National Zoo and Aquarium Association meets NB Exotic Animal Task Force

Members of the national board of directors of Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA) met with the New Brunswick Exotic Animal Trask Force today in Moncton to push for a full review of the policies, laws and regulations that govern the keeping of exotic animals licensing of zoos and aquariums in the province.

Chaired by Magnetic Hill Zoo director Bruce Dougan, the Exotic Animal Task Force was announced last July by the Alward government in response to the tragic death last year of two Campbellton boys who were asphyxiated by an African Rock Python while at a sleepover.

“We were pleased to have the opportunity to meet with the Task Force and offer our assistance and support,” said CAZA Executive Director, Massimo Bergamini. “The Task Force has an opportunity to lead the way for the rest of Canada in developing a modern and comprehensive approach to with the issues arising from the keeping of exotic animals.”

The CAZA board is meeting in Moncton in conjunction with their Annual Conference hosted this year by the Moncton Magnetic Hill Zoo.

CAZA had been pushing for the creation of a task force on this issue since last year when it first secured the support of the region’s mayors in October.

“This is an issue with public safety, animal welfare, environmental and economic consequences. It will be important for the task force to view its mandate with a wide-angle lens to ensure that every aspect of this complex issue is addressed,” said Bergamini.

CAZA has been advocating for a licensing system similar to that in place in British Columbia and which requires facilities that want to exhibit exotic animals to be licensed by the organization.

British Columbia put its licensing system in place in 2009 following the death of a young woman mauled by a tiger at a roadside zoo.

CAZA encouraged the Task Force to consult officials from other provincial governments to learn from their successes and failures.

SOURCE Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA)

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