Australia is home to diverse wildlife species, from the iconic kangaroo and koala to lesser-known animals like the quokka and numbat. With such a rich variety of fauna, it is important to ensure these animals are protected and conserved for future generations. One way Australia works towards this goal is through wildlife accreditation programs, which help to ensure that Australian native wildlife species are kept in a safe and appropriate environment.
Wildlife accreditation programs in Australia aim to regulate the care and management of captive wildlife, ensuring that they are provided with appropriate shelter, food, and medical care. These programs are typically run by government agencies or non-profit organisations, and they work to establish a set of standards that must be met by individuals or organisations that house or display wildlife.
One of the most well-known wildlife accreditation programs in Australia is the Zoo and Aquarium Association (ZAA) Accreditation Program. The ZAA is a non-profit organisation representing over 100 zoos, aquariums, and wildlife parks across Australia and New Zealand. Its accreditation program is designed to ensure that these institutions are meeting a high standard of animal care, conservation, and education.
To be accredited by the ZAA, institutions must meet a set of criteria that cover a wide range of areas, including animal welfare, conservation, visitor safety, and education. Some specific requirements must be met, including providing adequate space and environmental enrichment for animals, implementing appropriate veterinary care programs, and participating in conservation programs and research projects.
The ZAA also requires accredited institutions to maintain a high level of transparency, providing regular reports and updates on animal care and management to the public. This helps to ensure that visitors are aware of the conditions in which animals are being kept and can make informed decisions about where they choose to visit.
Another important wildlife accreditation program in Australia is the Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC) Sanctuaries Accreditation Program. The AWC is a non-profit organisation that owns and manages a network of sanctuaries across Australia, with the aim of conserving and restoring native wildlife and their habitats.
The AWC’s accreditation program is designed to ensure that these sanctuaries are being managed in a way that is consistent with the organization’s conservation goals. To achieve accreditation, sanctuaries must meet standards that cover a range of areas, including habitat management, predator control, and wildlife monitoring and research.
In addition to the ZAA and AWC accreditation programs, there are also several other accreditation programs in Australia that focus on specific areas of animal care and management. For example, the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is an international organization that works to promote sustainable fishing practices, and it offers accreditation to fisheries that meet its standards.
Similarly, the RSPCA Australia Approved Farming Scheme is an accreditation program that focuses on the welfare of farm animals. Farms accredited under this program must meet standards that cover areas such as housing, food and water, and medical care.
The Bird Advocacy Foundation has an important accreditation program called the Green Wings Ethical Bird Treatment Accreditation. The Green Wing’s accreditation program recognises businesses that choose operational practices (both for their primary business and supply chain) that consider the humane and ethical treatment of birds. Businesses awarded the Green Wings accreditation have an environmental management system that considers the operational impact of birds and the greater environment.
The Bird Advocacy Foundation uses the Green Wings bird wildlife accreditation program to harness all like-minded people and organisations to support the conservation of our bird wildlife species and the regeneration of natural habitats.
Overall, wildlife and environmental accreditation programs play an essential role in ensuring that animals in our natural ecosystems in Australia are being cared for safely and appropriately. By establishing a set of standards that must be met by individuals and organisations that house or display animals, these programs help to promote animal welfare, conservation, and education.
However, it is important to note that having both wildlife or environmental accreditations in Australia are not a guarantee of excellent animal or environmental care. While accredited institutions are required to meet a set of standards, there is always the possibility of human error or unforeseen circumstances that can impact the welfare of animals. For this reason, it is important for visitors to be aware of the conditions in which animals are being kept and to report any concerns they may have to the appropriate authorities.