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Belfast welcomes zoo professionals from across Europe

Date: 21 Sep 2016

Lord Mayor of Belfast Brian Kingston opened the conference

Animal and conservation experts from across the world have arrived in Belfast to take part in the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) Annual Conference 2016.

The EAZA Annual Conference is the biggest annual gathering of the European zoo and aquarium community. An estimated 500 EAZA members, from Europe, North America, South America, Africa, Asia and Australia will attend this major international conference from 20 to 24 September 2016. The conference will include meetings, presentations, discussions and networking opportunities.

Formed in 1992, EAZA’s mission is to facilitate cooperation within the European zoo and aquarium community towards the goals of education, research and conservation.

Zoo curator, Andrew Hope, said: “We first bid for the conference, along with ‘Conference Partners’, a number of years ago and the whole Belfast Zoo team is delighted to have been chosen to host such a prestigious event, as this recognises the excellent work that Belfast Zoo does and the unique setting which provides unrivalled views across such a vibrant city.”

“Many species are facing increasing dangers in their natural habitats and, with the role of zoos becoming ever more important, conferences such as this are vital in allowing a collaborative approach to conservation. Zoos and conservation organisations in the UK, Europe and around the world work together in co-ordinated programmes, to ensure the future survival of many threatened species.

“Zoos worldwide also have an unparalleled ability to reach a huge audience and inspire millions of visitors with key messages of biodiversity and wildlife conservation. Conferences like this not only allow zoo professionals to network with experts from other zoos but also provide an opportunity to share knowledge and plan for the future,” added Mr Hope.

Lord Mayor of Belfast, Alderman Brian Kingston, said: “This is recognition of the excellent conservation, education and animal husbandry work carried out by the zoo staff on a daily basis and how much it contributes to animal welfare and conservation in the wider world.

“Holding the conference not only provides the opportunity for the Zoo to showcase top quality animal care and the beautiful surroundings of Cave Hill, but also an opportunity to showcase Belfast as a city and conference destination too,” he added.

The conference is being held in a range of venues including the zoo, Belfast City Hall, Titanic Belfast and the newly renovated Belfast Waterfront. We estimate that hosting the conference will also bring an estimated £1.4 million to the local economy,” he said.

The conference was organised in associated with Conference Partners. You can find more information about this organisation at http://www.conferencepartners.com/