EAZA Ex situ Programme (EEP)

Snowy owl

(Bubo scandiacus)

 Ville Vepsalainen
Institution:  Helsinki Zoo

EAZA Member Area


Helsinki Zoo

IUCN Red List status

IUCN Red List VU


Programme roles

Direct Conservation icon  Insurance
It is necessary to manage the population genetically and demographically in cooperation with regions where the species is also held ex situ. Currently, there are no subspecies recognized, but this could change in the future, and should be investigated. As some birds have health problems, husbandry improvements should occur to continuously continue to improve welfare of the species. Therefore, this species needs Best Practice Guidelines. The benefit of having an ex situ population of this species could increase if the conditions in the wild worsen, which is possible. It seems possible that reintroductions (locally) may be required in the future. 

The effects of climate change, and consequent susceptibility for diseases, on snowy owls requires more research. 
Indirect Conservation icon  Education
This species can be used to educate our visitors on adaptations to cold environment. Snowy owls could be promoted as the European ambassador for climate change.
Non Conservation icon  Exhibit/Attractive species
It is a species that is generally considered to be attractive for display.

Programme numbers

In January 2023, the Snowy owl EEP had 314 animals in 112 institutions.

Programme highlights

  • In Zooquaria 112 (summer 2021) on page 14 there is an article on the Raptor TAG – subgroup Owls Regional Collection Plan and the plans for the exceptional birds.
  • EAZA published its 2021 Annual TAG Report and on page 20 you can read about the activities of the Raptor TAG. 
  • The EAZA Raptor TAG is very active on Facebook with an open Facebook page where they regularly publish news stories. There is also a closed group that is open to EAZA members. 

LIFE logo with white paddingThis work is supported by the European Union LIFE NGO funding programme. The European Union is not responsible for the views displayed in publications and/or in conjunction with the activities for which the grant is used.