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Fota Wildlife Park to Host Important Zoological Conference This Week

Fota Wildlife Park in Cork is set to be the centre of the Zoological World when it hosts the BIAZA (British and Irish association of Zoos and Aquariums) AGM on June 10th & 11th.

Fota Wildlife Park, a leading contributor to conservation is hosting the conference in the Clarion Hotel in Cork City and it will be the first time the BIAZA AGM will be held outside of the UK. BIAZA is the professional body representing the leading zoos, wildlife parks and aquariums in Britain and Ireland, their member collections pride themselves on their excellent animal welfare, education and conservation work.

Speaking about the conference Fota Wildlife Park Director Sean McKeown said "we are honoured to be hosting the AGM and look forward to showcasing both Fota Wildlife Park and Cork to the Zoological people in Britain and Ireland". The conference brings together 100 of the decision makers from the associations members and they will be discussing this year's theme ‘Evidence, Evidence -basing decisions and actions on a sound foundation'.

Director of BIAZA Miranda Stevenson is hoping that the conference will be a great success "it is very important that our members base their decisions on evidence and Fota Wildlife Park has arranged some fantastic speakers to discuss this topic including the President of University College Cork, Dr Michael Murphy". Dr Murphy will be joined by Sir Drummond Bone, President of BIAZA, Sir Nicholas Steele ex President Worldwide and Anthony Woods of the Worldwide Trust as one of the key speakers.

One of the main areas for discussion over the two days will be the area of conservation, BIAZA members have supported 735 projects (130 of which were native) with a contribution of £10 million in 2009. Fota Wildlife Park is a key player in this, contributing funds and also reintroducing animals back into the wild.

In the past number of years Fota Wildlife Park has sent European Bison and Scimitar Horned Oryx back in to the wild in Poland and Tunisia respectively. In the case of the European Bison, In April 2008 four of Fota's were sent to a region in Poland, called the Komacza Forest District.

The four females that were sent are now part of a wild herd of bison, roaming free. Staff at Fota are now looking forward to showing two new female Bison calves to the BIAZA members on Friday that may be included in the next reintroduction.

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