Virtual Posters for 75th WAZA Annual Conference

Welcome to the virtual posters of the 75th WAZA Annual Conference. Please scroll down to see a variety of posters on topics such as animal welfare, sustainable palm oil and more.

For the images, please click on the image to enlarge it 

Factors influencing litter size in big cats

Title: Factors Influencing Litter Size in Big Cats

Authors: Johanna Staerk, Morgane Tidière, Fernando Colchero, Dalia A. Conde, Kim Skalborg Simonsen, Craig Packer, Species360

More information: Four out of five big cat species are threatened with extinction but surprisingly little is known about their reproduction. Here we analyse >6,000 big cat litters from the Species360/ZIMS database as well as wild lion data. We found significant differences between wild and zoo-held lions and reproductive senescence patterns across Panthera species. 

Please note: Poster has been divided in two images to allow for easier reading. Click on the image to enlarge it. 

Tiger Demographic Parameters in Zoos: difference between sexes and sub-species?

Title: Tiger Demographic Parameters in Zoos: difference between sexes and sub-species?

Authors: Morgane Tidière, Peter Müller, Alexander Sliwa, Aurélie Siberchicot and Guillaume Douay, Species360

More information: Using information of more than 9,200 tigers (International Studbook of Tiger), we determined sub-species and sex-specific variability of survival and reproductive parameters with age. Our study emphasising the importance of adult breeding females of 7-9 years-old to control zoo-housed population size, and provides accurate demographic estimates, crucial to set up effective conservation plans.

Click here to view a powerpoint with more information.

Please note: Poster has been divided in two images to allow for easier reading. Click on the image to enlarge it.

Designing Zoo Exhibits

Title: Designing affective zoo exhibits: How can the zoo experience impact the efficacy of behaviour change campaigns?

Author: Rhedyn Ollerenshaw, PhD Candidate, Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of science

More information: “Our mission is not fulfilled until we change people’s attitudes and behaviours, and they become exemplary advocates for conservation”. – WAZA Conservation Strategy. But how does zoo exhibit design and visitor engagement impact the way zoos can affect visitors pro-environmental behaviours? There is little existing literature examining the role of exhibit design as a tool for behaviour change.

The Yoshi Story: From Africa to Australia

Title: The post-release oceanic movements of Yoshi the loggerhead turtle: 25,000 miles travelled after 20 years under captive care. 

Author: Maryke Musson, Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation

More information: Yoshi the female loggerhead sea turtle has become quite a global celebrity and true ambassador for the conservation of marine species. She was released off Cape Point, South Africa, after 20 years of captive care at the Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town. Her post-release oceanic movements and journey has surprised scientists all over the world, with 25 000 miles already tracked via her satellite tag

Taking Environmental Education Online

Title: Taking environmental education online in an under-resourced environment: inspiring children to care about the planet

Author: Maryke Musson, Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation

More information: The Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation, the non-profit and public benefit partner of the Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town, South Africa, reaches more than 100 000 children per annum through its incredible environmental education and outreach programmes. With the Covid-19 lockdown, the Foundation team immediately converted our education content to an online platform to continue informing and inspiring children to connect to the natural world and the ocean to increase positive impact. 

Prevalence of Negative Visitor Behavior in the Zoo Setting

Title: A global investigation of the prevalence of negative visitor behaviour in the zoo setting

Author: Courtney Collins, University College Cork

More information: Many factors affect the welfare of zoo-housed animals with different species facing varying challenges in captivity. However, one of the things that defines a zoo and that all species must contend with is the presence of visitors. Previous research has shown that visitors have the ability to affect captive animals in positive and negative ways. This is dependent on several variables including species type, visitor number, noise and activity. The objective of this study is to quantify negative visitor behavior in the zoo on a large-scale, across a range of institutions, species and enclosure types. 

What Does Your Parking Lot Tell Visitors About Your Conservation Mission?

Title: What does your parking lot tell visitors about your conservation mission?

Author: Barbara Peterson, ZooLex Zoo Design

More information: The future of zoo and aquarium conservation lies with young guests: they will either grow up supporting those conservation programs or see zoos and aquariums as entertainment or as places that only hold captive animals. For this reason, all guest spaces should reflect the facility’s mission. This means that equal and serious design consideration should be given to the location where guests receive their first impression of the zoo or aquarium. In the United States, that first impression typically occurs within the parking lot.

