Wellington Zoo’s Chief Executive, Karen Fifield MNZM has been elected to the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) Council and will be Chair of WAZA’s Animal Welfare and Professional Ethics committee. 

Karen Fifield MNZM, Chief Executive at Wellington Zoo

Representatives from global zoos and aquariums voted on the new Council members during the 74th WAZA Annual Conference earlier this month, and Karen is thought to be the first New Zealander elected to the WAZA Council. 

“Wellington Zoo is a world leader in animal welfare as a progressive zoo and I’m thrilled to be representing WAZA members from our part of the world,” said Karen Fifield MNZM, Chief Executive Wellington Zoo. “Wellington Zoo has been a long-standing member of WAZA and I’m really excited to be part of the global discussion to set global standards for animal welfare and our professional ethics as progressive, leading zoos and aquariums.”

The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums is a global alliance that works together with leading conservation-based zoos and aquariums, national and regional zoo and aquarium associations and academic professionals, to provide support on species conservation and welfare of animals in human care; while encouraging the highest standards from member organisations. 

Karen is currently the Chair of the WAZA Sustainability Subcommittee and in October 2017, she was asked to lead a writing team consisting of other WAZA members, to develop a sustainability framework for progressive zoos and aquariums throughout the world. 

“Over the past year and a half we have been developing the WAZA Sustainability Strategy, based on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (Global Goals),” said Karen. “The strategy will include recommendations for WAZA members for each Global Goal and include case studies from members. We are now in the final stages of refining the strategy document and over the next year it will be reviewed by a number of WAZA members before being launched at the annual WAZA conference in 2020.” 

“It’s an honour to be working alongside other leaders in our profession and I’m proud that Wellington Zoo is recognised as an exemplary organisation within the WAZA community.”

Wellington Zoo was the recipient of the WAZA Inaugural Environmental Sustainability Award in 2018.