Saturday, May 16, 2015

Zoological Association of America - 11th Annual Conference

Zoological Association of America
11th Annual Conference

11th Annual ZAA Conference

Las Vegas, Nevada

November 7-10, 2015

Registration information coming soon!

See More

Zoos and Aquariums Mobilize to Help End Extinction

AZA-accredited Zoos and Aquariums Mobilize to Help End Extinction
of the World’s Most Vulnerable Species

The accredited zoos and aquariums in your community are bringing the risk of wildlife extinction to the forefront on May 15, Endangered Species Day.

(Silver Spring, MD – May 15, 2015) The 229 zoos and aquariums accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) announced today a bold new effort focused on saving species from extinction and restoring them to healthy sized populations in the wild. SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction will deepen the already substantial science and conservation work on endangered species occurring at AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums by engaging the 180 million annual aquarium and zoo visitors and partners across the world to protect habitat, decrease threats, and restore populations to sustainable levels. 

To mark the launch of SAFE and to begin engaging the public in this important work, today, May 15, the tenth anniversary of Endangered Species Day, endangered animals at many AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums across the country will “vanish” – their exhibits closed or curtained off or otherwise marked to illustrate what is at stake if no action is taken. At each exhibit where the endangered species have “vanished,” visitors will receive information about how they can take steps to support conservation and ensure that these important species are protected for generations to come.  

“At its core, SAFE represents a new and unique opportunity to combat the extinction crisis and save vital species,” said Jim Maddy, President and CEO of AZA. “With thousands of scientists and conservationists--more than any other single conservation organization--750,000 animals in their care, and more access to the public to the tune of 180 million visitors annually, AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums are poised to make a tremendous difference.”

The leadership of the AZA-accredited zoo and aquarium community has worked intensively over the past two years, reviewing the science to identify more than 100 species that are facing serious threats. These species are critical to maintaining overall ecosystems, and zoos and aquariums have unique scientific expertise and resources to improve their conservation status. In 2015, SAFE will focus on 10 key species from that list:

·         African Penguin;
·         Asian Elephants;
·         Black rhinoceros;
·         Cheetah;
·         Gorillas;
·         Sea Turtles;
·         Vaquita;
·         Sharks and rays;
·         Western pond turtle; and
·         Whooping Crane

Every year for at least the next decade, 10 or more species will be added to SAFE based on the most current science and the availability of resources. 

For more than 100 years, AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums have been leaders in species survival and are already working to restore more than 30 species to healthy wild populations, including the American bison, the California condor, the black footed ferret and a number of aquatic species. AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums collaboratively manage more than 450 Species Survival Plan® programs, as well as are investing more than $160 million each year in field conservation work in more than 100 countries across the globe. The worsening and accelerating extinction crisis, which many scientists refer to as the “Sixth Extinction,” challenged AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums to significantly increase their efforts.

“In many cases, the science and conservation community knows what must be done to save these species and many independently managed efforts have been initiated to tackle one or more areas of focus at a time,” said Dennis Pate, AZA Board Chair and Executive Director and CEO of Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium.  “We will convene all partners working on saving the AZA SAFE species, who will collaboratively identify and prioritize the essential conservation actions needed. We will then provide the resources and mobilize our 180 million visitors to help save these species and restore them to sustainable populations in the wild.”

“For years, we have worked closely with AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums, but SAFE is really a game changer for us,” said Dr. Stephen van der Spuy, Executive Director at SANCCOB, the South African non-profit that is leading the effort to protect African penguins and other sea birds in South Africa. “By strategically focusing the work of AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums, by bringing new resources, and by engaging the millions of zoo and aquarium visitors in saving African penguins, we’re confident that SAFE can help make a real impact at saving these birds from extinction.” 

This bold, comprehensive approach is already attracting significant support. Initially, SAFE launched with a $1 million challenge grant from noted conservationists Mark and Kim Walter. Since then, the challenge has been successfully matched and their gift has continued to generate additional philanthropic interest and investment in this critical initiative.

