In many parts of the world, October means the start of cooler weather and fall celebrations. For the staff of the Detroit Zoo’s Center for Zoo Animal Welfare, it also means the arrival of participants in our annual workshop, “From Good Care to Great Welfare”. This year marks the fifth time we have held the workshop and this time around, we are joined by animal care professionals from the U.S., Montreal, Guatemala and Singapore.
We are spending five days discussing what animal welfare is, and how to assess and improve it in zoos. The central theme of better understanding how animals in zoos and aquariums experience the world is woven through the lectures, activities and projects.
This message is key, as providing animals with what they need to thrive is dependent on each individual’s perception of their environment, both social and physical. We must create an awareness of the sensory abilities of other species, how environmental factors impact them, and the responsibility we all have to ensuring positive animal welfare.
The workshop is an exciting time for all of us, as we get to know people from around the globe committed to advancing animal welfare and as a result, enhance our own ability to impact the wellbeing of animals living in zoos and aquariums.
– Dr. Stephanie Allard is the director of animal welfare for the Detroit Zoological Society and oversees the Center for Zoo Animal Welfare.