What animal welfare standards do we follow?
In order to operate as a public aquarium or zoo we need to hold a Zoo License. This is a national standard laid out by government and administered through the Secretary of State’s Standard for Modern Zoo Practice.
So what does this mean?
A Zoo License means we have to meet a number of strict guidelines when working with our animals to ensure we are providing them with the highest standard of care and ethical responsibility. To assess this we have an inspection from the local council and also a specialist experienced animal inspector.
We also employ the skills of an internationally recognised veterinary team, who visit every other month and are always contactable in the event of a treatment being needed.
Another level of higher welfare is met by the National Marine Aquarium being a member of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquarium (BIAZA). This organisation raises the bar on animal welfare and also works directly with government to ensure the highest standards are maintained, one of the on site husbandry team in Plymouth is a member of the specialist aquarium working group committee that advises BIAZA and also organises an annual conference. This conference allows members from the UK aquariums industry to meet and exchange ideas and successful new husbandry techniques.
One of these new techniques was a caesarean section that needed to be carried out on a stingray. The operation was successful and became a new worldwide standard communicated at a shark and ray conference at Monterey Bay Aquarium.
All of our newly arriving livestock undergo a quarantine period. This is to ensure that they do not have any diseases or parasites. Also, it allows us to condition them to come to a target to feed so we can ensure they get the best nutrition once they move to one of our exhibits. In our large mixed exhibits we have many feed stations to achieve this.
If you’d like to know more please feel free to ask our team when you visit.