Our mission is to facilitate international collaboration in the collection and sharing of knowledge on animals and their environments for zoos, aquariums and related conservation organizations to serve institutional, regional and global animal management and conservation goals.


We provide the world’s most current, comprehensive and reliable source of knowledge on intensively managed species and their environments for zoos, aquariums and related organizations to serve institutional, regional and global animal management (ex-situ, as well as in-situ) and conservation goals.



  •  Obtaining the broadest possible participation in data collection and sharing for zoos, aquariums and related organizations worldwide.
  • Developing and supporting comprehensive software systems and tools that support our vision.
  • Providing services that are essential for members and prospective members to manage the animals in their care.
  • Serving as an independent, impartial body which promotes the development of standards and practices that enhance the integrity and usefulness of data on animals and their environments. 
  • Promoting the general scientific use of the knowledge beyond animal management. 
  • Planning and managing the resources (i.e., human, financial and technological) needed to meet all of these goals.  

The International Species Information System -- was founded in 1974 when Drs. Ulysses Seal and Dale Makey proposed the idea of an international database to help zoos and aquariums accomplish long-term conservation management goals. At that time, about 50 zoos in North America and Europe responded to the invitation to participate in this network.
The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians (AAZV) and other zoological associations provided grants and endorsements for our work. In addition, the doctors raised development funding from private foundations and the United States Department of Interior. The Minnesota Zoological Garden hosted the program for 15 years.
Today, we provide world-standard zoological data collection and sharing software to almost 1,000 member zoos, aquariums and related organizations in almost 90 countries. The ZIMS global database for the zoological community contains information on 3.5 million animals -- 10,000 species -- and is constantly growing.
Our members use this information to:
  • manage their inventory
  • control the genetic and demographic makeup of their animal collections
  • find appropriate unrelated new animals
  • identify institutions seeking animals
  • discover facilities with experience in breeding and raising certain offspring
  • create reports for governments and other official accrediting bodies

These are only a few of the business-critical tasks that our software delivers to members.​​​


Our Bylaws​ (Pdf)