2006 has been a milestone year for the World Owl Trust. Following a rigorous inspection and interview by a Dutch and British screening team, the World Owl Trust achieved full membership of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA).
EAZA represents and links European zoos and aquaria in order to maintain or increase their standards. Members are dedicated to providing their 125,000,000 visitors with rewarding experiences and their animals with optimal care. EAZA zoos and aquaria play a vital role in conservation by promoting an increase in public and political awareness of the necessity for conservation and by actively participating in managed breeding programmes.
The size of EAZA and the complexity of the issues involved necessitates many committees, sub-committees, focus and working groups. These deal with such issues as managed breeding programmes and studbooks, animal welfare, conservation, nutrition, research, veterinary care, animal transport, education, enclosure design, zoo horticulture, legislation, membership & ethics and support & assistance to the zoos of Central and Eastern Europe.
Every autumn, EAZA organises an annual conference and AGM. This year it was hosted by Zoo Aquarium de Madrid, Spain and I attended, representing the World Owl Trust. I have attended many meetings and conferences over the years and know quite a large proportion of the 600 delegates. A full and busy four day schedule included plenary sessions, focus group meetings, workshops and private discussions with United Kingdom and European colleagues.
As well as caring for animals “ex situ”, members are involved in much “in situ” conservation throughout the world and encompassing mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and invertebrates together with their habitats. Particularly interesting was a report of the rescue and rehabilitation of adjutant stork chicks using the information and practical techniques learnt in member zoos and working with local people. Another session reported on a conservation programme for tamarins. The plenary session concerned with “The global amphibian extinction crisis” was thought provoking to say the least. It drew serious attention to the plight of amphibians worldwide which are threatened with extinction caused by a rapidly spreading fungal disease. EAZA zoos are working hard to create and manage healthy captive colonies for eventual release should the disease be contained or treatable in the future. This is a massive task and is an example of how zoos can work together as arks to insure against extinction.
The World Owl Trust has always worked closely with other wildlife collections and we look forward to further extending our area of involvement and influence. We have already been invited to join in the work of the EAZA owl advisory group and will actively participate in any activities which enhance conservation and animal welfare.
Each year, a campaign is supported by members of EAZA and their visitors. Last year’s campaign, focussed on rhino conservation, raised more than €500,000. This year’s campaign, focussing on conservation in Madagascar, aims to raise even more.David Armitage
|World Owl Trust
Registered Charity Number: 1107529
Limited Company Number: 5296745
The World Owl Trust is a member of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) and the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums (EAZA). The Trust relies on a dedicated membership, visitors, donations and legacies.