Minister for Environment and Climate Change Ryan Smith today welcomed more than 200 directors and CEOs of zoos and aquariums from around the world to Melbourne for a leading international conference.
Zoos Victoria is proudly hosting the 67th World Association of Zoos and Aquariums Annual Conference (WAZA) at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.
The conference coincides with the celebration of Melbourne Zoo’s 150th Anniversary which will be officially commemorated on 6 October this year.
This milestone sees Melbourne Zoo join the unique alumni of zoos throughout the world that have been operating for more than 150 years.
“The WAZA Conference is a great opportunity to showcase Melbourne’s many world-class tourist destinations, as well as to demonstrate that Victorian zoos are true leaders in their field,” Mr Smith said.
“The theme of the conference Fighting Extinction is topical with the recent commitment of Zoos Victoria to ensure that ‘no Victorian, terrestrial or vertebrate species will become extinct on their watch’.
“The Victorian Coalition Government is very supportive of Zoos Victoria’s pioneering commitment to become a world leading, zoo-based conservation organisation and this conference highlights the need for a global effort to discuss the challenges faced in protecting endangered species.
“A breeding and research program for the critically endangered Tasmanian Devil is just one of the initiatives being undertaken by Zoos Victoria to help fight extinction of endangered species,” Mr Smith said.
“Educating and engaging children in conservation is supported by the newly-opened Growing Wild interactive exhibit at Melbourne Zoo which provides a hands-on approach to experiencing the many aspects of zoo life.
“I encourage all Victorian families to get out and experience one of our three exciting zoos and take advantage of the free entry on offer for all children under 16 during weekends and school holidays,” Mr Smith said.