Frankfurt Zoological Society

Frankfurt Zoological Society
Formation 1858
Type NGO
Purpose Preservation of wilderness and biodiversity
Headquarters Frankfurt am Main
Region served
Eastern Africa, South America, South East Asia, Balkan states in Europe, Germany
Klaus Becker
Managing Director
Dr. Christof Schenck

Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS) is an international conservation organisation founded in 1858 with headquarters in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. FZS focuses on maintaining biodiversity and conserving wildlife and ecosystems in protected areas and outstanding wild places.[1] FZS leads and supports about 40 projects in 19 countries. Bernhard Grzimek, renowned German zoo director, zoologist, book author, editor, and animal conservationist in postwar West-Germany, served as president of the Frankfurt Zoological Society for over forty years.


FZS was founded in 1858 by Frankfurt citizens to establish a zoo, the Frankfurt Zoological Garden, which it operated until the First World War. The city council then assumed responsibility for the zoo until 1950, when the society again became the zoo's development association. In the 1950s the society became involved in conservation in the Serengeti, and began supporting development of national parks in Africa. Since then the society has become increasingly involved in protecting and preserving endangered animals and their environments worldwide.[2]


FZS provides logistical support to conservation areas around the world, sponsors animal census surveys, provides conservation-related education and gives advice to organizations involved in establishing conservation areas. FZS participates in programs to protect highly endangered species and to reintroduce endangered species, acquires land for conservation areas and helps protect and regenerate natural landscapes.[2]


Projects are designed as long-term and carried out in close cooperation with local organisations and authorities. Also, the integration of the local population is a vital aspect of FZS's project work. FZS concentrates its efforts on habitats in grasslands, wetlands, forests and mountains. All projects follow the common goal of maintaining wilderness and biodiversity.

FZS airplane is flying across the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania.
Wildebeest Migration in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. Each year, enormous herds of wildebeest and zebra move thousands of kilometres across the Serengeti-Mara. These herds have a pivotal role in maintaining the ecosystem.
FZS Programm Director Peter Pratje working with orangutans in Bukit Tigapulu, Indonesia.


Traditionally, many FZS projects are located in Tanzania. Currently, FZS is engaged in the protection of the Serengeti,[3] the Selous[4] and the Mahale Ecosystem[5] and carries out research for the preservation of East Africas threatened habitats. Lifestock and migration data is collected, rangers, scientists and veterinarians are educated and environmental education is promoted. Further projects are located in Zimbabwe (Gonarezhou sanctuary), Zambia (North Luangwa) and the Democratic republic of Congo (Virunga and Maiko Nationalpark).[6][7] Exemplary local partners are Tanzania National Parks Authority (TANAPA) and Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (TAWIRI).


Another major project is situated in Central Sumatra: The Bukit Tigapuluh Sanctuary for the preservation of rainforest and wildlife. This project is aiming at the resettlement and reintroduction of confiscated Orang Utans, which are prepared for their life in the wild through the local "jungle school". Further aspects of the work on site are conflict-prevention between humans and elephants, environmental education and initiatives supporting the local population in balancing out economical development and their traditions. Important project partners on site are the Bukit Tigapuluh National Park as well as the Orang Utan Project (TOP), the Jambi Province Conservation Authority and WWF.[8]

South America

In South America, FZS furthers the protection of the biodiverse forests located at the Andes´ eastern slope and the adjacent lowlands. Patrols, aerial view evaluation, the education of rangers and environmental education are supported here. On site, FZS collaborates, amongst others, with Crees Foundation and the Fondo de las Américas (FONDAM).[9]


In Kazakhstan, FZS is involved in the Altyn Dala Conservation. This international joint project furthers the protection of Kazakhstans unique grasslands and their keystone species. The initiative aims at building up a network of protected grasslands in central Kazakhstan. A special focus lies on the saiga-antilopes, of the Betpak-Dala population as they hold a key role in the ecosystems of the steppes and semi-deserts. Exemplary local project-partners are the Association for the Conservation of Biodiversity of Kazakhstan (ACBK) and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB).[10]


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