It is our great honour and commitment, that Prague will host the upcoming 66th World Association of Zoos and Aquariums Annual Conference on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the founding of Prague Zoo.
Miroslav Bobek (author: Barbora Prášilová)
The mere fact that the top representatives of WAZA members are meeting each year at annual working conferences eloquently illustrates the extraordinary importance of broad cooperation for achieving the difficult goals set in the area of biodiversity. This cooperation is a necessary condition for creation of modern zoological gardens and aquariums as a dignified and prospective substitute home for bred and presented animals, reaching the highest standards of welfare and at the same moment fulfilling the complex educational, pedagogical, recreational, research, economical, touristic and animal protection mission.
At the time of the global crisis of biodiversity, it is the zoos and aquariums that can play – and do play – the key role in creating reserve populations of endangered species in human care. And not only for these species have they endeavoured to create populations with long-term prospects of survival. In the light of scientific knowledge in the area of management of small populations, requirements of sustainability and spatial, financial and human resource limitations of single members, it is eminently clear that without mutual cooperation any progress is impossible! The upcoming 66th WAZA Annual Conference declared the inevitability of the cooperation and sustainability as its core topic: “Partnering for sustainable zoos and aquariums”.
I think that this is a big issue, and I consider it symbolic that it fell just on the WAZA meeting in Prague. It was in Prague Zoo – an almost inconceivable 52 years ago – where the International Symposium on the Preservation of the Przewalski´s Horse clearly formulized the necessity of international cooperation during conservation breeding programmes for species on the edge of extinction. And international professional cooperation again brought together to Prague the notable representatives of the world community of zoological gardens such as professor Bernhard Grzimek to the meeting of the International Union of the Directors of Zoological Gardens held in Prague at 1971 on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of Prague Zoo. I am convinced that our upcoming meeting will be a honourable successor of these traditions and at the same time a testimony to the great progress achieved thanks to the partnership of zoological gardens and aquariums under the WAZA leadership with the motto: “United for conservation”.
Let me cordially invite you in my name and in name of the entire Prague Zoo to participate in the Prague meeting of WAZA. Beside the professional programme, we have prepared for you and your accompanying persons an attractive social programme, and we will introduce Prague Zoo to you in a way which will satisfy the most inquiring visitor.
We are looking forward to meeting you in Prague!
Prague Zoological Garden, director