A trio of awards

Staff at Dudley Zoo and Castle are celebrating after scooping a hat-trick of honours for outstanding achievements in the zoological world.

The charity received three bronze awards at the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquarium (BIAZA) Awards.

The zoo’s Southern cassowary enclosure, which was designed by its bird keeping staff, was awarded bronze for drawing on the geological significance of the local area and tying in the scientific and evolutionary links between fossils, dinosaurs and modern-day birds.

Camel keepers picked up a further award for their training of two juvenile Bactrian camels using sound and visual cues, while the zoo’s recent successful hand rearing of Bennett’s wallaby, Barney, by Ungulates Acting Team Leader Laura Robbins, received the third.

Zoo Director Derek Grove, said: “These three BIAZA awards are testament to the hard work our staff carry out here at Dudley Zoo and Castle on a daily basis and we’re delighted their dedication to conservation, education and animal welfare has also been recognised by experts from within the zoo community.”

EXHIBIT CATEGORY: ‘Construction, a cassowary and coronavirus. A zookeeper’s tale.’

With an ‘in house’ vision, keepers created an exhibit to tell the story of evolution with the overall aim to raise the profile of the cassowary with some interesting and fun visuals, including an interactive display of homemade clay skeletal models, all while adhering to the limitations of the zoo site, as well as providing Zeus with a suitable new home.

 

ANIMAL HUSBANDRY, CARE AND BREEDING CATEGORY: ‘Barney’s Story – the hand-rearing tale of a red-necked wallaby.’

Following the discovery of a young wallaby in the pouch of a deceased female, a decision was made to hand rear the joey, despite the collection having no previous experience of hand rearing a marsupial.

Barney was successfully returned to the paddock and after publicising his story on social media, Laura’s advice and records have since helped three other collections with hand rearing marsupials.

 

BEHAVIOUR AND WELFARE CATEGORY: Training juvenile Domestic Bactrian camels

Ahead of the relocation of two juvenile Domestic Bactrian camels, Delilah and Oakley, keepers began training the youngsters using sound and visual cues to separate themselves off from the rest of the herd in preparation for a calm and stress-free transfer day.

The team had to overcome a number of covid-related obstacles during the training period, but on the day, the relocations of both camels went to plan!