The increasing awareness on biodiversity conservation has given rise to the growing need for ex-situ cultivation and in view of the current global biodiversity crisis with limited economic resources to combat it, zoos are becoming a viable option as complementary conservation strategy. Inventory, species diversity, conservation status, and ecological representation of wild animals in the zoos of Southwest Nigeria were studied and catalogued as “buffer” for in-situ conservation. Data were gathered from nine (9) Zoos across five States through direct field survey. Results were presented with descriptive statistics and diversity indices was calculated using Shannon-Weiner diversity index. A total of 497 individual animals comprising of 74 species belonging to 43 families were observed in all the selected zoos. Among which 47 species are least concerned, Vulnerable (9), Near threatened (2), Endangered (7), Critically endangered (3) and Not evaluated (6). The highest diversity index H of 3.75 was recorded in University of Ibadan zoological garden and Agodi garden (1.56) had the least. Fauna species in the Zoos were representatives across different ecological zones comprising of 42 species from savannah, wetland (15), Rainforest species (12), and 5 dual habitats (forest and savannah). Zoos in the Southwest Nigeria have been effective in conserving biological resources as they present ambassadors of animals in the wild to inspire visitors to care for and understand the natural ecosystems and the threats that these systems face.
Key Words: Diversity, Fauna, Conservation, Zoo, Nigeria