I know at any stage I could pick up the phone and talk to a fellow zoo leader. We need strong cooperation in genetics to ensure the long-term survival of many in species. For example, when our female Sumatran Tiger passed away we wanted to ensure the next female tiger we received was a genetically good match for our male, Kembali.
A species coordinator will scour the country, indeed the globe, looking for the right match. It sounds extreme but when you’re talking about a species like the Sumatran Tiger with only 400 left in the wild that is what you must do.
Fortunately we discovered a suitable female, Delilah, at Australia Zoo in Queensland. Delilah is now at Adelaide Zoo and introductions with Kembali are underway. Our fingers are crossed this results in a new litter of cubs.
Whether the cubs come or not, Delilah and Kembali are helping to spread the story about their species, the threats they face and hopefully create a lasting impact on visitors.
The ZAA accreditation process of our zoos ensures we advocate for animal welfare. It’s important we are all driven by a similar purpose and are all looking to achieve wins in this and many other areas. As a sector, through collaboration we are also innovative and flexible.
We are in an era where more species than ever are being wiped out. If we don’t work together the battle will become much more difficult.
Collaboration is also vital within our Zoos SA team. I was chosen for the role as Chief Executive Officer of Zoos SA partly because I had a business background which means I can understand financials and human resources.
I’ve always been an animal lover but I don’t need to be an animal veterinary or husbandry expert. I have a fabulous team full of these experts. Ultimately I need the team to make solid recommendations and explain enough to help me understand areas outside my expertise.