SAFE has also drawn significant corporate support from ALEX AND ANI, FishFlops® and Frito-Lay North America. ALEX AND ANI, the Rhode Island based eco-conscious lifestyle brand, created a penguin charm as part of their award-winning CHARITY BY DESIGN® program, and it has already become a top seller, generating funds that support conservation work at AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums. In the same spirit of giving back, 17-year-old entrepreneur Madison Nicole Robinson, creator of the popular children’s line of shoes FishFlops®, is creating a special line of flip flops and slippers to benefit SAFE, with a portion of her sales going directly to SAFE conservation projects. As an AZA partner, Frito-Lay North America is rallying families’ support for SAFE with a commitment to match every dollar donated to the cause through, up to a maximum of $100,000, through June 15, 2015. In addition to matching donations made through the site, Frito-Lay will donate $1 for each social share, per person, per day, of an endangered animal fact made through the site in an effort to encourage families to spread awareness about the important cause. Donations for social shares will also count towards Frito-Lay’s maximum $100,000 donation.

"Fun is at the heart of everything we do and it’s what we hope to inspire with our variety packs of snacks,” said Ryan Matiyow, senior director of marketing, Frito-Lay. “Through our partnership with AZA, we’re able to bring families around their shared passion for animals and to support a cause that will help ensure families can experience the wonder of wildlife for generations to come.”

About AZA
Founded in 1924, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, animal welfare, education, science, and recreation. AZA is the accrediting body for the top zoos and aquariums in the United States and seven other countries. Look for the AZA accreditation logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you, and a better future for all living things. The AZA is a leader in saving species and your link to helping animals all over the world. To learn more, visit

About SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction
SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction combines the power of zoo and aquarium visitors with the resources and collective expertise of AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums and partners to save animals from extinction. Together we are working on saving the most vulnerable wildlife species from extinction and protecting them for future generations. To learn more, visit

Friday, May 15, 2015

3rd International Animal Training Conference

3rd International Animal Training Conference
12th – 16th June 2016!

Animal Training – The Journey

After the fantastic success of the second International Animal Training Conference we are very proud to announce we will once again be running this event!

Entitled “Animal Training – The Journey”, the conference will focus on the hows, ifs and whys of animal training, showing both the trainers’ and animals’ journeys from concept to conclusion. Whilst we’re all very proud of showing off the finished results of our training sometimes the most interesting and exciting part of the process is how we got there. The conference will delve into this area looking at the entire process rather than just the final result.

You may have also noticed that the event is now over four days, please check back soon for more details and see our exciting plans unravel as we continue to plan for this exciting 3rd International Animal Training Conference.

Just as before all animal training related fields are welcome, from exotics to guide dogs, killer whales to snails – please come and share your animal training journey with us.

Keep checking back on our web site for further information or please email so we can keep you up to date with all our exciting developments.


It is brilliant to already be able to announce that we have secured our keynote speaker, none other than Ken Ramirez. A 35+ year veteran of animal care and training, Ken has worked across the world as a trainer, biologist, behaviourist and consultant as well as hosting the successful TV show ‘Talk to the Animals’.


We are very happy to announce that, Steve Martin of Natural Encounters Inc. will be hosting a pre conference workshop on the 12th June 2016. This workshop will be a one day event at an additional price of £75 if you register for the 3rd International Animal Training Conference.
More details and content of the workshop will be announced shortly, so make sure you keep checking this webpage for further details.


We are pleased to announce that the registration for this amazing conference is now active and as always we have an early bird rate of £170 if you book before the 1st September 2015.

Please take a look at our webpage for more information and links to the registration form.

Do you want to attend? Even better, do you want to present?  Start thinking now about your travel plans, and we hope to see all of you in 2016!

IATC3 Committee
Kris, Zak, Hannah, Annie, Viki and Amy

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Moon bears safe on dry land after remote island rescue

Moon bears safe on dry land after remote island rescue

Moon bears Sam and Simon arrived back on Vietnam’s mainland today after four years on Vietnam’s remote Ba Mun island – just north of iconic tourist spot Halong Bay.
The rescue was described by Animals Asia as the most difficult they would ever perform – and was almost called off in the early hours of the morning when a storm engulfed the Bai Tu Long archipelago where Ba Mun is situated.
The port authorities allowed the rescue to continue after skies cleared at around 9am.
Animals Asia’s Vietnam Director Tuan Bendixsen said:
“Logistically, there was no room for leeway as we were at the mercy of both the weather and the tides. Fortunately the skies cleared in time for us to make it out to the island but the delay meant a race against time to get away before the tide went out.”
After two hours at sea a rescue team, including two veterinarians and a vet nurse, arrived at Ba Mun and began health checks on the moon bears.

