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San Diego Zoo Global Academy, October 2017. Photo is a cactus wren perched on a branch.

AAZK—a Case Study in CollaborationCOMPLIANCE U

By Gary Priest, Curator of Animal Care Training, San Diego Zoo Global Academy

In the last few newsletters we've been exploring the word, "collaboration."  At its very core, the Academy is a collaborative learning environment that is dedicated to advancing animal care, welfare and safety within the zoological profession. This month, we'll focus on one professional organization that is using the Academy platform to reach out and collaborate with their entire membership in some amazing new ways.   

The American Association of Zoo Keepers (AAZK) has been a valued Academy partner for several years.  The San Diego Zoo Global Academy (SDZGA) and AAZK recently explored ways to enable more animal care professionals, as well as those interested in entering our profession, to be able to access the online training opportunity of Academy courses. 

Logo: American Association of ZookeepersThe result is that AAZK now has their own online training site, "powered" by the San Diego Zoo Global Academy.  In other words, it is an "Academy" site, branded as AAZK Online, and is designed to meet the needs of AAZK's 3,000 professional and student member community.  This site is available to AAZK members for online activities relevant to their membership, as well as AAZK chapter activities.  Within the AAZK Online site, the Course Catalog contains the San Diego Zoo Global Academy classes.  As a membership benefit, AAZK members receive individual, or chapter related discounts in order to access the SDZGA courses. 

The amazing thing about collaboration is that it seems to foster innovation where mathematics behave differently to create an environment where 1+1 = 3, or 4, or even 10.   AAZK, by collaborating with San Diego Zoo Global Academy, was able to expand online training, which was originally offered exclusively as a benefit to their professional membership, to now include all classes of membership in the organization.  Continuing education is offered to AAZK professional members while career advancement training is now available for their student members.  In addition, AAZK leadership discovered that the Academy platform could also become a valuable tool for their chapters.   AAZK chapters now have access to a branded communications platform for use with their members, between other chapters and with AAZK executive leadership.  1+1= 10.

We are all very pleased by this growing collaboration. The result is an excellent example of collaboration cubed, where (AAZK) + (The Academy) + (Collaboration) = Multiplied Increased Value to three different aspects of AAZK's organizational universe, (professional members, student members, AAZK chapters around the country) while continuing to support the Academy's mission to our community of learners. 

But the story doesn't stop with AAZK.  Recently, through collaborations with AAZK and others, it became apparent to us that there were more subscription levels the San Diego Zoo Global Academy could offer, so that more institutions could participate.  As a result, a new goal for us at the Academy is to get the word out to all of the AAZK member institutions, as well as other institutions, that chances are good that we have an affordable way for you to be able to access San Diego Zoo Global Academy training, too.

The Academy salutes and thanks AAZK's leaders for creatively seeking and finding ways to better leverage the training and communication asset, which is the Academy.  Now, through a very fruitful collaboration, AAZK is even better at meeting the expanding and diverse needs of its membership.  

For questions, please contact Gary Priest, Curator of Animal Care Training, San Diego Zoo Global Academy, at gpriest@sandiegozoo.org.


Academy NewsBermuda Zoological Society

San Diego Zoo Global Academy Puts Bermuda Zoological Society in the Spotlight
Bermuda Zoological Society is part of the Academy's collaborative learning environment!


 Administrator's Users Group Webinar                 
CypherworxPlease join us for the Administrator's Users Group Webinar, hosted by Academy partner CypherWorx. The next webinar is Wednesday, October 18, at 11 a.m. PDT.

Register for this webinar here

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.


COMPLIANCE UCompliance U Course in the Academy Catalog
In addition to the courses created by San Diego Zoo Global, the Academy website's course catalog has many other courses to enhance the training program for your institution. Our Academy partner, CypherWorx, refers to the safety and compliance courses they offer in the course catalog as "Compliance U." Here's this month's featured course:

Slips, Trips, and Falls — Slips, trips, and falls (STF) are among the most frequent type of reported injuries for public employees. This course is designed to help participants identify at least two requirements of OSHA's walking and working surfaces standard that apply to their workplace. By the end of this course, participants will also be able to identify common causes of slips, trips, and falls within the workplace, evaluate their workplace for hazards associated with walking and working surfaces, and generate ideas about how to control these identified hazards.


