Had a rather strange reject from iStock yesterday. I submitted two photos of a rhinoceros. One was rejected because I didn't have a property release from a zoo. The other one was accepted. Two different angles, but in both you can still see the same background. I have other photos of wildlife from the same zoo and they accepted them. I guess it was a different reviewer than the other. Just thought that was funny. What zoo is going to give you a property release?
I know Fort Worth Zoo it states on their information pamphlet that you have to have permission to photograph, but no other zoo I've been to require permission. I don't know that Fort Worth Zoo would actually give you a property release though. I always ask if it's not posted before I photograph.
It is actually stated (in theTechnical Wiki) "Zoological Locations such as Seaword, San Diego Zoo, Busch Gardens, etc - Logos, images from theme parks, shows, attractions, products, animals, productions, characters or wordmarks are all protected and cannot be photographed for commercial use.
For clarity this policy applies to ALL zoological locations."
This is clearly not consistently upheld; many iStock inspectors can't distinguish between an 'animal in the wild' and a 'captive animal'. Keeps my wiki finger well exercised. However, some inspectors are more cautious than others.
It has been asserted by someone fairly knowledgeable (Can't remember who) that random zoo animals are not protected, unless they're well known 'characters' of the zoo. In the UK at least, it's doubtful that a zoo would have any grounds to sue. But who wants to be the test case?
As to whether a zoo would grant a property release, who knows until they try? I was thinking of trying for a profit-sharing route with my 'nearest' (relatively) zoo, but as I'm a teacher, whenever I can go, it's mobbed with screaming weans ...
I've never had a reply from anyone I've written to or emailled asking for a property release - positive or negative, so when in doubt, I go RM/editorial.
Wecome to the club of inconsistent rejections. It's all part of life's rich tapestry.