This week the 6th International Congresss of Zookeepers (ICZ) was held at Temaikèn Biopark, in the province of Buenos Aires (Argentina). Every year, keepers and other professionals working in animal conservation meet to share their knowledge and experiences. This time there were 155 participants from 29 countries who came together with the aim of contributing to obtaining the highest standards in professional care for animals via networking. As part of the Iberian Association of Wild Animal Caretakers (AICAS), the Barcelona Zoo was represented at the congress by zookeeper Raúl Cabrera and educators Aurora Pazos and Gemma Morató.
The motto chosen for 2018 was ‘Thinking today. Keeping tomorrow’, with an emphasis placed on the need for good professional preparation to confront the challenges posed in the profession in an increasingly demanding environment due to wild animals’ tough situation and a society that is increasingly more aware of the living conditions of the animals.
Our colleagues told us how during these four intense working days, they dealt with different topics, such as environmental enrichment, veterinary medicine, breeding and food, among other issues related to the zookeepers’ daily work. They also had the chance to attend extremely practical workshops on specific matters, such as the insertion and repair of feathers for rescued birds and birds at zoos, and the correct maintenance of birds’ beaks.
For this year’s edition of the congress—bilingual in Spanish and English—the AICAS took charge of having all necessary materials translated into Spanish. Moreover, and thanks to the Barcelona Zoo’s contributions to the association, AICAS could award a grant to the animal caretaker at the Havana Zoo (Cuba) Alexander Arango Leyva to attend the meeting, with the aim that the knowledge acquired in new handling and care techniques could reach more zoological centres and hence lead to animals’ greater wellbeing.