|Dr Phan Viet Lam, director of the Saigon Zoo, told the meeting that one of its main goals was to provide a better environment for animals in zoos and to increase public awareness of wildlife issues.— File Photo
HCM CITY (VNS) — More than 160 delegates from 20 countries and territories gathered yesterday in HCM City for a regional conference on improvement of zoo management in the region.
The three-day annual Southeast Asian Zoos Association (SEAZA) conference was organised by the Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens for the third time.
Dr Phan Viet Lam, director of the Saigon Zoo, told the meeting that one of its main goals was to provide a better environment for animals in zoos and to increase public awareness of wildlife issues.
"We hope to make our association stronger and contribute to enhancing the zoos in the region."
Five main topics will be discussed – bio-diversity and conservation, zoo medicine and husbandry, education and marketing, breeding and animal behaviours, and zoo design and enrichment.
More than 40 papers would be orally presented, dealing with various components of zoo management, Lam said.
The conference will particularly focus on the running of zoological gardens, biological parks, safari parks, public aquariums, bird parks, reptile parks, and insectariums.
Dr Sophon Dumnui, president of SEAZA, said the conference would offer a great opportunity for members to share knowledge, learn new concepts and ideas, and strengthen friendship for the good of the regional zoo community.
Le Thanh Liem, vice chairman of the HCM City People's Committee, said: "Viet Nam has diverse flora and fauna for which zoos play an essential role."
Viet Nam is trying to disseminate information to raise awareness among its people about conservation of natural resources, he said.
HCM City plans to build a 485-ha Sai Gon Safari Park in Cu Chi District, 60km from the city centre, he added.
The association hopes that member zoos would utilise their animal collections for the primary purpose of educating the public on the urgent need for environmental conservation in a manner that "upholds the respect and dignity of the wild animal," the organising board said.
Established in 1990 in Indonesia, the association has 12 members – the 10 ASEAN countries, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.
The eight other countries represented at the meeting are members of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens in HCM City's District 1 was established in 1864. — VNS