Driving Positive Change Through Sustainable Palm Oil: What Zoos Should Know

Title: Shop for Food Packages with the Environmental Friendly Label: RSPO Trademark

Author: Monisha Mohandas, Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil

More information: Palm oil has always been a debated topic for the past few years. The term ‘sustainable palm oil’ even more so. Zoos are constantly confronted with the question of whether to boycott palm oil or support sustainable palm oil. This session aims to help zoos answer this fundamental question by demonstrating the positive impacts that the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) has been achieving and hopes to continue achieving be it environmentally, socially and economically. With this, zoos can feel more confident about how sustainable palm oil is the way to move forward and hopefully understand what makes RSPO a credible organisation.

Engaging Your Guests to Impact Sustainable Palm Oil Production

Title: Engaging your guests to impact sustainable palm oil production

Author: Cameron Plese, Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil

More information:  Are your zoo visitors asking questions about how they can play a role in addressing this issue? In this brief video, you will learn about the basics of what it means for palm oil to be certified as sustainable, how certified sustainable palm oil positively impacts wildlife and ecosystems, and how zoo visitors can unleash their buying power to be a part of positive change. To learn more about the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and about the impacts of sustainable palm oil, go to Additional palm oil related resources for zoos can be found through the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo website

Future Zoo-Cities 2050

Title: Future Zoo-Cities 2050

Author: Vi Nguyen, SEAZA individual member

More information: ‘Future Zoo-Cities 2050’ is a speculative project that explores the relationship between the constructed and the natural world. As the planet faces radical changes during times of climate crisis, the ethical questions confronting the future of zoos, become questions for existing cities and their impact on the world of Nature. The future of zoos is heading towards integrating wildlife populations into urban conditions, this transformation maximises conservation outcomes to create sustainable, adaptive and resilient environments.

Modelling a Better Future for Our Captive Tigers

Title: Modelling a better future for our captive tigers

Author: Joshua Scherpenhuizen, Charles Sturt University

More information: The benefits of previous hormone studies on captive tigers have been limited due to small sample sizes, typically a reflection of small animal numbers at each facility. Multi-institutional studies have lessened this problem, but data from animals kept in distant zoos are often combined despite research that shows hormone profiles can vary greatly depending on climate.

Creative Collaborations for Exponential Conservation Impact

Title: Creative Collaborations for Exponential Conservation Impact

Author: Michele Stumpe, Children of Conservation

More information: This session will look at unique collaborations that not only yield a conservation impact, but provide other outcomes that can be leveraged for marketing and sustainability. I’ll share the strategies (both successful and unsuccessful) that I’ve been involved with in my capacity as a leader in multiple conservation organisations throughout the years and the solutions that have resulted in creating partnerships that resulted in maximum impact. I’ll talk about how zoos can leverage these relationships to address multiple needs in their organisations.

The Impact of Walkway Design on a Developing Conservation Ethic

Title: The Walkway’s Impact on the Developing Conservation Ethic of Young Visitors

Author: Barbara Peterson, ZooLex Design

More information: Our youngest visitors will be either the next generation of conservation leaders or the next generation of zoo and aquarium opponents. It is critical, therefore, that we understand the role that visitor space design plays in what young visitors see and do, and that impacts their developing conservation ethic. While educational programs and designated nature play areas introduce conservation issues to young visitors, not every young visitor participates in or visits those programs or play areas. But, there is one space that is experienced by all no matter the age, ability or facility: that space is the walkway. 

The Role of Zoos and Aquariums: Defining and Increasing A sense of Conservation

Title: The Role of  Zoos and Aquariums: Defining and Increasing a sense of Conservation

Author: Patricia Patrick, Columbus State University

More information: Traditionally, zoos and aquariums were viewed as a place to see and learn about exotic organisms; however, this has become an antiquated view within a society that has access to technology and smartphones. Organisations are under social pressures to respond by becoming leaders in conservation education. Zoos must consider how they link the community to local biodiversity and conservation and promote local conservation literacy. This session will define Sense of Conservation and provide examples of best practices for interacting with and understanding the local community.

