ASZK Conference Scholarships!

 

The ASZK is seeking applications from financial ASZK members who would like to attend the 2024 ASZK conference and need some financial assistance. The scholarships will cover conference registration fees only.
Please send an application outlining why you would like to attend the ASZK conference and how this will assist your career in the industry with your name and contact details.

Applications close 28 March 2024

Email your application to eo@aszk.org.au

Notification of 2024 ASZK AGM

The ASZK would like to advise it’s members that they will be holding their Annual General Meeting at the 2024 Conference in Perth, Western Australia on Saturday 25th May 2024.

 

Members can find Minutes from the 2023 AGM Here

The 2024 Agenda can be found Here

If you are unable to attend the AGM but are a Full Member that would like to Vote on matters arising in the meeting a Proxy Voting form can be downloaded Here and should be sent to the Secretary at secretary@aszk.org.au by COB Friday 24th May 2024.

2024 ASZK Wildlife Photography Competition

 

Fancy yourself as a bit of an aspiring wildlife photographer? Or have you simply found yourself in the right place at the right time to snap some of your favourite animals pulling a funny face?

How would you like to see your very own shots on the front cover of the Thylacinus for all ASZK members to see?

 

It’s simple, the competition is open to anyone, so feel free to share with your friends. Here is all you need to know to get started…

 

Rules

Categories are ‘ARTISTIC ANIMAL SHOT’, ‘ANIMALS IN THE WILD’, ‘ACTION/BEHAVIOUR SHOT’, and ‘FUNNY ANIMAL MOMENTS’.

You can submit as many entries as you like.

 

Competition opens January 22nd 2024 and all photos must be submitted no later than the 17th March 2024.

All photos must be in JPEG format and must be accompanied with a signed Photo Release Form. Download  release HERE

Send all entries to photocomp@aszk.org.au ensuring the following is included:

  • Your name
  • Your institution and/or address
  • Title/caption of the shot/any notable details about the photo, animals in the shot.
  • The category you feel your photo best suits
  • Cite ‘ASZK Photo Comp’ in the subject line.
  • Signed Release Form

 

Judging and Prizes

The ASZK committee will pick the two best photos in each category to show off at the annual conference, which will be held in Perth, WA in May.

Conference delegates then select their favourites! Best of each category will be displayed on the front cover of Thylacinus – the quarterly journal of the ASZK covering interesting updates in zookeeping from across the region. *some landscape photos may not be suitable.

The People’s Choice (best of all categories) will earn its photographer honorary ASZK membership for a year!

Prints of the finalists may be auctioned off at the conference to assist with the Society’s ongoing objective of supporting the professional development of keepers in our region.

So get snapping, and let your photography earn you membership! Be sure to check Facebook to see some of the entries. And make sure you get to Perth in May to take part in the judging!­­

FIRST CALL FOR PAPERS

 

The 2024 ASZK Conference will be held in May in Perth and we are calling for submissions to present a paper, poster or workshop. See here for more details.

 

ICZ Keeper Conservation Grant – call for nominations.

The ICZ offers an annual $1,000USD grant for projects aiming to protect wildlife and their habitats. You can download an overview and some more information about the past grant recipients here.

Call for applications

Applications are accepted from September 1 until December 31st, 2023.

Please download the application form here.

Feel free to contact us at conservation@iczoo.org with any questions and to apply. We are looking forward to receiving a lot of applications!

We would like to ask you to please consider supporting these grants. Any contribution would be beneficial for zookeepers and conservation initiatives worldwide.

Please contact us at conservation@iczoo.org for more information, to discuss support arrangements and to become a sponsor.

 

Volunteer Opportunities

Have you ever wanted to contribute to Conservation on the ground in the Wild? Here is an amazing opportunity to volunteer to help some of Borneo’s most iconic wildlife including Orangutan and Sun Bears. Click below to find out more.

