2022 ZAA conference
Zoo and aquarium experts from across
Australasia and overseas came together recently for the 2022 ZAA Conference,
held on Wurundjeri Land at Melbourne Zoo and streamed online to the world.
The Conference was a huge success with a
packed program looking at our theme: inspiring sustainability action. Day one
saw Dr Alan Finkel give us some serious food for thought on the state of
conservation in a keynote address. Then zoos and aquariums, as well as our
sponsorship partners shared some of their incredible conservation and
environmental sustainability work. From koala genome banks to greener animal
feed to addressing climate change, we saw that ZAA-accredited zoos and
aquariums are tackling our conservation and sustainability challenges in many
Day two opened with an insightful panel on
animal welfare with perspectives from Dr Bidda Jones, Prof Alan Tilbrook and
Ian Robertson, chaired by Dr Sally Sherwen. We dived into animal welfare and
ethics with topics like public perceptions of zoos, five domains assessment of
marine animals, the use of artificial intelligence for animal welfare and
looking at human wellbeing in zoos and aquariums.
Our final day closed off strong with a
keynote address from Dr Brian Davis, who got everyone thinking about the lens
they bring to DEAI (diversity, equity, accessibility, inclusion). We heard about
the incredible work zoos and aquariums do with their local communities and how
these support the UN’s sustainable development goals. From turning a wildlife
park into a space for community art, to working with international zoos, to
LGBTQIA+ inclusion for staff and visitors, to working with First Nations
advisors via a zoo commitment to Country, it’s clear that community engagement
is a particular strength of accredited zoos and aquariums.
The ZAA Gala Dinner, held as part of the
Conference was an exciting chance for the zoo and aquarium community to finally
reconnect and network after years of zoom in the time of COVID-19. Our
community came together to raise over $45,000 for animal welfare at zoos and
aquariums in Ukraine, where the impacts of the Russian invasion continue to
be devastating for animal care.
The ZAA Team would like to thank Melbourne
Zoo for all their work as host for the 2022 ZAA Conference and we look forward
to seeing everyone in 2023!