Detroit Zoological Society to Host Animal Welfare Workshop


ROYAL OAK — From crawling around in the warthog habitat to standing 18-feet tall in a bucket truck overlooking the giraffe landscape, participants in an upcoming workshop at the Detroit Zoo will learn how to assess, and improve animal welfare in zoos.

The Detroit Zoological Society’s Center for Zoo Animal Welfare annually holds this five-day immersive workshop entitled “From Good Care to Great Welfare,” which attracts exotic animal care staff from all over the world. The workshop is designed to help participants better understand animals’ perspectives and experiences, address the challenges captivity imposes on animal welfare, and develop the skills necessary to assess and improve animals’ overall well-being.

The next Center for Zoo Animal Welfare workshop is scheduled for Oct. 1-5 at the Detroit Zoo.

“Captive exotic animal welfare has emerged as an important topic of discussion, and we are committed to understanding how animals living in zoos can thrive, not just survive,” said Stephanie Allard, CZAW director and DZS director of animal welfare. “One of the critical needs for the advancement of zoo animal welfare is a better understanding of how living in human care impacts individual welfare.”

Workshop participants will gain knowledge related to current research on captive animal behavior and ecology, techniques for assessing environmental and husbandry factors affecting welfare, management and exhibit design, and identification and resolution of welfare issues. The workshop format includes lectures, discussions, group projects, demonstrations, and multiple hands-on opportunities with animal environments at the Detroit Zoo.

Since the first workshop was held in 2011, more than 50 participants from five countries have participated. Earlier this year, leaders from the Detroit Zoo were invited to assess and train animal welfare practices at China’s three largest zoos. The workshop was conducted at the Beijing Zoo for staff from the Beijing, Guangzhou, and Shanghai zoos.

Founded by the Detroit Zoological Society in 2009, Center For Zoo Animal Welfare is a resource center for captive animal welfare knowledge, research and best practices; a convener and forum for exotic animal welfare science, practice and policy discussions; and a center conducting research and training, and recognizing advances in exotic animal welfare.

For more information about Center For Zoo Animal Welfare, visit