“The most important lesson is that animal welfare and enrichment activities don’t have to take too much time, have no boundaries, and leave much room for creativity.” This is what many animal keepers at the Yerevan Zoo concluded after four days of intensive trainings with specialists from the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA).
By the invitation of the Foundation for the Preservation of Wildlife and Cultural Assets, EAZA Academy’s training officers, Sally Binding and Mark Kingston Jones, traveled to Armenia from England to work with Yerevan Zoo staff on expanding the zoo’s activities program to better serve the needs of the animals. Yerevan Zoo is currently a candidate member of EAZA. A delegation from Tbilisi Zoo also traveled to Yerevan to attend the trainings.
The trainings ranged from physical and cognitive enrichment methods, to animal psychology, environment, and behavior. Both theoretical and practical activities were included in the workshops, including numerous hands-on exercises. On the last day of the trainings, the zoo keepers put the lessons to practice and built their own unique enrichment activity for their specific animals. At the end of the trainings, everyone received EAZA Academy certificates for their participation in the trainings.