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ZIMS for Husbandry Roadmap: What’s already here, what lies ahead

Nannette Driver-Ruiz, Business Analyst and acting Product Owner, ZIMS for Husbandry

Nannette Driver-Ruiz is Business Analyst and acting Product Owner, ZIMS for Husbandry, Species360

We recently shared our roadmap of upcoming changes to ZIMS for Husbandry with the Species360 Board of Trustees. Here is a look at some of the highlights. Several of these changes have a big impact on work flow and speed – such as adding more Save & Repeat functionality throughout the Husbandry module. Others improve the quality of information shared across teams — such as including Care and Welfare notes in exports.

Every month, Species360 rolls out new features and enhancements to ZIMS for Husbandry and Aquatics, ZIMS for Medical, and ZIMS for Studbooks. Some changes improve the quality of information available to those that need it most, including registrars, keepers, curators, and veterinarians. Other changes make ZIMS features more intuitive and efficient, by easing data entry, capturing more insight, and increasing accuracy.

The clockwork nature of these releases is a credit to our Species360 development team, all of whom are experienced across the ZIMS modules, from the aquatics and enrichment modules, to solutions for monitoring and recording animal welfare indicators (ZIMS for Husbandry – Care and Welfare).

As an acting product owner, I work alongside our developers to represent members’ needs. The shift to working remotely during the COVID-19 crisis has not slowed ZIMS developments. In fact, we have accelerated a few things, such as adapting provisional data entry to better serve zoo and aquarium staff that are now working remotely, communicating across separate teams, and doing more direct data entry.


We recently shared our roadmap of upcoming changes to ZIMS for Husbandry with the Species360 Board of Trustees. Here is a look at some of the highlights. Several of these changes have a big impact on work flow and speed – such as adding more Save & Repeat functionality throughout the Husbandry module. Others improve the quality of information shared across teams — such as including Care and Welfare notes in exports.

Thank you to all of our members that recommend changes, give feedback, and ask – and answer – questions. I am pleased to share this look at what the Species360 development team is achieving with your help and support. As always, keep the great feedback coming by emailing us at Support@Species360.org.


Enabling zoo and aquarium teams to work differently during Covid-19 staffing changes.

First and foremost, we have adapted our ZIMS for Husbandry roadmap to reflect members’ needs during the current Covid-19 crisis. As more keepers begin entering data directly rather than passing notes to a registrar, some institutions are adding review and approval steps using a feature called provisional data entry. To assist with this, we are modifying how provisional records are approved and are making it easier for registrars to edit the records before approving them.

Merging animal records in ZIMS

Coming sooner than originally planned, we have moved up a new ZIMS for Husbandry enhancement that will enable members to initiate merge requests when duplicate animal records are identified. This change had been planned farther along on the roadmap and is now being prioritized in response to member requests.

Marking your institution as “Accredited” for Expedia

Using ZIMS, Regional Associations will be able to reflect their zoo and aquarium members’ accreditation status for the Expedia travel site.

New on the roadmap, Regional Associations will be able to reflect their zoo and aquarium members’ accreditation status for the Expedia travel site. Expedia is strengthening their animal welfare policy in regards to aquariums and zoos. Expedia will now only promote facilities that exhibit the highest standards of animal welfare practices with sound scientific evidence, and participate in zoological regional associations. Their welfare standards include Husbandry, Medical Care, Diets and Nutrition, Environment, Behavior, etc.  By allowing Expedia to source that information, these associations can ensure that potential visitors are able to confirm an institutions’ accreditation status in real-time.

Enhancing the enrichment and animal welfare solutions in ZIMS

There are also enhancements coming to the Enrichment and to the Care and Welfare modules within ZIMS for Husbandry. Changes to ZIMS for Husbandry – Care and Welfare, which was released in 2018, include displaying Care and Welfare notes in husbandry records, and adding the ability to change the order of indicators on a template.

Making data entry go a little faster

We have a series of usability improvements coming to ZIMS for Husbandry, including adding the “save and repeat” option to speed data entry throughout all of the husbandry modules and batching notes to reduce duplicate information on the Daily report.

In addition to all of the changes in the works today, here is a look back at the new ZIMS for Husbandry features and enhancements released so far this year.

ALREADY RELEASED: Here are the ZIMS for Husbandry features, enhancements, and fixes already released January – April 2020

Minor enhancements, including but not limited to:

  • Format Care & Welfare note field to match husbandry log template note field
  • Include Care & Welfare notes in the Care & Welfare export
  • Include Clutch/Litter ID on split individuals
  • Save & Repeat option implemented on Add New Permit and Assign Permit
  • Assign multiple enrichment items
  • Change name of Animal Event location grid to: Birth/Hatch Date and Event Locations
  • View/Edit function now opens directly into edit mode for users with edit rights throughout the husbandry module
  • Husbandry log templates now have water change functionality option
  • Institution Preference- users can now select a preference to auto-remove animals with dispositions/deaths from animal lists
  • Safe for Sharks export is available from the Reports menu > Exports
  • Care and Welfare module- Implemented a sort order on templates. The sort order is now by taxonomy, then by Local ID
  • Option to Save & Repeat has been added to the Institution > Transponder grid

Maintenance and Water Changes

  • Users can now track water change data for enclosures, life supports and components
  • For enclosures with system volume in ZIMS, amount or percentage fields will auto-calculate based on user entries
  • Tracking source of water changes will allow users to assess water usage
  • Data export has been updated to include water change data

Animals Available and Wanted

  • New column available: Date Added
  • This column shows the date the animal was entered on the AA&W list to allow for quick searching on newly-added animals

Thanks again to all of our members. And please watch here for more ZIMS for Husbandry news!

About the Author: As a business analyst, Nannette recently lead the data migration to ZIMS for a major U.S. zoo, enabling them to replace their legacy animal records system and improve data quality. She joined Species360 from Fresno Chaffee Zoo, where she worked in animal care for 19 years.

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