Natureland Wildlife Trust voluntarily sought a formal audit of animal welfare, undertaken by the Zoo and Aquarium Association Australasia (ZAA) in October 2015. This is the first audit undergone under the new Trust, and since the ZAA Accreditation Program began. The accreditation programme focuses on moving beyond minimizing negative states, and achieving positive affective states. Having choice over physical, environmental, and behavioural aspects, as well as the opportunity for mental wellbeing and sound health are the key requirements. The programme is an industry first, and helps to set welfare as a key factor for being a good zoo.
Director Meg Rutledge says “I am delighted with our achievement. Since taking over in November 2013, animal welfare has been our top priority. Natureland is a small zoo with a long history, and now the community can be proud to know that we endeavor to provide our animals best lives possible.”
Our animals receive medical care from Halifax Veterinary Centre, themselves a leader in best practice for the nation. Additionally, Natureland’s animal care team leader, Brigitte Kreigenhofer, specialized in wild animal nutrition. Senior keeper Jennifer Pettigrew is a qualified vet nurse, and our three animal keepers each have degrees and qualifications relevant to animal science.
Combined, the passion and dedication of the team has transformed Natureland from a nostalgic local treasure into an asset for regional biodiversity conservation and a site the community can be proud of.
The team at Natureland has had a busy couple of years making steady and significant improvements to the small charity’s operation. Volunteers and local organizations have supported the charity in upgrading some of the older areas of the zoo bit by bit. Nelson City Council remains a key supporter. Natureland is preparing to open a new area of the zoo devoted to breeding native avian species for release on 21 June 2016. Animal welfare is the cornerstone to all of these outstanding achievements in only a few short years.