The Wild Welfare team has recently returned from Brazil where we have been continuing our collaboration with the Brazilian Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZAB). The trip involved extensive travel between six zoological facilities across the country as part of the ongoing welfare certification process which we have been involved with since 2015.
Dave Morgan, Founder and Field Director at Wild Welfare, and Margaret Whittaker, Executive Director at Wild Welfare (U.S.) worked alongside local auditors to assure a consistent process in the monitoring and evaluation of animal welfare across institutions. Since its inception, we have helped to guide the audit process for Brazilian facilities, creating the entire programme in collaboration with AZAB.
Dave and Margaret were joined by four AZAB auditors who had previously attended auditor training courses conducted by Wild Welfare and hosted by AZAB.
There are over 70 zoos and aquariums across Brazil, and about 45 are members of the association. Their ambitious goal has always been to evaluate all members with assistance from Wild Welfare. By the end of the three week excursion, the six additional facilities brought the overall total to 42 facilities which have been visited and assessed, some of which included pre-membership audits.
The southern states of Brazil – Sao Paula, Santa Catarina, Minas Gerais – have the highest density of zoos and aquariums in the region, and Wild Welfare have audited nearly all of these to date. This trip took us to the north of the region, auditing zoos and aquariums in the states of Para, Amazonas, Pernambuco, Rio Grande do Norte and Paraiba.
Wild Welfare’s presence at each of these facilities was very well received, with good feedback and plenty of opportunities for open and honest discussions. Many participants were keen to hear more from us and the team have been invited to present at AZAB’s annual congress later this year.
“The highlight of the trip was a return visit to the very first facility we audited for AZAB in 2015, as an experimental dry run for the certification process. In the past 8 years they have made significant changes in their management practises as per our original recommendations in 2015. The outcome has been a discernible net increase in welfare, which was of course, immensely encouraging to see.” Dave Morgan, Wild Welfare Founder and Field Director.
Many animals arrive at these facilities as a direct result of human actions, including the illegal wildlife trade and conflict or injury due to interactions with humans. Sloths, anteaters and parrots are just a few examples of species being brought in by government officials, who are sadly unable to be released back into the wild. During the audit process, the team also came across Amazonian manatees being rehabilitated at a smaller facility.
Wild Welfare is proud to collaborate with AZAB to assist them in the pursuit of improved welfare standards and practices that promote well-being. The implications of these audits is to create broader awareness of what animal welfare is, and how management practices can be changed when viewed through the focal lens of welfare. Necessary procedural enhancements and additions are strategically highlighted during the auditing process to provide a facility with a path to implementing improvements. By providing direction and resources, a facility can readily achieve the necessary steps towards enhanced animal welfare and meet the AZAB Standard for Welfare, thus providing a more appropriate environment where animals can thrive.
The Wild Welfare team look forward to returning to Brazil for further audits and collaborative training exercises in 2023 and beyond.
Notes to Editors
For more information or interview requests please contact Wild Welfare on firstname.lastname@example.org
Wild Welfare is a global organisation committed to improving animal welfare for captive wild animals. By uniting the world’s leading zoos, zoo associations and animal welfare organisations, we build trusting partnerships that help provide long-term solutions to critical wild animal welfare issues.
Our vision is a world where every captive wild animal is able to thrive and live a good life. Find out more at wildwelfare.org. Registered charity in England (no.1165941).