By Jessica Koae
As the world changes at a fast rate, wildlife species also face global extinction on a massive scale.
About 41 per cent of all amphibian species and 26 per cent of all mammals are now threatened with extinction, according to wildlife experts.
Papua New Guinea alone faces the loss of one in eight of all bird species and the extinction rate has increased a hundred-fold over the last century, and today, over 8000 species face amnesia, says a zoo educator.
Port Moresby Nature Park has therefore acknowledged the efforts of the many committed people at zoos who care deeply about animals.
The park recently welcomed back zoo curator Brett Smith and educator Ishimu Bebe.
They attended a week-long animal conditioning training course and annual conference of the Australasian Society of Zoo Keepers (ASZK) recently.
Zoo keepers contribute so much to the wellbeing of animals.
They need to be acknowledged for their efforts in working with an incredible variety of species that are often ignored by people, says Port Moresby Nature
Park manager Michelle McGeorge.
Smith, the zoo keeper, said the conference was focused on developing techniques of engaging with animals through animal training and enabling better management of the health and mental well-being of animals.
“It was a great insight into seeing how intelligent animals really were; people often discredit the intelligence of animals,” he said.
This was the first time for Port Moresby Nature Park to attend such an event attended by zookeepers from across Australia and New Zealand.
After learning more about animal welfare and receiving more training, Smith said zookeepers were in a unique position to make a difference. They were focused on offering the very best possible nutrition, enrichment and environment for animals in their care.
He highlighted that Papua New Guinea has a lot of wildlife species that most countries in the world did not have.
Therefore, apart from the zoos, people should embrace and learn to look after these species.
He said so far, the park has been taking care of over 300 native animals by providing a number of conservation, research and breeding programmes.
Smith added that the park was the only peak zoo industry body that ensured that member zoos in the region uphold the highest standards in animal welfare and practices.
He emphasised that through the park’s excellent professional management of animal welfare, their sister zoo, Zoos Victoria in Melbourne, has been seen as a leading conservation-based zoological institute in Australia.
By Jessica Koae