HISTORY OF ZOOS' PRINT
The first issue of ZOOS' PRINT was posted on 21 December
1985. It is 2009 at this writing and so far, ZOOS’
PRINT has not missed a month of publication. Once, when we
moved office from Mysore to Coimbatore, we combined two
months in one issue. Otherwise, it has been regularly coming
out for almost 25 years.
Its history is intimately tied up with the story of Zoo
Outreach Organisation ZOO and ZOO’s history would not have
been without the Friends of Mysore Zoo for two reasons.
First, because I would never have thought a zoo magazine for
India would be possible had I not published the GNU's LETTER
(pronounced newsletter) which reported activities and news
of Mysore Zoo and their volunteer organisation called the
Friends of Mysore Zoo.
Zoo Outreach Organisation came about because the Friends of
Mysore Zoo and its educational material and newletter came
to the attention of the then Department of Environment,
Government of India which was distressed with the then
condition of the zoos of India. Because of these
activities, I was asked to sit on the National Zoo Advisory
Board and soon to start a national organization based on the
same principles as Friends of Mysore Zoo, but for India.
The DoE gave me a grant for this but for some reason I had
forgotten to ask for funds for a magazine. For the first
year we funded ZOOS’ PRINT with the help of Sri “Jackie”
Gaekwad, Maharaja of Baroda and then by other donors.
Before our grant was up, the government changed and we were
no longer supported by DoE.
Zoo Outreach Organisation was named as such because it made
the acronym, ZOO. The "message" was that we were supportive
of zoos, so supportive that we would make the name of our
organisation as ZOO. Also the word "outreach" was intended
to convey the objective of the organisation to "reach out"
to zoos, wildlife departments, universities, research
institutes conservation NGO's, the public and orient them to
the serious scientific purpose of zoos - conservation,
research, education. The cheetah striding across the logo
was intended to convey what "might have been" for the Indian
cheetah if good, systematic, scientific captive breeding
programmes had been in place.
The design for the original cover of ZOOS' PRINT was done by
the Chamundi Academy of Visual Arts in Mysore who also did
the logo. It was a three-colour cover on white art paper
instead of the single colour on handmade paper that it is
PRINT was black with a yellow cheetah and the subtitle,
"Journal of Zoo Outreach Organisation'
as it was mistakenly called
then was in bright red (mistakenly because it was not a
journal ...it was a magazine). We are going to adopt a
similar design to the old one in a few months, and
have already changed our www.zoosprint.org website back to
our old bright colours.
Deciding the "identity" of ZOOS' PRINT was not easy. Zoo
Outreach Organisation's special mandate was "to encourage
public participation in zoos. However, from the experience I
had in Mysore and what I had heard about in Delhi and other
zoos, I knew that zoo directors had no confidence even in a
conservation NGO much less the public in general to help
them. On the contrary, many were dead against having
volunteers, and some feel the same way today. My intention
in making ZOOS' PRINT practical and technical was to gain
the confidence of zoo personnel, to convince them that an
NGO could help without harming.
Our editorial policy was about as
loose as it could possibly be. We wanted more than anything
just to encourage people to write. Time passed and we
continued to bring out the magazine. It went through
several evolutionary phases, as did I, and the zoos
themselves. If you are interested in reading a full
you can find it up to 1996 in a reprinted article I
up to 2003 in another article on our websites of
In 1993, Sanjay Molur joined ZOOS' PRINT as Associate Editor
and he placed a much greater emphasis on the neglected "minifauna"
and plants. Sanjay also brought up the standard of ZOOS’
PRINT to a point where ZOOS’ PRINT Journal
(this time a real Journal!)
was formed and enjoyed several years of publication sharing
space with ZOOS’ PRINT magazine in different formats. Sanjay
was also responsible for putting ZOOS’ PRINT, both magazine
and Journal, on its own website which I think is a great
thing now. I wish everyone had good access to the web so
that we could save that much paper, as well as share more
colour photographs. We have never printed in colour (except
an insert for P.P. Ravel memorial special issue) as it is so
Now Sanjay has founded a separate publication called
Journal of Threatened Taxa JoTT
which accepts scientific articles from all over the world.
It is web based and has a very sexy and georgeous logo.
Many people send articles and Sanjay has editors and
proofreaders volunteering to help all over the world. So ZOO
and WILD now have two separate publications each with their
When ZOOS’ PRINT has its 25th Anniversary, I will
update the history from 2003 to 2010 and put all of it
together maybe in a little book. I am no longer permitted
to be Editor due to the rules of the Government of India,
but I still put together ZOOS’ PRINT with help from our ZOO
and WILD office staff. My title is Editor Emeritus while
Sanjay is Editor officially.
ZOOS’ PRINT is part of our lives at Zoo Outreach
Organisation. We hope you enjoy it and also that you will
send articles, stories, opinions, and reports to ZOOS’