Engagement and Satisfaction with Euthanasia Decision-Making

Title: Engagement and Satisfaction with Euthanasia Decision-Making among Australasian Zoo Professionals

Author: Alison Clarke, Massey University/Wellington Zoo

More information: The euthanasia of animals who are under our care is commonplace but contentious. Due to successful captive breeding and increased longevity of animals within zoos – combined with the reality of space and resource limitations – there is unavoidable questions of how to manage animals that are ageing or unable to be housed long-term. Decision-making around euthanasia is complex and involves input from many members of the zoo community. We have been investigating this decision-making and the practices of different Australasian institutions, as well as the associated perspectives of zoo employees.

Meaningful Citizen Action and Enhanced Climate and Ocean Literacy

Title: Meaningful citizen action and enhanced climate and ocean literacy are necessary to change the tide

Author: Carlos Drews, Ocean Wise

More information: The lack of widespread climate and ocean literacy and of opportunities for citizen action are in the way of amplifying the collective impact of positive, individual choices that mitigate climate change and benefit ocean health. In the absence of a large environmentally literate constituency, there is little power to influence decisions and change behaviors that matter, the heart of the mission of Ocean Wise. 

The Power of Alliances as a Tool for Conservation

Title: The Power of Alliances as a Tool for Conservation

Author: Greg Tully, Pan African Sanctuary Alliance (PASA)

More information: Worldwide, organisations working to protect the same species in the same regions are notorious for failing to collaborate. The Pan African Sanctuary Alliance (PASA), the largest association of wildlife centres in Africa, uses a model of cooperation that has proven highly successful and has been copied around the world. Its 23 member organisations in 13 countries are securing a future for Africa’s primates by working to stop the illegal wildlife trade, protecting wild primate populations and habitat, rescuing, rehabilitating, and reintroducing apes and monkeys, and educating and empowering communities.

Advocacy for All –Engaging Audiences

Title: Advocacy for All – Engaging our Audiences to Support Endangered Species Through On-grounds Campaigns

Author: Peter Gilson, San Diego Zoo Global 

More information: As zoos and aquariums deepen their commitments to conservation, activating our collective audience  has come to the forefront of both discussion and innovation. Engaging guests in on-grounds advocacy campaigns is an increasingly popular strategy, but requires important organisational, logistical and legal considerations.  In this session, we will present the steps required to move your organisation towards activating your audience as advocates to support your conservation mission. 

Changing the Zoological Community from Within

Title: Changing the Zoological Community from Within to Better Serve Animals, Their Interests, Protection and Welfare

Author: James F Gesualdi, San Diego Zoo Global Academy

More information: The zoological community must change from within to better serve animals, their interests, protection and welfare given heightened public awareness and concern about animals. Measures which evidence sound and ethical management upholding the public trust include: mission statements, animal welfare policies and plans, governance, ongoing proactive daily practices to continually improve animal welfare, disclosures and reporting, transforming challenges into opportunities, and engaging others. 

Social Lab of Conservation

Title: Social Lab of Conservation: A Strategy for Creating Interpretive Modules Hand in Hand with Communities and Enhancing our Impact in Conservation

Author: Robert Arango Lopez, Zoological Foundation of Cali

More information: Currently, the world’s zoos focus their efforts on reconnecting society with the natural and cultural heritage of their territories. To achieve this, we have developed the Social Conservation Laboratories (LSC), which, through collective, concerted and transdisciplinary intervention processes, promote knowledge, understanding and valuation of socio-environmental issues, to conserve, restore or transform them, building agreements for guarantee the conditions that make possible life in a territory.

Subspecies distribution of giraffe

Title: Subspecies Distribution of Giraffe

Author: Alex Mascarell Llosa, Parc Zoològic de Barcelona

More information: A representation of the geographic distribution of the various giraffe species, as well as their categories on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 

Shark Species Knowledge Index

Title: Shark Species Knowledge Index – Illustrated by the sand tiger shark (Carcharias taurus)


Rikke Oegelund Nielsena,b, Rita da Silvaa,b,c, Dalia A. Condea,b,c

aDepartment of Biology, University of Southern Denmark, Campusvej 55, 5230 Odense M, Denmark. bSpecies360 Conservation Science Alliance, 7900
International Drive, Suite 1040, Bloomington, MN 55425, USA. cInterdisciplinary Centre on Population Dynamics, University of Southern Denmark, 5230 Odense  M, Denmark

More information: We collected data on demography, biological traits, primarily biodiversity data, and genetics for all sharks to find knowledge gaps. For 72%, half or less, of the data were available. These data can be re-used to support decision making for ex-situ and in-situ conservation, by aquariums and global conventions and treaties.

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