National Zoological Gardens of South Africa

National Zoological Gardens of South Africa reports that animal welfare has succeeded in zoos! #AnimaltalkNews

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18 January 2015

Animal welfare management and ensuring the health and wellness of animals in the care of zoos is a top priority in any ex situ environment. With this in mind, the NZG is hosting the 1st Animal Welfare Workshop with the theme “An evidence-based approached to animal management: animal behaviour, welfare and management”. The workshop is held from 19-21 January 2015.

The workshop is facilitated by Lance Miller Ph.D, the Senior Director of Animal Welfare Research for the Chicago Zoological Society – Brookfield Zoo is a very prominent expert in the fields of animal behaviour and animal welfare. Dr Miller also serves as Vice Chair to the Animal Welfare Committee and a member of the Research and Technology Committee of the American Zoo Association (AZA) and serves on the Steering Committee of the Behavioural Scientific Advisory Group (AZA).

The aim of the workshop is to introduce participants to the scientific methods of collecting behavioural data, metrics surrounding the welfare of animal collections and the application of techniques that are considered best practice.

Dr Miller says the notion of animal welfare management is to know the individual natural needs of the animals in question and to objectively obtain data in order to make informed and accurate decisions pertaining to welfare. “Zoos are very good at doing this and many can be credited with excellent work in this field. Some zoos leading these programmes worldwide include the Brookfield Zoo and the San Diego Zoo, to name but a few”.

The workshop consists of lectures, interactive case studies and hands-on experience in the collection of behavioural data that will ultimately lead to the development of skills in order to maintain an evidence-based programme at a zoo.

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