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Learn more in this blog about the International Congress of Zookeepers and the collaboration AnimalConcepts has with ICZ on the Illustrated Handbook & dedicated YouTube channel.

The International Congress of Zookeepers (ICZ) was founded in 2000 by seven zookeeper associations – American Association of Zoo Keepers (AAZK), Association of British Wild Animal Keepers (ABWAK), Australasian Society of Zoo Keeping (ASZK), Asosiación Ibérica de Cuidadores de Animales Salvajes (AICAS), Association Francophone des Soigneurs Animaliers (ASFA), Berufsverbad der Zootierpfleger (BdZ), and Foundation Harpij (De Harpij) – all seeking to improve communication within the global community.

The organisation came together under the vision of establishing, “A global network of zookeepers contributing to the highest standard of professional animal care and the role of zoos today.” ICZ seeks to accomplish this in a number of ways, such as by growing their network, supporting regional associations, supporting keepers contributing to conservation projects, facilitating information exchanges to spread knowledge and skills, and using training and resource sharing to encourage professionalism. Once a year the organisation’s Steering Committee (SC) gathers to coordinate the association’s development and every three years the organisation holds a global congress that has so far attracted a total of nearly 1500 attendees representing over 40 countries.

Additionally, the ICZ has put together roughly one workshop per year since 2012, covering seven different host countries. Beyond bringing people together with their worldwide events, the organisation regularly contributes resources to the global community, such as translated works on zookeeping, their quarterly e-newsletter “Keeper Notes”, and the conservation database containing 64 projects from 13 countries. Furthermore, the ICZ has contributed greatly to conservation by using congress registrations to support habitat preservation and funding one keeper conservation grant a year since 2015.

The most recent ICZ congress was held from 14 – 18 October 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and it was the first bilingual congress held. Registrations were used to support a reforestation project in Argentina’s Osununu Natural Reserve. The next congress is planned for 9-12 February 2021 in Wellington, New Zealand. To date, 19 years after its creation, the ICZ has grown its member list to include Animal Keepers and Trainers Association of the Philippines (AKTAP), Asociacion Grupo Argentino Cuidadores de Animales Silvestres (GACAS), Associazione Italiana Guariani di Zoo (AIGZOO), and Zoo Central, in addition to a number of supporting members from around the world.

Currently AnimalConcepts is coordinating, in collaboration with the ICZ, and Sabrina Aresu, the creation of the Illustrated Handbook on Zookeeping, a comprehensive guide to improving the safety and animal husbandry practices of caregivers through the use of media - photos and videos. Together, we are also in the process of setting up a YouTube channel named ICZoo that will include short instructional videos on various aspects of husbandry, enrichment and training. These resources are being compiled with the help of Auckland Zoo, Zoo Napoli, and Sydney Zoo and are key to facilitating education in non-literate animal care professionals around the world.

Over the coming months we will be sharing more about the ICZ and member organisations, also in different languages.

To keep up to date with the ICZ, subscribe to their e-newsletter “Keeper Notes” or follow them on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!