Wild Welfare visited Ho Chi Minh city, in the southern part of Vietnam, in January. The team met with staff at Dam Sen Zoo and Saigon Zoo, to discuss welfare training for zoo staff and to assess what areas of each facility can be improved to progress welfare for their animals.
Our projects director, Georgina Allen, said: “The focus for Wild Welfare is always to work with zoos to improve welfare for their animals. It is only by working in cooperation with zoo staff that we can make suggestions and help implement ideas, that can make positive changes for the animals. The recent visit to Ho Chi Minh has highlighted some key areas where we can offer support, and both zoos showed enthusiasm for working with us.”
Dam Sen Zoo
We met with the curator and director of Dam Sen Zoo and discussed carrying out animal welfare training with their team of ten, which includes two veterinary staff. The Zoo’s director was very keen to hear how staff might benefit from training and what opportunities this enables their facility to improve animal care and welfare.
“Having worked with keepers at Hanoi Zoo for some time now, and observed the positive animal welfare improvements taking place there as a result of our training, I am very positive about the improvements we could also achieve by supporting Dam Sen. We hope to schedule training for later this year, when our team returns to Vietnam,” said Mrs Allen.
We had a successful visit to Saigon Zoo, meeting with the director and deputy director and discussing the welfare of the zoo’s elephants and other animals, which includes tigers, otters, and primates. Erin Ivory, our elephant welfare advisor, was also able to spend two days at the zoo, working with the elephant keepers directly. Our team isolated several areas where the zoo can offer additional enrichments and enclosure facilities, that will raise the standards of animal care and give individuals better ability to express species-specific behaviour and interact with their surroundings.
Saigon Zoo is a large facility, with a team of more than 50 staff. The zoo’s deputy director was keen to hear how Wild Welfare can support this team as they care for the facility’s animals, so the next step is to draft enrichment and enclosure suggestions for the Zoo, and begin working on making improvements with them.
Image © Wild Welfare – A painted stork flying in the large, walk-through aviary at Dam Sen Zoo.