Banham Zoo has been recognised for their work in Exhibit Design at the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) 50th Anniversary awards ceremony.
BIAZA turns 50 this year and representatives from its membership came together to celebrate the past and consider future challenges at a major conference held at Marwell Wildlife, Hampshire, which ran from 6 to 8 June. Culminating in a gala dinner and awards ceremony on Wednesday evening, Banham Zoo was recognised for their contributions to Exhibit Design, winning the category for their new Penguin enclosure, which opened last year.
The new enclosure was designed in-house by the zoo’s CEO, Martin Goymour and Construction Manager, Charles Snowling. Based on a clear vision to create an improved habitat for penguins and other birds species as well as providing improved access and creating a more intimate and inspiring view for their visitors.
To achieve this the entire enclosure was netted in supported by three tall masts and a boardwalk was constructed allowing visitors to actually enter the birds environment, offering the chance to see the penguins and other birds species such as cape teal, white-faced tree ducks, little egrets and African spoonbills at much closer quarters than would typically be possible.
ZSEA Director of Conservation and Education Gary Batters said “We are naturally delighted that the excellent design, construction and conservation messaging of ‘Penguin Cove’ has been recognised by our peers, but most importantly we have also improved the welfare of our birds and our guests experience when they visit.”
The penguins themselves gave the enclosure a huge vote of approval, hatching their first chicks less than 3 months after moving in, the zoo currently cares for 21 penguins, a species currently classified by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as an Endangered species[i]
Dr Kirsten Pullen, Director of BIAZA, said, “The standard of award submissions was incredibly high this year and I’m delighted that Banham Zoo has achieved a Silver Award for Penguin Cove
“As we celebrate 50 years of ‘Working Together for Wildlife’ we have an opportunity to reflect on the incredibly important work we do in conservation and the significant contributions our members make in educating the public about our natural world and inspiring them to protect it. The zoo and aquarium community has come an incredibly long way since the Association came into being, but we must continuously strive to improve. This event has provided us with an opportunity to bring our members together to remind ourselves of how far we have come and re-inforce our commitment to animal welfare, conservation, education and scientific research.”
Originally known as The Federation of Zoological Gardens of Britain and Ireland, BIAZA was formed in 1966 out of recognition of the need for standardised principles and practices in animal management. Made up initially of just nine zoos and bird gardens, the Association has grown over the past 50 years and today its113 strong membership have become a powerful force for conservation and education, with continuous scientific research and sharing of best practice to ensure the highest levels of animal welfare.
[i] IUCN Red Data List