In addition to the dangerous conditions, the rescue was made more precarious due to the ill health of male bear Simon.
Having spent his entire life in a cage, Simon was suffering from a litany of issues. His movement was severely restricted, he had open wounds on his back, scarring on his head, damaged feet and potential eye problems.
Animals Asia founder and CEO, Jill Robinson MBE said:
“My heart broke when I saw the awful condition of these two bears. Simon is a bear you can’t help but fall in love with, but his condition is just pitiful. He can barely stand and his teeth were literally falling out of his head. He’s a broken bear that we have to get back to the sanctuary as quickly as possible. There are no guarantees for an animal in his condition.”
With Simon’s survival foremost in mind, the team opted to carefully set a lower anaesthetic dose for a quick health check before loading the bear onto the waiting fishing barge.
In contrast to Simon’s lethargy, female bear Sam was alert and agitated. Vets discovered her to be suffering from painful arthritis which will be an ongoing issue for her carers.
Animals Asia Senior Veterinarian Joost Philippa said:
“Sedating large animals without the safety of sanctuary equipment is never straightforward which is why safety concerns caused us to conduct the health checks as quickly as possible.
“Despite the speed, we were able to find out quite a lot about the conditions of both bears. Sam’s arthritis is something that may be causing significant pain which we can stop with medication. We quickly removed Simon’s worst teeth which were very loose, which will be more comfortable for him, but his conditions are numerous so we’ll be relieved once he’s safely back at the sanctuary.”
Fair weather allowed the team to make it back to Halong Bay before nightfall where a crane winched the bears and their cages off the boat and onto a waiting truck.
The team will spend Tuesday night in Halong City and expect to arrive back at Animals Asia’s Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre late afternoon Wednesday.
The rescue of Sam and Simon – nicknamed in memory of Animals Asia supporter Sam Simon who died of cancer earlier this year – marks the first rescue to follow Animals Asia’s successful campaign to Save the Halong Bay Bears.
Animals Asia expect to complete the rescue of the remaining 36 captive moon bears in Quang Ninh – making the province bear bile free - by the end of June.

For further information please contact:
Maya Gottfried
Senior PR Manager, Animals Asia
+1 (347) 885-9051

Steve Jackson
Head of Communications, Animals Asia
+ (84) 0169 661 4958

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Al Ain Zoo Photography Competition

Al Ain Zoo’s annual Photography and Videography Competition is back
- The 2015 competition returns with new categories and valuable prizes, encouraging enthusiasts to take their best shots of wildlife and nature

Al Ain, United Arab Emirates, 21 April, 2015: Al Ain Zoo’s annual photography and videography competition has kicked off, challenging young enthusiasts to take their best shots and videos of Arid Land Wildlife and their zoo experience until the end of May.
With a focus on capturing behaviour and the improvements in camera phone technology, anyone can enter the competition without the need for expensive equipment. Through exciting new categories, budding, amateur and professional photographers and videographers have the opportunity to showcase their creativity. Six categories form this year’s main ‘Zoography’ photo competition including ‘At Play’, ‘Snackattack!’, ‘At Rest’, ‘Friendship’, ‘Poser’, and the zoo’s answer to Selfies – ‘Zoofies’!

Commenting on the new additions, Muna Al Dhaheri, the Chief of Conservation and Education at Al Ain Zoo, said:

Educating all our visitors, and especially the younger generation about animals and ensuring that wildlife and nature is a source of inspiration for them is a core commitment of Al Ain Zoo. This year, new categories were added to the competition, which gives us a great opportunity to further communicate our conservation efforts, and reward those who help us put these efforts in a picture. The launch of the new Photographer of the Year awards will help further establish Al Ain Zoo’s leading role in the topic of Arid Land Wildlife, bringing to life the beauty we need to conserve, and the challenges such life faces in today’s world.”

The response to last year’s competition was great, and with the addition of new categories and exciting prizes this year, the continued and valued support of Grand Stores and Nikon, we are confident that participants will surprise us with even more creative entries,” she added.

