On the Indonesian island of Bali, the 30th SEAZA (Southeast Asian Association of Zoos and Aquariums) conference was held at the Bali Safari Park and Marine Park, located in the Gianyar Regency of Bali. The 40-hectare park is home to more than a thousand animals of 120 species. It is world-renowned for its conservation and breeding program for rare species, including endangered Komodo dragons, orangutans, Balinese starlings, Sumatran elephants, Sumatran tigers, and others.
SEAZA has about 200 institutional members from Southeast Asia consisting of conservation groups and zoos.
“Each year SEAZA holds an annual conference with members and delegates from various zoos in Asia, America, the Middle East and Europe. This year, Perhimpunan Kebun Binatang Se-Indonesia (PKBSI)/Indonesian Zoo and Aquarium Association (IZAA) is organizing the 30th SEAZA Conference 2022.
Bali, known worldwide as the “Island of the Gods,” was chosen as the venue based on its reputation as a tourist destination. Rahmat explained that Bali is known for its beautiful natural scenery, traditions, art and culture. In addition, The Island has extensive experience in hosting international conferences.
Before the SEAZA conference in mid-November 2022, Bali hosted the G-20 Summit, which was attended by the leaders of 19 countries. Bali has also proven its ability to implement medical protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
In his opening remarks at the conference, Rahmat Shah said there are ten PKBSI member-run facilities in Bali that SEAZA conference participants can visit. The conference is intended to be a forum for participants to discuss and exchange views and create networks for a better future in conservation organizations.
The theme chosen for this year’s SEAZA conference is “Stronger Together for Sustainable Conservation and Ecotourism.” This theme reflects a shared enthusiasm for combating the Covid-19 pandemic that has been raging around the world for the past two years.
Rahmat hopes that through this theme, all parties will learn that unity is the key to building group spirit toward a brighter future. Rahmat reminded everyone that the global pandemic affects not only health, but all industries, including the tourism industry and environmental organizations. Adding, “The responsibility of caring for and protecting animals rests on our shoulders.”
Willem Manansang, chairman of the 30th SEAZA Organizing Committee for Animal Welfare and Ethics, said 174 participants from 20 countries are attending the conference.
Participants will share their experiences, knowledge and success stories, including strategies for dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic crisis. SEAZA members will also demonstrate the role organizations can play. Bali was chosen as the venue in hopes of increasing tourist numbers.
In addition, the minister of environment, either virtually or in person, attended the conference.