|Founder||Sir Stamford Raffles, Marquess of Lansdowne, Lord Auckland, Sir Humphry Davy, Robert Peel, Joseph Sabine, Nicholas Aylward Vigors and others|
|Purpose||To promote worldwide conservation of animals and their habitats; London Zoo and Whipsnade Zoo, research in Institute of Zoology, field conservation|
On 29 November 1822, the birthday of John Ray, “the father of modern zoology”, a meeting held in the Linnean Society in Soho Square led by Rev. William Kirby, resolved to form a "Zoological Club of the Linnean Society of London". Between 1816 and 1826 discussions between Stamford Raffles, Humphry Davy, Joseph Banks and others led to the idea that London should have an establishment similar to the Jardin des Plantes in Paris. It would house a zoological collection "which should interest and amuse the public."
The society was founded in April 1826 by Sir Stamford Raffles, the Marquess of Lansdowne, Lord Auckland, Sir Humphry Davy, Robert Peel, Joseph Sabine, Nicholas Aylward Vigors along with various other nobility, clergy, and naturalists. Raffles was the first chairman and president, but died after only a few months in office, in July 1826. He was succeeded by the Marquess of Lansdowne who supervised the building of the first animal houses, a parcel of land in Regent's Park having already been obtained from the Crown at the inaugural meeting. It received a Royal Charter from George IV on 27 March 1829.
The purpose of the society was to create a collection of animals for study at leisure, an associated museum and library. In April 1828 the Zoological Gardens were opened to members. In 1831 William IV presented the Royal Menagerie to the Zoological Society, and in 1847 the public were admitted to aid funding, and Londoners soon christened the Zoological Gardens the "Zoo". London Zoo soon had the most extensive collection of animals in the world.
A History of the ZSL, written by Henry Scherren (FZS), was published in 1905. The History was criticised as inadequately researched by Peter Chalmers Mitchell in 1929; both histories were labelled inaccurate by John Bastin in 1970.
As the twentieth century began, the need to maintain and research large animals in a more natural environment became clear. Peter Chalmers Mitchell (ZSL Secretary 1903–35) conceived the vision of a new park no more than 70 miles (110 km) away from London and thus accessible to the public, and at least 200 acres (0.81 km2) in extent. In 1926, profiting from the agricultural depression, the ideal place was found: Hall Farm, near Whipsnade village, was derelict, and held almost 600 acres (2.4 km2) on the Chiltern Hills. ZSL bought the farm in December 1926 for £13,480 12s 10d. In 1928 the first animals arrived at the new Whipsnade Park—two Amherst pheasants, a golden pheasant and five red jungle fowl. Others soon followed, including muntjac deer, llamas, wombats and skunks. In 1931 Whipsnade Park was opened to the public as the world's first open zoological park.
In 1960–61, Lord Zuckerman, then Secretary of ZSL, raised funds from two medical foundations to found laboratories as an Institute of Zoology where scientists would be employed by ZSL and undertake research.
In June 2015 ZSL rebranded, taking on a new tagline—"Let's Work for Wildlife". The new brand will be used to boost awareness in the UK and beyond of ZSL's global conservation programmes, scientific research, fundraising and wildlife education through the charity's two zoos. The Society is a registered charity under English law.
The Institute of Zoology
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The Institute of Zoology is the scientific research division of the ZSL. It is a government-funded research institute, which specialises in scientific issues relevant to the conservation of species and their habitats. The Institute of Zoology focuses its research on five areas: evolutionary biology, genetics, ecology, reproductive biology and wildlife epidemiology. The Institute of Zoology was graded 4 in the 1997–2001 UK Research Assessment Exercise, and publishes reports annually. From the late 1980s the Institute of Zoology had been affiliated to the University of London. However, in 2000 this was replaced with a partnership with the University of Cambridge.
Zoos and publications
ZSL runs ZSL London Zoo, ZSL Whipsnade Zoo and had planned to open an aquarium, Biota!. The society published the Zoological Record (ZR) from 1864 to 1980, when the ZR was transferred to BIOSIS. The Society has published the Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London, now called the Journal of Zoology, since 1830. Since 1998 it has also published Animal Conservation. Other publications include the International Zoo Yearbook.
The society administers the following award programmes:
- Frink Medal
- Stamford Raffles Award
- Silver Medal
- Scientific Medal
- Marsh Award for Conservation Biology
- Marsh Award for Marine and Freshwater Conservation
- Thomson Reuters/Zoological Record Award for Communicating Zoology
- Prince Philip Award and Marsh Prize
- Charles Darwin Award and Marsh Prize
- Thomas Henry Huxley Award and Marsh Prize
- the Landseer Medal
Individuals can be elected Fellows of the Zoological Society of London and therefore granted the post-nominal letters FZS.
