For the record

A state-of-the-art information management system is transforming the way we keep our animal records.


The new web-based system, known as ZIMS (Zoological Information Management System) affords staff easier access to animal care data and allows them to share information with keepers across the world.

It also provides a simpler system for the zoo to update its animal movement records when species are translocated to or from other zoological organisations, and global searches can be made to locate breeding.

Registrar, Dr David Beeston – pictured above – has overseen the transfer to ZIMS from ARKS (Animal Record Keeping System), which had been in use for many years.

He said: “Senior zoo staff have had on-line training so curators, section heads, and the zoo’s vet can all update the system and access information instantly.

“There are many advantages to the new system, which will eventually be used by almost all zoos.

“The system allows us to work locally to access veterinary data and record observations of individual animals, and we can research treatment advice, as well as setting up alerts to remind staff to carry out vaccinations and other routine health procedures and it also offers a much easier solution to update stud books.”

DZG has been influential in promoting best practice in record keeping for zoo keepers for more than a decade and last year Dr Beeston addressed curators and keepers during a BIAZA (British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums) conference on the ZIMS programme which has been pioneered at DZG.