Zoos supporting Zoos for Animal Welfare
Since 2015, Yorkshire Wildlife Park has had an ongoing MoU and partnership with Hanoi Zoo in Vietnam, to support improvements in animal management and care. Wild Welfare helped introduce the two zoos and has provided peripheral support to both parties, however, Animals Asia has taken on the bulk of the ongoing negotiations, translation and expert (veterinary and keeping) support through their in-country staff. This collaborative approach by a number of different organisations is a great example of how sharing expertise, resources and advice can help make a difference and support the changes that the zoo is hoping to make that can significantly make a difference to the animal’s lives within the zoo. Earlier this year, Yorkshire appointed a dedicated member of staff to work with the zoo. Colin Northcott is the deputy carnivore Team leader at Yorkshire Wildlife Park, and in November he visited Hanoi Zoo for the second time this year to oversee some of the ongoing activities.
Image: Colin Northcott, Thanh (Animals Asia, Animal Welfare Officer) and Ms Nuong (Hanoi Zoo, Education Director), November 2017
Colin was particularly impressed with the re-build of the Binturong enclosure which now has multi-level platforms and inter-connecting walkways. Some of these are dynamic logs and even a swinging platform with dynamic logs leading to it. Mr Northcott, said: “Even the logs are varied from tree branches to bamboo poles offering a range of textures. This also promotes muscle usage, dexterity, fitness is improved and plenty of opportunity to get away from each other should they wish.” It was this enclosure that also won the team prize for best improvement towards animal welfare during a prize-giving ceremony.
“This enclosure provided the most welfare improvements for a species. The whole area increases activity and interest for the animal and hugely improves their conditions. The other team that received a prize was the Elephant team for demonstrating to us that making positive changes is of great benefit to the animals in their care and for pushing forward improvements. They have a renewed vitality to improve welfare across the whole department and are coming up with new proposals to do so. This team were very helpful with improving the record system and showing me how it all works.
“The sun bear enclosure was a build in progress when I left last visit. Now I have seen it completed it does look great. Multi-levelled, with multi-access, it allows great climbing challenges and different textures with opportunity to feed away from each other. It also allows visual barriers and looks great to the viewing public. Another clear piece of evidence that the staff are willing to make major changes to improve the animals lives and demonstrates to us that the funds are being spent wisely.”
Progress continues and while there is still more to do at Hanoi Zoo, this fantastic partnership with both Yorkshire Wildlife Park and Animals Asia Foundation, demonstrates the zoo’s commitment to making further improvements, and are supported in the knowledge that they can ask for expert advice when it be might needed.
Hanoi Zoo is a member of the Southeast Asian Zoos and Aquariums Association (SEAZA), and will be subject to the new welfare-based certification programme that Wild Welfare is helping to develop alongside SEAZA’s welfare and ethics committee.