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Zoo & aquarium animal welfare workshop a hit in Japan

Members of Japanese Assoc Zoos & Aquariums at training workshop, run by Wild Welfare

Zoo & aquarium animal welfare workshop a hit in Japan

Wild Welfare has held a successful zoo animal welfare workshop at Fukuoka Zoo on Japan’s Kyushu island.

More than 40 Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums (JAZA) participants travelled from all across the country to the south of Japan, for a two-day animal welfare workshop run by Wild Welfare.

Wild Welfare’s projects director, Georgina Groves, said: “It was great to welcome so many people, many of which had travelled a long way to Kyushu in order to attend, and it’s testament to the JAZA members, their desire to learn and the increasing commitment they’re showing to animal welfare that we had such a successful workshop.”

The Wild Welfare team was joined by Sally Binding, The European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA)’s animal welfare coordinator, who also delivered training across the two days. Day one was classroom-based and focussed on enclosure set-up and enrichment for zoo animals, with attendees developing enrichment calendars and carrying out problem-based scenarios, including one where they had to identify enclosure and enrichment opportunities for polar bears.

Day two saw attendees move outside into the zoo, where Fukuoka Zoo staff had kindly allowed the workshop to assess the welfare of some of the resident animals. Workshop participants split into two groups and considered the environmental and behavioural opportunities available to the animal they were assessing and if they were suitable for that species. The groups also considered the feeding and health management for the animal and met with the keepers to find out what their level of knowledge for that species was.

Back in the classroom the whole group shared their assessment observations and then problem-solved the long and short-term solutions for the animals based on the assessment’s findings, the zoo’s resources and any limitations. The final part of the two-day event involved attendees considering the importance of welfare committees and governance in zoos and the participants split into their own ‘welfare committee’ groups and solved common ethical and welfare decisions in zoos.

Georgina Groves added: “As always it was a delight to work with JAZA’s welfare committee and JAZA members. We ended the workshop with a fantastic close out meeting and discussed how Wild Welfare can help continue to support JAZA and their welfare assessment policies and welfare monitoring of the zoos and aquariums in their membership.”

To thank Fukuoka Zoo for being such generous hosts, Wild Welfare gifted the Zoo a copy of the book Zookeeping. The book covers everything from animal management and husbandry to veterinary care and public education and it aims to promote the highest standards of care and welfare within zoos and aquariums globally. The book should be an excellent resource for Fukuoka’s staff.

A special thanks to the translators for all their hard work and a huge thank you to Sally Binding for joining us and for bringing her expertise and enthusiasm, both of which were fantastic additions to the workshop.