What do we do when we discover gaps in animal welfare action? We try and fill the gap! That mission alongside many more actions are at the heart of our ambitious three-year collaboration plan for the country of Brazil.
Our Partner for Animals programme team visited several members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Brazil (AZAB) in October 2019, making great progress along the way. None of this would have been possible without the collaboration of Dr Jason Watters from San Francisco Zoo Society (SFZS) and Dr Claudia Igayara from AZAB itself.
The first action point of this plan is to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with AZAB and SFZS for the full three-year programme. This agreement to establish official partnerships, will help develop welfare knowledge and practice within the keeping and curatorial staff across Brazilian zoos and aquariums.
These appointed specialists in animal welfare will not only be able to help continued improvements in the welfare standards of animals within their own establishments but also train and guide other staff members across their region to ensure as far reaching an impact as possible. AZAB alone has 33 member zoos with the potential for thousands of animals to be positively impacted and the scope for improvement beyond that is huge.
Through the partnership, the welfare certification process (which Wild Welfare helped develop and roll out) will help with the implementation of this programme by ensuring that everyone involved knows where animal welfare improvements are needed, be it through staff training, zoo infrastructure or procedural changes in practice. All of it will help ensure better standards of animal welfare across Brazilian zoos and aquariums.
The national association welfare standard is a goal which the partnership will help many AZAB members reach and in 2020, the programme will be facilitating a number of animal welfare training workshops supported by experts from San Francisco Zoo.
“The Partner for Animals programme in Brazil is really taking shape. In conjunction with the welfare audits and the certification scheme, the positive relationship between Wild Welfare, San Francisco Zoo and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Brazil will facilitate Wild Welfare’s goal of ensuring all zoos are good zoos for animals.” Simon Marsh, Operations Manager, Wild Welfare.
This ambitious programme will work with zoo and aquarium staff within Brazil who already have knowledge and passion for animal welfare and want to further their skillset. Through the partnership with San Francisco zoo, training will provide specific learning opportunities that develop knowledge and skills as regards animal welfare. Further identified support between the partners will then be rolled out over the course of the three-year period to all AZAB members, aiming to train everyone from zookeepers to veterinarians, continuing to utilise the expertise and assistance from San Francisco Zoo supported by SFZS.
Training the trainer is a commonly used approach that helps disseminate skills and provide a long term approach to improvement. Learning from a colleague has been proved to provide greater satisfaction and fulfilment than other teaching models, not to mention the ease of communication when you remove the language barrier. By providing the opportunity for a solid knowledge and skills base within animal care staff around good welfare, over the next three years, this Partner for Animals programme will, with San Francisco Zoo’s expertise, help all AZAB members achieve their welfare certification. More importantly, it will help ensure that animals within these facilities have a better quality of life.
“We are excited to be collaborating with Wild Welfare and AZAB in developing the Partner for Animals programme, aiming to create a community of animal welfare specialists across Brazilian zoos and Aquariums”. Dr Jason Watters, Vice President of Wellness and Animal Behaviour, San Francisco Zoological Society.