Wild animals have been kept in captivity for thousands of years and there is still a wide quality gap between the top and the second grade zoos in Europe. EAZA’s policy is not to ignore this; the association has created a Candidate for Membership category for substandard zoos (in Eastern Europe) providing a framework through which they can be supported by the EAZA Technical Assistance Committee.
EAZA is prepared to assist zoos that are committed to improving their standards of animal welfare and zoo management, and that are willing to become modern zoos adhering to the vision set out in the World Zoo and Aquarium Conservation Strategy. Our ultimate goal is to bring more zoos and aquariums into the EAZA network, but only if they can demonstrate a commitment to improving their standards in all areas.
The Technical Assistance Committee (previously known as Technical Assistance & Animal Welfare) encourages sharing of knowledge between zoos and provides practical support and advice for improvements in areas such as animal welfare, enclosure design, visitor services, education, veterinary medicine and conservation. Applying political pressure on relevant political authorities to encourage change or to provide additional budget and support is another way in which the committee helps zoos.
Technical Assistance Committee
The committee consists of experienced zoo staff working in EAZA member institutions, with support and coordination provided by the EAZA Executive Office. It draws on a wide range of experts such as managers, veterinarians, curators and educators to cover all zoo-related fields. The current chairman is Mark Challis of Belfast Zoological Gardens in Northern Ireland.
Foundations and individuals who are interested in working to improve standards at progressive, but sub-standard zoos in Eastern Europe may wish to consider providing financial support for the work of the EAZA Technical Assistance Committee. Please contact Sofieke Bouwman at the EAZA Executive Office to discuss the possibilities.
Download the new technical assistance manual here: 'The Modern Zoo: foundations for Management and Development'. The manual describes all aspects involved in managing a zoological institution and is intended for use by all staff working in zoos and aquaria.