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Hamilton Zoo recognised for animal welfare practices

Hamilton Zoo has been recognised for its commitment to animal welfare by a world-leading accreditation programme that assesses welfare in zoos and aquariums.

The Zoo and Aquarium Association (ZAA) recently announced Hamilton Zoo had achieved accreditation under its 2020 programme after a process that included a site assessment.

ZAA is the professional membership organisation representing zoos, aquariums, sanctuaries and wildlife parks across Australasia.

Hamilton Zoo Director Dr Baird Fleming said he was very pleased to achieve the accreditation as it reflected the importance the Zoo team placed on the wellbeing of the animals in their care.

“We come to work every day with a desire to provide the best environment possible for these animals. Achieving accreditation such as this is reinforcement that we are getting it right.”

The Accreditation 2020 Programme takes a progressive, science-based approach to animal welfare and has been designed using the Five Domains model developed by leading animal welfare scientist Professor David Mellor.

The Five Domains are nutrition, environment, health, behaviour and mental state. The 2020 Programme assesses an animal’s welfare on a range of criteria under each of these domains.

ZAA Executive Director Nicola Craddock said it was the most ambitious programme for promoting positive animal welfare of any zoos, aquariums or sanctuaries in the world.

“It requires the animal care professionals to use their unique knowledge of both the species and the individuals to asses how that particular animal is affected by its situation,” she said.

“This approach champions welfare from the animal’s perspective.”

Ms Craddock said every ZAA member must be accredited and, over the next three years, all members would be assessed under the new programme.

As an advocacy group, ZAA collectively represents the voice of the zoos, aquariums and wildlife parks across Australasia that operate to the highest standards.

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