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College zoo gains full BIAZA membership

College zoo gains full BIAZA membership  
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Northumberland College’s live tourist attraction Kirkley Hall Zoological Gardens has achieved full membership to the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquaria (BIAZA), a body which shows commitment to animal welfare, education, research and conservation.

The zoo achieved the membership by completing a mentoring scheme with members of two BIAZA associated zoo collections.

All areas of the zoological gardens were assessed during a series of mentor visits including record keeping, welfare of animals, ethical review process, licensing, diets, education and health and safety.

This membership places Kirkley Hall Zoological Gardens in a unique position alongside just two other college collections in the UK that have BIAZA membership and over 100 other leading zoological collections in the UK.

Steven Sykes, Animal Resource Centre Manager at Kirkley Hall Zoological Gardens said: "We have worked very hard since opening three years ago to ensure that we meet the industry standards set by BIAZA. The membership shows the public how committed we are to caring for animals and training students to the highest standards and industry practices.

"Keepers and students work very hard to ensure our animals are happy and healthy and as a centre we work closely with other zoos on breeding programmes and coordinated conservation activities."

Steve Dickie, Head Keeper at Tropical World in Leeds was one of the mentors, he said: "It has been a pleasure mentoring Kirkley Hall Zoological Gardens on behalf of BIAZA, giving advice and guidance where needed and watching it grow and develop into the collection it is today.

"There are exciting plans in place for further development and I will continue to offer my support and guidance as changes are made to this great little zoo."

Kirkley Hall Zoological Gardens provides an excellent learning environment for animal care students who study at Northumberland College's Kirkley Hall Campus. Students learn to work in and manage a realistic environment and have opportunities to practice customer care and showcase their industry knowledge to the public.

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