According to the National Geographic, a zoo is a place for captive animals to be viewed by people. This changed overtime after the 18th century when scientists decided to educate the public about animals, with conservation becoming top priority.

However, whether a zoo captures wildlife or conserves it remains a sensitive topic.

The Philippine Zoos and Aquariums Association, Inc. (PHILZOOS, Inc.) held a general assembly at Ark Avilon Zoo in Pasig City to discuss how they could change people’s perception of zoos .

“Despite . . . efforts to [observe] best practices on zoological institution management, zoos are still generally seen as ‘nagkukulong ng wildlife (holding wildlife captive),’” said Dr. Bernard Baysic of the Philippine Veterinary Medicine Association.

PHILZOOS President Jake Gaw discussed the proposed projects to update zoos on local and international laws and practices, in cooperation with governing bodies.

Proposed Projects

A two-day seminar in November was scheduled, following the 26th South East Asian Zoos Association (SEAZA) Conference in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Workshops for zoo directors and employees were built around discussions, led by invited speakers from government agencies, on the Wildlife Act, Animal Welfare Act, international zoo accreditation, animal welfare, and ethics in zoos. Through these, the administration hoped to improve zoo standards and practices.

The organization also scheduled a set of workshops for this year, focusing on animal welfare and ex-situ (off-site) conservation. “[This] would hopefully translate to improved welfare conditions of animals in PHILZOOS member institutions,” according to the organization’s statement.

This appeared in Animal Scene magazine’s January 2019 issue.