This year’s annual conference of the World Association of Zoos and Aquatic Zoos (WAZA) from 12 to 15 October was a great success for modern zoos as well as for nature, species, environmental and animal protection, although for the first time it could only take place virtually due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
For the second time within a few days, the growing social importance of modern zoos was confirmed. Only at the beginning of the month the IUCN, the world’s most important conservation organisation, had highlighted the importance of modern zoos and dolphinariums for the rescue of highly endangered marine mammals in its report “Ex Situ Options for Cetacean Conservation”.
A few days later, participants from major external organisations at the WAZA conference, including the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Washington Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), emphasised that modern zoos are becoming increasingly important due to their great expertise and commitment to nature and animal protection, environmental education and research relevant to nature conservation, especially in the time of the climate crisis and the sixth global mass extinction.
Decarbonisation, deforestation and reforestation as well as the “Reverse the Red” initiative supported by WAZA and, last but not least, Loro Parque to reverse the negative trend of species extinction were important topics of this year’s WAZA conference with more than 700 participants from 48 countries and regions.
Loro Parque and Loro Parque Fundación congratulate the WAZA team headed by President Prof. Theo Pagel (Cologne Zoo) and CEO Dr Martín Zordan on hosting this successful conference. And of course, we congratulate Leipzig’s Zoo Director Prof. Jörg Junhold on receiving the Heini Hediger Award as the highest WAZA award of the year!