Zoos call for post-Brexit Ireland-UK cooperation on endangered animals

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Zoos and aquariums on both sides of the Irish border have written to the Taoiseach and the UK Prime Minister, asking them to reach an agreement that would help conservation programmes.

It comes as BIAZA (the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums) says it saw 48 animals transferred between homes in UK and EU zoos and aquariums in 2021, up from 1,400 in 2019.

In response to this, they wrote to Micheál Martin and Boris Johnson in the hope that their respective governments would reach an agreement called a “sanitary and phytosanitary” or SPS agreement, which could allow the transfer of endangered zoo animals. disappearance levels seen before Brexit.

The group, which includes Dublin, Fota and Belfast zoos, says work to conserve endangered animals now faces incredible challenges due to a lack of alignment between the EU and the UK. United.

Dublin Zoo CEO Christoph Schwitzer said: “It is imperative that the UK and the European Commission find a solution so that good zoos and aquariums can continue their work to save species from extinction.”

Conservation breeding programs are an important part of the conservation work of zoos and aquariums. Breeding programs in Ireland include that of the critically endangered lemon-crested cockatoo and Geoldi’s monkey at Dublin Zoo, Colobus monkeys and Francois’s langurs coordinated by Belfast Zoo, and cheetahs and lechwe, coordinated by the animal park of Fota.

In addition to these programmes, the Ireland and Northern Zoo Group pursue other forms of important conservation work to save species from extinction.

Last month, while delivering a keynote speech at the final National Biodiversity Conference at Dublin Castle, Mr Martin said he was considering cooperation with Britain as part of a three-way approach aimed at combating the loss of biodiversity.

He said only a pan-Irish approach in tune with the North will reverse the damage done to the natural world, adding that “biodiversity does not recognize borders”.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), approximately 16,300 species are threatened with extinction worldwide.

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