support for zoos and consumer surplus.
• Conservation value, including the type and results of in situ and ex situ programmes and research.
• Education value, including success in raising conservation awareness and motivating behaviour change.
• Value of contribution to bio-security.
Our research is based on surveys and interviews with a range of stakeholders, including zoos, governments, consumers, industry representatives and conservation organizations. In the report, comparisons are drawn between government and private-sector contributions to the financial upkeep of zoos and the contribution of zoos to the governments' conservation obligations and priorities, and the resultant savings to the public sector. In conclusion, the report finds that there is a strong case for governments to increase their contributions to zoos to assist in ongoing education, conservation and bio-security services to the Australian and international community.