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Al Ain Zoo Joins The European Association Of Zoos And Aquaria (EAZA)

Zoo becomes a member after a comprehensive review of animal care and its leading role in the conservation of endangered species

Al Ain Zoo has been accepted as a member of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA), a position that reflects the zoo’s success in meeting the highest international standards of animal care and being a major contributor to wildlife conservation. The decision was announced after representatives from EAZA conducted a series of inspections in all areas of the Zoo’s operation including animal health, animal welfare, safety and exhibit design. Al Ain Zoo’s efforts regarding education, research, conservation and enhancing the visitor experience were also reviewed as part of the decision making process.

The European Association of Zoos and Aquaria, established in 1992, currently has 345 institutional members in 41 countries. Its mission is to facilitate cooperation within the European zoo and aquarium community in order to reach goals related to education, research and conservation. EAZA is also committed to ensuring that its members achieve and maintain the highest standards of care and breeding for species.

Commenting on this achievement, Mr. Ghanim Al Hajeri, Director General of Al Ain Zoo, said
“Al Ain Zoo’s membership of EAZA further reflects the ongoing success of the zoo towards becoming a local and regional leader in areas of awareness and wildlife conservation. Being a member of EAZA will provide both parties with opportunities to exchange knowledge and adapt best practices related to the conservation of endangered species and the education of our community to better protect the animals in our region.”

“Al Ain Zoo has significantly transformed over a period of four decades to become an integrated centre that raises awareness, educates and conserves endangered species. In addition Al Ain Zoo has achieved a quantum leap in the level of services and infrastructure and forms a unique addition to the new project on the local and regional level”, Ghanim added “new partnerships opportunities such as the ones EAZA presents will further encourage innovation at our facility related to animal welfare and habitat protection.”

The evaluation process associated with EAZA membership lasted approximately two years and included regular meetings, site visits and a comprehensive review of procedures within the zoo. The evaluation also involved a review of the zoo’s sustainability plans in addition to internal policies and procedures, animal records and employment policies. The EAZA team also conducted a series of interviews with employees from various levels and reviewed animal experiences offered by the zoo such as giraffe feeding and the bird show.

Al Ain Zoo is a home to a diverse collection of almost 4,000 animals and is also active in efforts to prevent the extinction of many of these same animals. Locally, in partnership with the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, the zoo has re-introduced zoo-born Arabian Oryx back into the wild, and has developed a research and conservation project for the Arabian sand cat, and breeding programs for the Addax.

On a wider scale, Al Ain Zoo has led the establishment of the Arabian Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZAA), an initiative that joins regional zoos together to preserve native species and to work together on long-term conservation projects. Al Ain Zoo is also committed to wildlife preservation and is part of numerous partnerships and programs – both in the UAE and overseas.

Al Ain Zoo is also a member of the World Association for Zoo and Aquaria (WAZA) and is actively involved in several internationally coordinated conservation projects, working with other like-minded organisations such as Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, the Species Survival Commission, San Diego Zoo, the Northern Rangelands Trust of Kenya and the Sahara Conservation Fund, to conserve and re-introduce threatened arid land species such as Arabian Oryx and Scimitar-horned Oryx to their natural habitat.

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