The zoo based, long-term breeding programmes that are most likely to be successful are with the classic zoo animals, for which there are always a demand, and which can be maintained, across collections, in large numbers. The obscure, small, retiring and cryptic animals are of limited appeal and the idea that we will be able to establish self-sustaining captive populations of these in mainstream zoos is unrealistic. The species that will persist are those the majority of the public want to see and are relatively straightforward to keep and breed: lions, tigers, giraffes, zebras, macaws, flamingos and so on. The Meller’s ducks, Telfair’s skinks, mountain chickens and their ilk that do not have great public appeal are likely to be short-term curiosities destined to die out in captivity. For display species, where it is not necessary to maintain them for conservation purposes, the zoo community should be domesticating them. This it can do by breeding from the tame, docile animals that do well in captivity. Domestication is already well advanced in many captive populations of mammals, birds, reptiles and fish, with large, docile, boldly marked, or colour mutations being especially popular. If this idea is embraced by zoos, they will be able to exhibit white tigers and white lions with a clear conscience and there would be no need to worry about sub-specific or species purity. Domesticated animals will be better adjusted to captivity and show fewer behaviour problems and more inclined to interact with the public. They will be easier to manage and less prone to a range of stress induced diseases, and consequently will make better exhibits.