Courtesy of Prof. Terry L. Maple, Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens.

About Heini Hediger

Heini Hediger
In Memoriam
Nov 30, 1908 - Aug 29, 1969


Zurich Zoo, Zurich Switzerland

Director Retired

Heini Hediger (1908-1992) was a Swiss biologist noted for his work in animal behavior and is known as the “father of zoo biology”. He served as zoo director of Tierpark Dahlholzli (1938-1943), Zoo Basel (1944-1953) and Zurich Zoo (1954-1973).

In 1942 Dr. Hediger developed the science of wild animals being managed in zoological parks which he called zoo biology. His theories about animals in zoos that they are owners of their environment which is the territory of their enclosures. He spoke of the quality of the enclosures as being important.

In the 1950s he promoted the concept of training zoo animals to afford the animal exercise and mental occupation, a term zoo managers today call “enrichment”. He felt that training would assist zoo managers to give needed medical treatment to an animal. This practice is widely followed in today’s zoo management.

His books on the subject are considered required reading for any zoo manager. They are Studies of the psychology and behavior of captive animals in zoos and circuses (1955) and Man and Animal in the Zoo (1969), Wild Animals in Captivity (1950) among his many publications.

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