The ZOOXXI initiative to reshape the zoo that will protect the planet’s habitats has been passed

The ZOOXXI initiative to reshape the zoo that will protect the planet’s habitats has been passed
  • The ZOOXXI Platform warns that the campaign does not end here and encourages all zoos worldwide to “cross the doors to the 21st century”


During today’s plenary session at the Barcelona City Council, the last session of this term, the ZOOXXI Citizens’ Initiative has been passed. The initiative proposes a modification of the Animal Protection, Possession and Sale Ordinance, which affects the Barcelona zoo.

After more than 10 years of investigation, mobilization and socialization for this project, this animal rights platform, now known for launching the first Citizens’ Initiative in Barcelona, has seen the ordinance be finally passed. It will drastically change Barcelona’s current zoo model.

The proposal includes a paradigm shift that can allow the zoo “to open up to nature” and invest most of its efforts on in-situ conservation for the protection of natural habitats. Only animals whose reproduction can contribute to either long or short term conservation of the species, and who are meant to be reintroduced back into nature, will continue to be reproduced at the zoo. A scientific and ethical committee with experts on each species will be in charge of deciding. Furthermore, in few words, ZOOXXI also wants to add a technological side to the facility so that visitors can get to know the conservation programs the zoo is carrying out in situ, which they helped finance with their ticket. This will be possible through advanced immersive technologies that will allow visitors to learn about the natural behavior of animals “without causing any suffering”. ZOOXXI will also include the 3Rs center (Rescue, Recovery and Relocation) which will shelter animals that have been hurt, abandoned or seized from illegal trafficking. The Platform also suggests the application of Compassionate Conservation and the creation of the first Scientific Studies Center on Animal Sentience. The new zoo model will encourage an educational model based on empathy towards animals, which according to scientific studies and various pilot studies, contributes to the prevention of bullying and results in better prosocial behavior while creating a “culture of peace”.

“Today has been a win for the planet and a loss for skepticism. Today people, empathy, ethics and freedom have won over the economic interests of animal captivity and illegal trafficking of species. Today draws a line between what we were in the past and what we want to be now, while remembering, forgiving and acknowledging colonialist, despoiling and mercantilist thinking from the past. We now have a planet to save, millions of animals to rescue, thousands of habitats to protect and hundreds of zoos to convince. We have not done all this work to reshape a zoo, we have worked to save habitats, to save the planet and that is why we need all zoos worldwide. From today, all zoos are invited to cross the doors to the 21st century” said Leonardo Anselmi, who coordinated the Citizens’ Initiative.