In April 2019, Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust hosted the Directors’ Days conference with the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA). The event welcomed over 130 zoo directors from across Europe who come together for this annual conference, which in 2019 was themed around Conservation and Operational Leadership.
The European Association of Zoos and Aquaria is the membership organization of the most progressive zoos and aquariums across Europe and the Middle East. EAZA brings together over 400 Members from 47 countries to collaborate on nature conservation, zoological research and education.
The aim of this EAZA Directors’ Days meeting was to highlight that zoos and aquaria can show leadership in conservation and to encourage the community to set ambitious targets for greater conservation impact, to truly show the power of what can be achieved.
I wanted to host this event in Jersey as it is our 60th anniversary year and it is very apt that the theme of this meeting is conservation leadership. From its very beginnings Jersey Zoo, and thereafter the whole Trust, has only ever had one mission, that of saving species from extinction. We were the first zoo in the world to be founded for the purposes of conservation and continue to pursue conservation through everything we do, be that saving species and ecosystems in the wild, connecting people to nature, or training the conservationists of the future, all underpinned with exemplary science, monitoring and evaluation.
This commitment and leadership in conservation is costly and difficult, but it pays off, and multiple avoided extinctions are the result, something of which we and our partners are truly proud. The next few years will see this commitment and effort increase, as we go through a step-change of scaling up our activities in line with our Rewild our World strategy. However, we are confident that this will happen, simply because we have no choice, the planet needs all of us to step up and do more.
The three-day event programme included an icebreaker drinks reception at the Maritime Museum, the conference at the Radisson Blu Waterfront Hotel, dining at the Radisson Blu Waterfront Hotel, a gala dinner at The Grand Jersey Hotel and a visit to Jersey Zoo and red-billed chough reintroduction site at Sorel.