The term ‘animal welfare’ can mean different things to different people.
Animal welfare, as a term, covers a range of states that an animal can find itself in. It is generally agreed that animal welfare is a continuum and refers to a state within an individual animal which reflects the sum of its sensations and emotions at a given point in time. Animal welfare can therefore be great, good, satisfactory, poor or extremely poor. An individual animal can have poor welfare in some aspect of its life and great welfare in another aspect of its life.
The wild nature of the animals in our care compels us to provide an environment and experiences that the animal’s biology has evolved to expect and to cope with. We understand that zoos cannot truly replicate the wild but, as far as possible, we can reproduce the animal’s natural environment and take into consideration the animal’s behavioural and physiological needs.
Life in a zoo, like life in the wild, places some restrictions on animals, regardless of how good the facilities and care. However, many animals in the wild have their movements restricted by territorial boundaries, and their ‘freedom’ is radically restricted by the daily battle to survive. Wild animals do not make long journeys for pleasure, but to fulfil the daily needs for food, water, shelter and opportunities to mate.
The animals in Taronga’s populations are cared for to a standard at least comparable to but in most cases far exceeding the conditions their wild counterparts would experience. The greatest repository of understanding of wild animals lies within the province of good zoos such as Taronga.
As a leader in animal welfare we provide dignity and respect and the best care for our animals.