Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA) marks the closing of its annual conference each year by celebrating the achievements of its members with it Achievement Awards.
These awards recognize outstanding accomplishments in seven distinct areas of core concern to the Association and its members: animal husbandry, education, conservation and habitat preservation, members’ contributions to long-term survival of at-risk populations, animal enrichment, and contributions of both staff and volunteers.
The Association’s most coveted award – the Thomas R. Baines – went to the Conference host, Assiniboine Park Zoo in Winnipeg, Manitoba this year. Visitors to its new 10-acre Journey to Churchill exhibit have the opportunity to make unique connections to polar bears and other Arctic and Subarctic animals, and to learn about the impact of their daily lives on these species and their ecosystem.
Since 2012, the Aldergrove, BC Greater Vancouver Zoo and its partners have been operating a head-starting program to rear and release Western Painted turtles into the wild. Those conservation efforts won the Zoo this year’s Peter Karsten award. The Zoo’s goal is to improve the turtles’ chances of survival, increase overall numbers, and create self-sustaining populations at historical and restored sites through captive breeding and head starting.
The Colonel D.G. Dailley award, which recognizes achievement in propagation and management programs in the animal collection of a CAZA member institution, went to the Vancouver Aquarium. Its team first successfully rescued a stranded harbour porpoise in 2008, and successfully returned it to the wild. This is a significant step towards developing an emergency care protocol for harbour porpoises, a species listed as “Special Concern” in Canada.
Ottawa’s Little Ray’s Reptile Zoo is this year’s recipient of the Eleanor Oakes award. Its nine mobile exhibits aim to educate visitors about the challenges facing conservation efforts and what individuals can do to help. The exhibits have been displayed in more than 50 venues in every province in Canada, and were seen by over three million visitors in 2013 alone.
The Zoo Ecomuseum’s setting for its Fisher population in Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, Quebec was built along a forested escarpment to stimulate the animal’s arboreal habits. The setting offers several enrichment elements similar to those available to the Fisher in the wild, maximizing its wellbeing and encouraging natural behaviour, which won it this year’s Animal Enrichment award.
The Zoo and Aquarium Professional award went to Richard Mireault, Senior Zoo Keeper with Parc Safari in Hemmingford, Quebec for close to 30 years. Always placing the interest of the animals in his care above his own, he has also helped with the design of enclosures, developed enrichment ideas for the animals, and built electric fences since adopted by zoos the world over.
The team of Karen Genge and Jerry Buburuz won the Volunteer of the Year Award. With Little Ray’s Reptile Zoo for close to ten years, they are always seeking new ways to enrich the lives of the many reptiles in the Zoo’s collection.
CAZA is the national voice of the zoo and aquarium community in Canada. Representing the accredited zoological parks and aquariums in Canada, its purpose is to promote the welfare of zoo and aquarium wildlife, to advance related science and conservation, and to foster public engagement in the preservation of our natural heritage.
SOURCE Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA)