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Taronga Zoo has become one of the first organisations in Australasia to be accredited under a rigorous new animal welfare program launched by the Zoo and Aquarium Association (ZAA).

Taronga is one of nine zoos and wildlife parks to successfully achieve accreditation this month for delivering positive animal welfare outcomes after being assessed by ZAA’s Accreditation Program.

A world-first for the zoo industry, the new program has raised the bar for animal welfare standards with its emphasis on positive welfare outcomes.

“The Accreditation Program is creating a new standard for animal welfare. Being accredited means our members can be proud of providing our animals with the best possible care,” said ZAA Executive Director, Chris Hibbard.

Rather than simply making sure animals are not experiencing negative welfare states, the new program goes further to focus on delivering positive welfare outcomes.

The accreditation process considers a range of animal welfare domains, including nutrition, environment, health and behavior. This new standard was developed from the Animal Welfare Position Statement released by ZAA in early 2013.

Taronga Zoo Director, Cameron Kerr said the Zoo was pleased to be among the first to successfully achieve accreditation.

“Taronga takes pride in being a leader in delivering positive welfare outcomes for the remarkable animals in our care, so this accreditation is great recognition for the hard work of our entire team, including keepers, veterinary staff, scientists and nutritionists,” said Cameron.

“This accreditation means the wider community can be certain that Taronga is providing the best level of care for our animals. We believe that good animal welfare is essential and will also assist us to achieve our wildlife conservation goals.”

ZAA member institutions will be assessed every three years, with accreditation based on a principle of ongoing development and better practice.

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