Academy Contributors

Excellence Beyond Compliance logoSomething Fishy Is Going On
By Dr. Rob Jones, "The Aquarium Vet"                   

Animal Welfare is not a new concept. The first reference I can find dates back almost 3000 years and is in the Book of Proverbs, written by King Solomon, one of the wisest men to have ever lived. "A righteous man cares for the needs of his animal" (Proverbs 12:10).

There is still a massive ongoing debate as to whether fish can feel pain or not, with an increasing number of scientific journal articles being published on the topic. I recently read an excellent book titled "Do Fish Feel Pain?" by Victoria Braithwaite that I highly recommend. Currently most scientists agree that fish do have the neuroanatomy and neurophysiology to feel pain.

I have been involved in this debate since 2006. In Australia, animal welfare is a State issue not Federal (the reverse of the USA). Most State legislation is called Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Acts (POCTAs). There was a Federal Government initiative called the Australian Animal Welfare Strategy (AAWS) that commenced with an initial AUD$ 6 million funding over 3 years (2006–2008). Sadly, it stalled in 2015 due to a Government change. The AAWS aims were to review and promote animal welfare and eventually harmonize State and territory legislation to minimize discrepancies.

The AAWS established six sectors each with a working group:

  • Animals used for work, sport, recreation or on display
  • Animals in the wild
  • Companion animals
  • Livestock/production animals
  • Aquatic animals — I was involved in this sector
  • Animals in research and teaching

At the onset the AAWS Aquatic Animal Working Group decided to limit the definition of "aquatic animals" to finfish, which with the knowledge at the time was appropriate to not include invertebrates. With a colleague, Dr Paul Hardy-Smith, in September 2006 we released a document entitled A Review of Current Welfare Arrangements for Finfish in Australia. In the finfish sector there were four groups:

  • Ornamental (aquarium ) industry
  • Aquaculture
  • Recreational Fishing
  • Commercial Fishing 

Public aquariums fitted into the first group, but the emphasis was mainly on the home aquarium industry. After producing the review, we held a two-day workshop with each of three sectors (except the recreational fishing group which declined). The outcomes of these workshops were:

  • Importance of being proactive and not reactive (worried about the PETAs of this world) which is even more applicable today
  • Generally good fish keeping is good welfare such as maintaining good water quality, humane handling, humane euthanasia (slaughter) etc.
  • Training of staff and people handling or caring for fish and talking to and advising the public (one of the factors in the development of the e-quarist course)

I maintain an active interest in aquatic animal welfare. The Vision of my business is To Advance the Health and Welfare of Aquatic Animals in Aquariums and Zoos Globally. 

Next month we will discuss pain versus nociception and explore aquatic animal welfare in more detail.

E-quarist™ Courses—Academy Subscriber Special!
The San Diego Zoo Global Academy is excited to share an additional Academy subscriber benefit regarding our collaboration with Dr. Jones: as an Academy subscriber, you are now entitled to a discount on the e-quarist™ courses. We are also happy to offer one of our free monthly webinars.

For more information about the SDZGA discount, or to view our Trial Version, please contact katrina@theaquariumvet.com.au .

Visit the Aquarium Vet website at theaquariumvet.com.au.


Helpful Hints

San Diego Zoo Global Academy's Idea Hatchery

The Academy's collaborative learning environment is already "hatching" innovative ideas: let's continue to make it easier to do. You get the idea—or, should we say, you've got the ideas—so, let's collaborate on innovation! Please share your online training ideas at: sdzglobalacademy@sandiegozoo.org.


Zoo & Conservation News

As an added Academy benefit, you can view the latest San Diego Zoo Global Zoo and Conservation News here.


Photo of a trainer with a cheetah.

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