Wild Welfare has been in Vietnam, facilitating an animal welfare workshop, held after the Vietnam Zoos Association (VZA)’s annual meeting at Dam Sen Zoo in Ho Chi Minh city.
More than 30 people from the 18 different VZA members were in attendance and we were gratefully supported by volunteer Sarah Blake, who has spent the last three months working at Hanoi Zoo in partnership with Animals Asia, Wild Welfare and the Yorkshire Wildlife Park Foundation.
We first met with Dam Sen Zoo staff in January and were asked to host the welfare workshop, within our remit of improving animal welfare and ending suffering in captivity. These changes will only come about if we develop capacity and understanding from within the communities we are working with – something that takes time and positive collaboration.
At the two-day workshop we were presenting on animal welfare concepts and practical management skills, animal record keeping, understanding behaviours and welfare assessment options, and we carried out a practical session on environmental enrichment.
We took the opportunity to invite two VZA members to represent their work on animal welfare; Phu Phan, an elephant keeper from the Elephant Conservation Centre (ECC) presented on his enrichment programme and how it has improved welfare for ECC elephants, Jun and Gold and Mr Cuong from Hanoi Zoo presented on the fantastic enrichment programme at his zoo. Phu was delighted to be at the workshop and said it was “an eye opening and a great opportunity to meet new people and share information and knowledge.”
Mr Tanh, Director of Dam Sen Zoo, said: “Thanks Wild Welfare for bringing new knowledge and expertise to Vietnam and our Zoo. It’s the first time we realised how important animal cognitive and behavioural needs are and it has been really valuable to help us understand future animal keeping at our zoo.”
Image: Carrying out practical enrichment at Dam Sen Zoo