What Animal Welfare Means to Us

At home and around the world, Oakland Zoo works hard to constantly provide the best in animal welfare practices and programs. Whether in captivity—or living in the wild—every animal deserves a home that fosters the best quality of life, through both physical and psychological well-being.

Rescue and Sanctuary

We provide care, rehabilitation and sanctuary for animals rescued from human-wildlife conflict or natural disasters, like wildfires.

Standards of Care

We’ve pioneered new standards of care that improve our animals’ well-being; some of those standards are now used by zoos worldwide.

Legal Support

We partner with animal rights organizations to end animal abuse happening across the country, at venues like roadside zoos and traveling circuses.


We lobby for legislature to protect animals at the local, state, national level, to enact laws that protect all animals, both in captivity and in the wild.

See how Oakland Zoo's efforts are helping locally, nationally, and globally.

Protect Elephants in Captivity

Oakland Zoo pioneered the protected-contact management method, a practice now benefitting elephants at zoos throughout the U.S. For decades, Oakland Zoo has been working hard to protect captive elephants everywhere from exploitation, mistreatment, and mismanagement. Learn more.  

Battle Animal Exploitation

Working closely with remarkable organizations like PETA and the Humane Society of the United States, Oakland Zoo plays a critical role in rescuing captive bears, lions, tigers, and other animals living in inhumane conditions. Learn more.

End Illegal Wildlife Trade

Wildlife trafficking is a multibillion-dollar industry that benefits criminals at the expense of innocent animals. See what Oakland Zoo is doing nationally to end the illegal wildlife trade, and how you can help.

See how Oakland Zoo is helping at home.

Rescue, Rehabilitate, Provide Sanctuary

Oakland Zoo provides life-saving medical care to wildlife from many species, including bears, mountain lions, California condors, and more. Many of these animals come to us as young orphans that cannot return to the wild, and have been given permanent sanctuary at the Zoo.

Advance Animal Health and Well Being

At Oakland Zoo, training and enrichment is based on the affective experience of every animal. Learn about our species-specific programs, recognized for excellence worldwide. 

Create Holistic Habitats

Based on how each species lives in nature, Oakland Zoo strives to create expansive habitats that engage all aspects of an animal's life—physically, socially, and psychologically.

Explore related articles.

Illegal Wildlife Trade

The exploitation of wild animals as pets, exotic food ingredients, or medicine is ethically wrong, ecologically destructive, a serious threat to wildlife populations, and clearly one of the main causes of zoonotic disease. Oakland Zoo joins the Association of Zoos & Aquariums in taking a strong position on Illegal Wildlife Trade.

Save the Sea Turtles - Say NO to Plastic

How can saying NO to plastic save sea turtles in Guatemala? Join Oakland Zoo in taking the #NoToPlastic pledge...animals of all types will thank you for it!

Captain Cal: Road to Recovery

Only four to six weeks old, an orphaned mountain lion cub suffering from severe wildfire burns was discovered and rescued by a Cal Fire firefighter in an area the Zogg Wildfire burned through. He was brought to Oakland Zoo’s Veterinary Hospital for treatment and rehabilitation on September 30. Follow along as we do everything we can to nurse this little guy back to health!

Celebrating Elephants: Oakland Zoo and Amboseli

Protecting the ever-threatened population of African Elephants takes perseverance and passion. That's why Amboseli Trust for Elephants became Oakland Zoo's very first Conservation Partner....and we've been defending wild elephants ever since.