Brazil’s more than 120 zoos and aquariums, together hold around 50,000 animals. Although biologically diverse, unfortunately, many Brazilian zoos are of poor quality. Wild Welfare’s in-country project is centred on helping the Brazilian Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZAB), establish a welfare certification programme for their member zoos.
Many zoo animals in Brazil come from illegal trafficking confiscations and many Brazilian zoos find themselves overburdened with confiscated animals. Many facilities have outdated enclosures, bad management and no record keeping and Brazil does not have adequate national legislation that can address poor welfare in captive facilities.
The conservation authorities in Brazil – IBAMA and ICMBiol (collectively the Ministry of Environment) – want to ensure AZAB are involved with their ‘One Plan’ approach to endemic species. AZAB has around 70 zoo and aquarium members and since 2014 they have been committed to the establishment and implementation of a welfare certification programme for them. The certification programme is a series of welfare standards that all members have to follow to attain AZAB membership and having the programme in place is significantly raising standards of care and welfare for animals in AZAB zoos.
Wild Welfare’s Brazil work involves carrying out welfare assessments at AZAB zoos, training welfare auditors to carry out assessments and working practically with individual facilities to help them implement welfare improvements.
As of 2018, we have supported the assessment of 21 AZAB zoos and aquariums as part of the welfare programme and our ongoing project involves providing ongoing training support and accompanying AZAB assessment teams as this programme continues to develop