Animal conservation

Sydney Zoo will support local and international conservation efforts, and educate our visitors on the importance of conservation. We will be home to a number of endangered species from all over the world, and believe in protecting these animals by giving them sanctuary and participating in breeding programs. Sydney Zoo is a member of the peak Zoological body the Zoo and Aquarium Association, and we will be active participants in ZAA-administered breeding programs for endangered animals.

At Sydney Zoo, we also understand the need to care for our natural environment. We are working to save and rehabilitate large amounts of critically endangered Cumberland Plain Woodland on-site at the Zoo, and conserve our local native flora.

Environmental initiatives

Sydney Zoo is using sustainable building materials and aims to set new benchmarks in energy and water use. We are helping to conserve our local environment through a number of initiatives.

Sydney Zoo aims to become the world’s finest energy independent Zoo through our development of a solar power network. We will be capturing and recycling storm water run-off to use in our moats and gardens areas. This will dramatically reduce the amount of drinkable water that is used. Sydney Zoo also aims to become a zero-waste space. We will compost all animal and food waste, and will use biodegradable cornstarch packaging.

Sydney Zoo also knows how important research is to improving conservation. We have partnered with Western Sydney University to develop several research projects across various fields, including energy efficiency, water management and animal welfare.

Indigenous Heritage Program

Sydney Zoo wishes to actively preserve our local Aboriginal history, and we will work closely with the local Indigenous community – the Darug People. We will be offering a unique, integrated Aboriginal and natural heritage program, called the Bungarribee Dreaming experience, with Aboriginal guides who will provide interpretation and information within the Australia Precinct.

Sydney Zoo has also committed to a 10% full time equivalent Aboriginal employment target, as we hope to include our local Aboriginal community as much as possible at the Zoo.

The Sydney Zoo Foundation

The Sydney Zoo Foundation has been established alongside Sydney Zoo to provide opportunities for community engagement and involvement in animal and environmental conservation. The Sydney Zoo Foundation will secure financial support in order to contribute to the support of animal conservation, education and research. The Foundation also aims to enable education programs that will positively impact preservation and conservation practices to benefit generations to come.

The Sydney Zoo Foundation is committed to:

  • Supporting long-term conservation and recovery programs that aim to save endangered species.
  • Contributing to the protection of the local environment and removal of invasive species.
  • Restoring the balance between nature and urban development.
  • Providing grants for animal research projects conducted by Western Sydney University.
  • Creating partnerships with conservation experts and organisations in the Greater Western Sydney Area to protect wildlife.
  • Raising awareness of the value of protecting animals and the environment within communities through education programs.
  • Inspiring community action through building connections between wildlife and people.
  • Supporting cultural awareness through Indigenous education programs.

Animal Welfare

The following animal welfare policy is a draft statement of principles. It will be refined over time as Sydney Zoo procures its animals and works with our animal welfare partners to develop specific procedures and processes for each species and habitat.

Sydney Zoo accepts the agreed international definition of animal welfare from the World Organisation for Animal Health (or OIE – Office International des Epizooties):

Animal welfare is defined by how an animal copes with the conditions in which it lives. An animal is considered to be in a good state of welfare if (as indicated by scientific evidence) it is healthy, comfortable, well nourished, safe, able to express innate behaviour and is not suffering from unpleasant states such as pain, fear or distress. Good animal welfare requires disease prevention and veterinary treatment, appropriate shelter, management, nutrition, humane handling and humane euthanasia (when euthanasia is necessary). Animal welfare refers to the state of the animal; the treatment an animal receives is covered by other terms such as animal care, animal husbandry and humane treatment.

As an educational and conservation-oriented institution with responsibility for the care of animals, Sydney Zoo will always ensure that the needs, interests and welfare of our animals is our primary consideration. Sydney Zoo believes that good animal welfare is essential to providing visitors with a rewarding and enjoyable experience and hence is essential for the long-term viability of our business.

Sydney Zoo’s commitment to animal welfare is to provide respect and the best care for our animals as well as strive to be an advocate and an authority on animal welfare.

Sydney Zoo will follow the Zoo and Aquarium Association welfare framework model which recognises the affective (psychological) states of welfare in animals. The Five Welfare Domains and examples of related positive states are:

PHYSICAL DOMAINS

  1. Nutrition: e.g. appropriate consumption of nutritious foods is a pleasurable experience
  2. Environmental: e.g. benign conditions offer adaptive choices and variety
  3. Health: e.g. physically sound (uninjured, disease-free) animals enjoy good health
  4. Behaviour: e.g. environment-focused and inter-animal activities are satisfying and engaging

MENTAL DOMAIN

  1. Mental or Affective State: e.g. animals experience comfort, pleasure, interest and confidence

Sydney Zoo’s commitment to the Five Welfare Domains

Nutrition

Animal nutrition is fully researched to deliver a naturalistic, balanced diet catered to individual needs and circumstances. The diets are assessed daily by senior animal staff to ensure that the highest quality and correct quantities of food are offered. Feeding of the animals is conducted in a way that simulates their natural hunting and foraging behaviours by randomising feeding times, food placement and size of offerings. We will maintain high standards of hygienic food and water preparation, handling and storage.

Environment

The habitat designs deliver a variety of surfaces and textures using enclosure furniture and substrates. These include changes in elevation where the animals can choose to be high on top of a hill or climbing structure, under cover low down within the habitat, or sit in or next to a water feature. We have provided environmental variety within the habitat to offer choice to the animal. All habitats will provide shelter from weather, minimise exposure to fear and distress and allow each animal an opportunity to escape aggression from other animals.

Health

Sydney Zoo will deliver a leading veterinary care program that meets current international standards for zoo and wildlife health care and which understands and adapts to individual as well as species needs. All animals at Sydney Zoo are visually assessed by senior animal care staff and veterinary staff daily. Scheduled, detailed physical assessments by our veterinary staff are performed on all animals on a regular basis. All animals at Sydney Zoo have their individual health assessed and recorded by our veterinary staff.

Behaviour

Sydney Zoo has adopted strategies and designs to encourage natural behaviours that inspire curiosity and offer challenges. Where appropriate, social animals are kept in groups to encourage natural interactions and socialisation. Habitats are designed to engage the animals and provide physical and sensory stimulation. The animal care staff assess the behaviour of each individual animal and vary their daily routines and conditioning to provide rewarding interactions and enrichment.

Mental or Affective State

Sydney Zoo’s focus is to provide a positive environment for our animals encouraging their natural instincts and behaviours, while maintaining their physical and mental health. Large enclosure sizes, companion animals and a constant variety of experiences provides the framework for achieving our goal.

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