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 create an environment inspired by nature that provides for 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. Many animals in the wild also have their movements restricted by territorial boundaries, and their ‘freedom’ is radically restricted by the daily battle to survive. Taronga’s wildlife experiences are evolving to maximise choice for animals in our care, for example, through providing complexity in animal spaces, including areas to retreat to, choice to participate in training and conditioning programs and animal led encounters.
Taronga promotes positive animal welfare for all animals in our care through a veterinary health care program, diets prepared by our zoo nutritionist, enrichment determined by our behavioural scientists, animal care provided by qualified zoo keepers and carefully designed animal spaces. All these combined ensure that the sum of an animal’s experiences is a positive one. There is great value in the repository of understanding of wild animals that 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.