The ZSL's Honorary Fellows include:
- 1975 Professor Jean Anthony, Professor Jean Dorst
- 1977 Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
- 1984 Professor Ernst Mayr
- 1988 Professor Milton Thiago de Mello
- 1990 Professor Knut Schmidt-Nielsen
- 1991 Emperor Akihito of Japan
- 1992 Professor Edward Wilson
- 1996 Professor John Maynard Smith
- 1997 Miriam Rothschild
- 1998 Sir David Attenborough
- 1999 Sir Robert May
- 2001 Professor Patrick Bateson
- 2002 Professor Robert McNeill Alexander
- 2002 Dr William G. Conway
- 2003 Professor Sir Brian Follett
- 2004 Sir Martin Holdgate
- 2005 Professor Sir John Krebs, Professor Katherine Ralls, Professor Sir Brian Heap
- 2006 Professor Sir John Lawton
- 2007 Professor John Beddington
- 2011 Lord Moser
- 2012 Dr Desmond Morris
- 2013 Ken Sims
The Council is the governing body of the ZSL. There are 15 Council members, led by the President and served by the Secretary and Treasurer. Council members are the Trustees of the Society and serve for up to five years at a time.
The Presidency is a voluntary position, with the role of leading the ZSL Council. The Society's Presidents and their dates in office are:
- Sir Stamford Raffles (1826)
- The Marquess of Lansdowne (1827–1831)
- The Earl of Derby (1831–1851)
- Prince Albert, Prince Consort (1851–1862)
- Sir George Clerk, Bt (1862–1868)
- The Marquess of Tweeddale (1868–1878)
- Sir William H. Flower (1879–1899)
- The Duke of Bedford (1899–1936)
- The Earl of Onslow (1936–1942)
- Henry Gascoyne Maurice (1942–1948)
- The Duke of Devonshire (1948–1950)
- The Viscount Alanbrooke (1950–1954)
- Sir Landsborough Thomson (1954–1960)
- Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (1960–1977)
- Lord Zuckerman (1977–1984)
- Sir William MacGregor Henderson (1984–1989)
- Avrion Mitchison (1989–1992)
- Field Marshal Sir John Chapple (1992–1994)
- Sir Martin Holdgate (1994–2004)
- Professor Sir Patrick Bateson (2004–2014)
- Professor Sir John Beddington CMG FRS (2014–present)
The post of secretary is honorary and under the society's constitution carries the responsibility for the day-to-day management of the affairs of the ZSL. The secretaries and their dates in office are:
- Nicholas Aylward Vigors (1826–1833)
- Edward Turner Bennett (1833–1836)
- William Yarrell (1836–1838)
- John Barlow (1838–1840)
- William Ogilby (1840–1847)
- David William Mitchell (1847–1859)
- Philip Lutley Sclater (1859–1902)
- William Lutley Sclater (1903)
- Peter Chalmers Mitchell (1903–1935)
- Julian Huxley (1935–1942)
- Sheffield Airey Neave (1942–1952)
- Viscount Chaplin (1952–1955)
- Solly Zuckerman (1955–1977)
- Ronald Henderson Hedley (1977–1980)
- Erasmus Darwin Barlow (1980–1982)
- John Guest Phillips (1982–1984)
- Richard M. Laws (1984–1988)
- Barry Albert Cross (1988–1992)
- R. McNeill Alexander (1992–1999)
- Paul H. Harvey (2000–2011)
- Professor Geoffrey Boxshall FRS (2011–present)
- Scherren, Henry (1905). The Zoological Society of London. Cassell & Co.
- . Advertisements. The Times (12956). London. 2 May 1826. col C, p. 1. Missing or empty
- "Zoological Society". The Times (12956). London. 2 May 1826. col C, p. 3.
- John Bastin. "The first prospectus of the Zoological Society of London: new light on the Society's origins". Archives of Natural History. Volume 5, Issue 5. Pages 369–388. Edinburgh University Press, 1 October 1970. Deepdyve
- "ZSL rebrands to boost its status as a conservation charity". Dial2Donate. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
- "ZSL rebrand: Let's Work for Wildlife". UK Zoo Guide. 13 June 2015. Retrieved 20 June 2015.
- Charity Commission. Zoological Society of London, registered charity no. 208728.
- ZSL scientific awards
- The Zoological Society of London Honorary Fellows
- Current ZSL Council Members
- New president for ZSL promises public a gateway into conservation Archived 14 June 2009 at the Wayback Machine ZSL press release announcing the new president in 2004
- The Zoological Society of London. Charter and Byelaws. 1995.
- Denton, Peter (12 May 1994). "Obituary: Sir Barry Cross". The Independent. Retrieved 14 October 2011.
- Official website
- Bennett, Edward Turner (1830–31) The gardens and menagerie of the Zoological Society..., two volumes