The EAZA (European Association of Zoos and Aquariums) Felid TAG group have brought out some clear Demonstration Guidelines for felid species used in public demonstrations
Zoos and aquariums have seen a rapid growth in public/animal interactive experiences in recent years. From walk-through, swim-through or drive-through exhibits and shows, to direct animal contact that includes activities such as touch pools, touch paddocks and petting areas, the experiences on offer vary. Their popularity has increased as they are deemed to demonstrate an engaging educational experience, with education being a key objective for the modern zoological collection. A significant number of different species are on offer for animal experiences, ranging from elephants to amphibians. But with this diversity comes the complexity of ensuring that each and every animal used in an interaction has a high standard of welfare, before, during and after an interaction takes place. This can be a challenge for the modern zoo, while still providing engaging and educational-based opportunities.This is particularly difficult as there are still relatively few guidelines available. These guidelines on the use of cats in public demonstrations are extremely useful for not only EAZA members, but all facilities who’s regional association currently lacks relevant guidance.