New for 2015, the zoo starts its hunt to find the ‘Arid Land Wildlife Photographer of the Year’ and ‘Junior Arid Land Wildlife Photographer of the Year’. The two dedicated awards are open to anyone in the world and participants are required to submit photos of arid land species either in the wild, at the zoo, interacting with their natural habitats, or trying to adapt to the changing world.

The zoo also launched ‘My Day at Al Ain Zoo Video Competition’, which coincides with the 10th anniversary of the first ever YouTube video called “My Day at The Zoo” filmed at San Diego Zoo, one of Al Ain Zoo’s strategic partners. This category invites budding videographers to film their journey and best moments at the zoo.

A welcome return for 2015 is the sponsorship of Grand Stores and Nikon Camera’s, donating a range of high-tech camera equipment, animal photo workshops and participating in the judging panel to decide the winners. The winning entries will be exhibited in the Sheikh Zayed Desert Learning Centre, due to open later this year, and also featured in the zoo’s 2016 calendar. The winners will be announced on 30 September, 2015.

About the Competition Categories:
At Play - Animals enjoy their lives at Al Ain Zoo and whether it’s pulling funny faces or pulling pranks on one another, they brighten both their day and the zoo’s with their antics. Look out for when the zoo adds ‘enrichment’ activities to brighten their day.

Snackattack Feeding time is most animal’s favourite time of the day, from a Crocodile’s snappy snacking to Lady the Gorilla foraging out her favourite seeds.
At Rest Arid Lands are hot places and most of our animals are highly acclimatized to the weather. From digging a shallow hollow to lay in, to a flick of the tail animals take it easy and rest in the heat of day to keep themselves cool. Being in Al Ain, the green heart of the UAE, many animals enjoy the shade of the abundant plant life in the zoo.
Friendship As we have 4,000 animals, most of our 197 species are not alone. Look out especially for baby animals making friends or sharing family moments. One of 2014’s winners celebrated the intimacy of Chimpanzees, and you can spot other more unusual friendships in the zoo in our mixed animal exhibits – or snap a close encounter in the children’s petting zoo.
Poser – Humans aren’t the only ones to strut their stuff. From the birds on display in our bird and parrot shows, to the prowl of a leopard the zoo has plenty of attention seekers. From displays of plumage to flexing of muscles, in the animal kingdom survival of the fittest is often survival of the most fabulous.
Selfie – We all know you love a selfie. Put those reverse camera phones on, get out your selfie sticks, set your timers to get back in the picture and share online to your heart’s galore – all with your favourite animals in the background. Just remember to not be too enthusiastic and try to get too close - where we have fences it’s for a reason!For more information on the terms and conditions for each category, kindly visit

Al Ain Zoo is open daily from 9am to 8pm until 31st May, 2015. Summer Night Zoo operating hours will begin 1st June, 2015, opening daily from 4pm to 10pm.

For images or more information, please contact:
Tarek Ali
Communications Officer
Al Ain Zoo
Mobile: 052 6058861
Direct: 03 7992235

For more information on Al Ain Zoo please visit  
You can also follow Al Ain Zoo on

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Conservation Breeding and Husbandry of Callitrichids

Conservation Breeding and Husbandry of Callitrichids

Conservation Breeding and Husbandry of Callitrichids is a four day intensive course designed to equip participants with the necessary skills to successfully manage and breed primates, particularly callitrichids in captivity.

Who is it for?

The course is targeted at curators, keepers and veterinarians from zoos and other institutions (e.g. universities) involved in the captive management of primates

What is the course content?

The course will cover the following topics:
  • Planning your captive collection: making the link to the wild.
  • Enclosure design, stress management and nutrition.
  • Past, present and future for callitrichid conservation and the role of zoos.

Learn more

Avian Egg Incubation Workshop

Avian Egg Incubation Workshop

The Avian egg incubation workshop is a five day practical workshop designed to give participants the skills required to successfully incubate bird eggs and deal with problems that could arise.

What is the course content?

The workshop will cover the following:
  • Embryo and membrane development
  • Factors affecting hatchability before and during incubation
  • Hatchery management techniques
  • Artificial incubation and its role in field conservation programmes
Learn more