Greetings from Australia!
I’m writing this from the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) meeting in Melbourne, Australia. I’m fortunate to be one of three North American representatives on the WAZA Council, bringing together zoos from around the world to discuss key issues about animal care and conservation.
Beyond regular board topics like budget, membership and strategic initiatives, the council is discussing some big issues in Melbourne. One focus is how to improve animal welfare in the world's zoos. Another is promoting species conservation through Global Species Management Plans (GSMPs). GSMPs look to guide zoos across the globe in working together to successfully manage species toward conservation, much like Species Survival Plans® do in North American zoos.
As we explore these possibilities, I’m happy to have the expertise of Sarah Long on hand. As director of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Population Management Center, which is housed at Lincoln Park Zoo, Sarah guides zoos across North America in making the best decisions to ensure sustainable animal populations. She’s doing the same globally by serving on the WAZA Committee on Population Management.
The general sessions following the WAZA Council meeting have featured some insightful presentations on conservation programs around the world, both at zoos and in the wild. They’ve also given my body a chance to adjust to Australian time—just in time for me to head home to Lincoln Park Zoo again!