 

Orangutan Volunteer Program

 

Sumatran Ranger Project

Sumatran Ranger Project will be constructing a predator-proof livestock corral in a forest edge community in North Sumatra, in May 2023. There are limited opportunities for zookeepers to be involved in a hands-on capacity with this project, starting May 1, 2023. The trip is coordinated by Sumatran Ranger Project leader and Deputy Mammal Curator at Auckland Zoo, Amy Robbins. It is over 8 days, some of which will involve construction of the corral in addition to time spent with the ranger team on a patrol route. There is also a day of relaxation and fun, tubing and exploring the local rivers. You don’t need to be hugely fit, but a reasonable level of fitness and ability to work in the heat is necessary.  Please contact Amy directly on sumatranrangers@gmail.com for more information. Getting there is easy from Australia or New Zealand and Amy can advise you of dates and timings and assist with any other questions. See attached itinerary for a daily schedule.

Livestock Corral Itinerary 2023

Zoo Animals and Covid

The Zoo and Aquarium Association (ZAA) has put out the following information around zoo animals and Covid-19

Australia and New Zealand are moving into a new stage of the COVID-19 pandemic in which we live with a certain amount of the virus circulating in our communities, with high vaccination rates and certain health measures protecting people.

 Through most of the pandemic, we have been fortunate to have either very low or no community spread whilst our zoos and aquariums have been open to the public, which has made the risk of our animals contracting COVID-19 incredibly low.

 As we shift to living with COVID-19, strict biosecurity protocols for the species most at risk of contracting the virus are more important than ever. Global monitoring shows that overseas whilst most cases of animals with COVID-19 seem to present with only mild symptoms, COVID-associated deaths have now been reported in a number of lions, snow leopards, and beavers.

These cases in animals are considered to have been acquired from humans and, in some instances, transmission has occurred despite staff being vaccinated and biosecurity protocols being in place.

We strongly suggest that members re-evaluate the risk to their animals with advice from their veterinarian, particularly in consideration to the species currently known to be at risk of contracting COVID-19:

  • Carnivora
    • Canids – domestic dog, raccoon dog
    • Felids – domestic cat, fishing cat, tiger, lion, cougar, snow leopard
    • Hyaenidae – spotted hyena
    • Mustelids – domestic ferret, American mink, Asian small-clawed otter
    • Procyonids – coati
    • Viverrids – binturong
  • Primates – gorilla, African green monkey, macaque species, baboon, grivet, common marmoset
  • Artiodactyla
    • Cervids – white-tailed deer
    • Suids – domestic pig
    • Hippopotamus – common hippo, river hippo
  • Pteropodids – Egyptian fruit bat
  • Rodents – beaver, hamster, bank vole laboratory mice (only with more recent COVID-19 variants),
  • Leporids – domestic rabbit
  • Tupaiids – tree shrew

Transmission of COVID-19 from animals back to humans has to date only been reported with farmed mink. Although the virus likely originated via transmission from bats to humans, there is no current evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading COVID-19 to people. However, a cautious approach may consider potential risks around transmission from animals to humans.

We have worked with the ZAA Veterinary SAG to develop a position statement, available to read on the ZAA Portal. Please note that as new information continues to become available this position statement will not be provided as a downloadable file whilst changes continue to be made. If you have trouble accessing the ZAA Portal, please contact admin@zooaquarium.org.au

ZAA continues to monitor the roll out of the Zoetis veterinary COVID vaccine to zoo animals in the US. This vaccine is not available in Australia and New Zealand. Importation would require approval and registration by the relevant jurisdiction’s government authority. The Vet SAG are doing some early exploration of future options for vaccination in this region.”

Animal Care Professionals Survey

The University of Tasmania is conducting research in to the resilience, wellbeing and mental health needs of animal care professionals. The study hopes to:

  1. Identify resilience and wellbeing (both positive and negative) of animal care professionals in Australia.
  2. Identify what individual and workplace resources would benefit these individuals.
  3. Develop readily accessible resources to promote resilience and positive wellbeing in animal care professionals.

This subject is obviously very relevant to the zookeeping community and this study will hopefully have some very tangible results for ASZK members. Those who complete the survey can enter a draw for one of six $50 Coles/Myer gift vouchers.

If you would like more information about the study, you can read the pdf provided by the University of Tasmania here.

To participate in the study click here.

