ZAA wishes to thank Wellington Zoo CEO, Karen Fifield for almost 20 years of service on the ZAA Board, an incredible contribution to the Association. As she steps down, we take this opportunity to look back on some of her contributions and highlights whilst on the Board.
She originally joined the Board because the very active Education SAG at the time felt that having an education/learning/engagement perspective at the table would be valuable. The SAG felt that engaging visitors with conservation messages and actions was an imperative for members and should be represented.
A highlight for Karen was when the Education SAG developed the first Education Policy for the region, launched in Adelaide in 2003.
Another key moment, during her time as ZAA President, was when ZAA developed and began the rollout of the Animal Welfare Accreditation Program for members. To this day the Accreditation Program is key to the Association.
“I felt strongly, and still do, that animal welfare and best care for the animals in our zoos and aquariums is our paramount responsibility. I am very proud of the Accreditation Program because of its base in current animal welfare science and the fact that we have been able to use our current data to continually improve our approaches to animal welfare as progressive zoos and aquariums,” said Karen.
ZAA also wishes to thank Amanda Embury, Project Manager 20-Year Species Plan at Zoos Victoria, for almost 10 years of service on the ZAA Board. Amanda joined the ZAA Board in 2009 as the Chair of the ASMP Committee (now the AMC Committee).
For Amanda, one of the highlights has been the ongoing evolution of the ASMP Programs and the strategic directions taken, including analysis of ASMP programs – having clear goals, measures of success and considering likely resource implications.
“We shifted decision-making for ASMP programs to Directors/Chief Executives, ensuring leaders in member organisations were engaged and able to provide institutional support,” she said.
In addition to ASMP Programs applying principles of population management (i.e. genetics and demographics), they’re now ensuring that the approach to species management aligns with species biology and supports sound animal welfare outcomes. This adds a further dimension to ASMP programs, and by achieving this goal they’ve seen increased breeding success and other positive outcomes.