Captive wild animal facilities in Vietnam, such as wildlife rescue centres and zoos, are playing an increasingly important role in the conservation of endangered species, by enabling the effective confiscation and accommodation of animals caught up in the illegal wildlife trade and through educating the Vietnamese public on the importance of species and habitat conservation. However, where wildlife-holding facilities do exist, it is essential to ensure the best possible care for the animals if such facilities are to engage with- and receive support from- international species conservation programmes. Standards to ensure the physical and behavioural well-being of animals must be equal to- or better than- the standards of participating international facilities.
In December 2014 Wild Welfare part funded and hosted the forum: Animal Welfare and Conservation in Vietnam, a fantastic example of how collaboration between the zoo and animal welfare community can really bring about hope and change for wild animals in captivity. Progress and change happens through constructive and continued engagement with those in charge, and we cannot underestimate the power of demonstrating a united front. The forum was attended by a number of Vietnam zoo directors, SEAZA, international zoo experts and animal welfare NGO’s
Since then, Wild Welfare has been working with its partners, including the relatively newly formed Vietnam Zoo Association, to push forward changes in welfare standards within Vietnam. It is reassuring to hear significant Vietnamese individuals and zoo experts championing better welfare practices, and we are working with those individuals and institutions that are engaged with making improvements. We have helped establish a government-led National Zoo Welfare Working Group (NZWWG), where welfare concepts and regulations are being discussed within a positive forum. Wild Welfare have supplied welfare resources and legislative material for this working group and continue to work with them to support the government’s efforts to apply national welfare legislation standards for zoos.
On-going work includes continuing to work within the zoos and with the zoo staff themselves and hope to partner with the accredited zoo community who are led by Vietnamese zoo experts, to identify training opportunities that support the on-going efforts of Vietnam zoos and personnel who are striving to make changes.