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The European Association for Aquatic Mammals

The European Association for Aquatic Mammals (EAAM) was formed in 1972, originally as an interest group. In August 2012 it became a non-profit Association, with its head office located in Brussels, Belgium.

The EAAM is proud to bring together diverse members. Including veterinarians, biologists, zoo and marine park directors and managers, trainers and caretakers, researchers, students and other persons who devote a significant amount of time to the in situ and ex situ welfare and conservation of marine mammals through research, medical care, training, education, conservation, management and related activities.

Mission and Objectives

The mission of the EAAM is the welfare and conservation of marine mammals, whether cared for by professionals in EAAM parks or living in the wild. Its primary objectives are to:


1) Promote the free exchange of knowledge among individuals and institutions to further scientific progress pertaining to research, medical care, training, education, conservation, management and other aspects of aquatic mammals; and

2) Support and encourage public awareness and education concerning the biology, habitats, threats to wild populations, and programs and measures for the conservation of aquatic mammals.

Regulation under Zoos Directive

EAAM parks are licensed by Member States in the European Union in accordance with the Directive 1999/22 relating to the keeping of wild animals in zoos.  Under the “Zoos Directive”, Member States must ensure that zoos undertake conservation measures including “participating in research from which conservation benefits accrue to the species, and/or training in relevant conservation skills, and/or the exchange of information relating to species conservation and/or, where appropriate, captive breeding, re-population or reintroduction of species into the wild.”   


The Zoos Directive also requires Member States to ensure that zoos carry out conservation measures by “promoting public education and awareness in relation to the conservation of biodiversity, particularly by providing information about the species exhibited and their natural habitats.”  It further requires Member States to ensure that animals are accommodated “under conditions which aim to satisfy the biological and conservation requirements of the individual species, inter alia, by providing; species specific enrichment of the enclosures; and maintaining a high standard of animal husbandry with a developed programme of preventative and curative veterinary care and nutrition.”  


EAAM parks set and meet high standards of animal care and continue to develop and advance professional standards beyond legal requirements.  For more information about EAAM parks’ achievements in conservation and education, see:

EAAM members have long been leaders in the high quality care and conservation of aquatic mammals.  In addition to complying with applicable laws, EAAM parks must operate in accordance with EAAM-approved best practices and professional standards. These professional practices and standards typically exceed legal requirements and are reviewed continuously.  A formal EAAM accreditation process was instituted in 2010 and requires inspection of each park by qualified professionals to maintain its EAAM membership.  Re-inspection is mandated every five years.


The European Association of Aquatic Mammals (EAAM) was created in 1972 to bring together zoological parks and professionals devoted to the conservation and welfare of aquatic mammals both in human care and in the wild. From the founding of the peer-reviewed Aquatic Mammal Journal in 1974 to its most recent scientific symposium, EAAM’s main goal has always been to promote the sharing of knowledge and best practices pertaining to scientific research, public education, species conservation and management of aquatic mammals.

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