Zoo experts from 18 countries unite to work towards
sustainable captive population of Southeast Asian species

SINGAPORE, 2 November 2015 – Over 200 specialists from the region’s zoos and wildlife institutions have come together this week for the 23rd South East Asian Zoos Association (SEAZA) conference to achieve a common goal of a sustainable captive population of Southeast Asian species. Hosted by Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS), the four-day conference was officiated this morning by Mr S Dhanabalan, Chairman, Mandai Safari Park Holdings Pte Ltd, the holding company of WRS.

Held from 1 to 4 November, the conference calls for a coordinated approach in animal management to ensure desirable outcomes for species requiring conservation attention. It brings together over 200 zoo professionals from 18 countries including Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. Experts will discuss conservation action plans for sustainable populations, breeding strategies, best practices in healthcare, animal welfare and ethics as well as conservation efforts for threatened species.

Dr Phan Viet Lam, President of SEAZA, said: “This conference is another milestone for SEAZA in the conservation and management of sustainable populations in Southeast Asia. Zoos in this region have an important role in this context and we hope to develop strategic action plans for species conservation and visitor education.”

Dr Cheng Wen-Haur, Chief Life Sciences Officer, WRS and Vice President of SEAZA said: “The annual SEAZA conference is a significant event in the calendar for zoos in our region and we are proud to be the host this year. It brings together zoo and aquarium professionals from Southeast Asia and beyond to share best practices and ideas in achieving our common missions of wildlife conservation and education.”

One of the primary objectives of the conference is to identify key Southeast Asian species for conservation and regional studbook development—a first in the region. The studbook tracks the relatedness of animals in zoo collections and allow managers to coordinate and regulate breeding programmes to achieve long-term genetic and demographic sustainability.

In addition, delegates will share findings and experiences, such as acupuncture in birds and avian surrogacy in hatchlings from WRS’ aviculturists. The conference will be complemented by workshops in Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari and Singapore Zoo, where delegates will go behind the scenes for practical hands-on sessions to learn more about the incubation of bird eggs and creating a master plan for conservation education.

In recent years, WRS has organised various conferences and workshops for capacity building and conservation strategy planning, such as the International Congress on Zookeeping and the recent Songbird Crisis Summit.