The survey closes July 31, 2020.

Des Spittall Scholarship for Keeper Development

 DES SPITTALL SCHOLARSHIP for KEEPER DEVELOPMENT – Applications OPEN now!

The Australasian Society of Zookeeping operates and manages the annual ‘Des Spittall Scholarship for Keeper Development’, which is available to any ASZK member who has been a financial member for two years or more. The annual scholarship is named in honour of the late Des Spittall, a life member of ASZK. It is to the value of $3,000 and has been established to support the professional development of zoo keepers in the Australasian region. More than one smaller scholarships may be issued if there are requests for less than $3,000 dependant on merit.

Scholarship applications can be sought for the following (but not exclusive) types of activities;

  • Research projects
  • Undertaking volunteer work on conservation projects
  • Working on community change or capacity building projects
  • Undertaking study either in Australia or overseas (overseas study will only be supported if nothing comparable is in Australia or New Zealand)
  • Attending a conference or workshop
  • Study tour of zoos or institutions

Prospective applicants are invited to submit a written proposal for their intended proposition, outlining in as much detail as possible the aim, purpose and the anticipated outcomes of the activity. This includes how the activity may support development of colleagues.

All applications are then evaluated by the ASZK Scholarship Committee within a fortnight of the closing date with applicants informed shortly after.

Successful applicants will be required to submit a report at the end of their project term detailing outcomes and expenditure records. An article for Thylacinus, or a presentation to the ASZK or ICZ annual conference on the project is also encouraged.

Applications close 1 March 2020. Download an application form here.

More information can be found by contacting Liz Romer at eo@aszk.org.au

What does it mean to be a Zoo Keeper?

When I think about what it means to be a keeper, what thoughts does it evoke? At first, there is the obvious one…passion. Keepers are deeply passionate about their profession and the animals they care for. But if we take a moment to peel back the layers, we find that there is much more to these individuals than first meets the eye.

Other thoughts such a dedicated, empathetic, nurturing, studious and multi-skilled jump to mind. These comfortably rest alongside quirky, diverse, spirited and unique.

If we all zoom out for just a minute, it’s easy to acknowledge that without zoo keepers, there is no zoo. This extraordinary cohort is the glue that binds the entire operation together. Zoo keeping is a fluid career, one that grows from a solid foundation of basic fundamentals and understanding what it is that we need to provide in order for the animals in our care to live happy and healthy lives. From this, many branches shoot off in a range of different directions and thus, zoo keepers really do become the ultimate ‘jack of all trades’.

During the course of any given week, a keeper may well indeed be required to contribute to a vast array of different elements of daily zoological operations. These may include, but certainly are not limited to: presentations, media, record keeping, exhibit design, construction, maintenance, cleaning, project management, teaching, mobile exhibiting, triage, vet nursing, first aid, behavioural biology, animal training, diving, horticulture, landscaping and rehabilitation…but to name just a few.

Zoo keepers also provide a vital cog in the global effort to conserve our planet and its species. Whether it’s the keeper delivering an educational talk in a small wildlife park, to an aquarist informing guests on the threat of plastics, to those that devote their personal time and energy to in-situ efforts all over the world. By the very nature of the role, zoo keepers acquire skills and knowledge that are so unique, they often provide the missing link to stagnating conservation projects and recovery programs.

October 4 is International Zookeeper Day and is proudly sponsored by the International Congress of Zoo Keepers (ICZ), which is a conglomerate of the world’s zoo keeping associations. This day was first chosen by the staff of Barcelona Zoo, given it is also celebrated worldwide as the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi. He is known as the patron saint of animals and the environment, and, since 1979, the Patron Saint of Ecology. He preached that it is the duty of men to protect and enjoy nature. Many of the stories that surround the life of St. Francis say that he had a great love for animals and the environment.

Today is a day for celebrating and acknowledging the incredible contribution of keepers throughout the world. On behalf of Taronga, I’d like to thank the dedicated teams at both our zoos for their tireless efforts and commitment to animals and our environment.

Mike Drinkwater, President of the Australasian Society of Zookeeping

Original article: Taronga Conservation Society Australia