This week’s Animal Marketing Podcast features Dr. Don Moore, MPA, PhD, TWS Certified Wildlife Biologist and Director of the Oregon Zoo and his perspective on the state of wildlife conservation, animal welfare, and the future of zoo management across the country. Don has over 40 years of experience in his field: previously a senior scientist and advisor at the Smithsonian National Zoo, he also has experience working in the Bronx Zoo and other accredited zoos before coming to the Oregon Zoo in 2016 to serve as its Director.
The Oregon Zoo’s mission is seemingly simple: “to foster community pride and involvement in the Oregon Zoo and to secure financial support for the zoo’s conservation, education, and animal welfare programs.” The Oregon Zoo is dedicated to creating a better future for all animals, whether they are inhabitants of the zoos, out in the wild, or in temporary care to increase their ability to survive in the wild. Don admits, however, that the bar is constantly being raised: “Modern zoos are constantly establishing a higher bar, achieving that bar, and moving to the next bar,” he says, referring to the deep peer reviewed process of accreditation that is involved in achieving a legitimate status in accordance with the AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquariums).
Another big challenge that goes beyond the Oregon Zoo’s core mission is changing the perception of zoos worldwide as substandard roadside attractions, with beautiful wild animals encased in concrete boxes in bars. The Oregon Zoo is far from that, serving as a leader in animal conservation, preservation and education. There are over 2800 licensed exhibitors under the USDA animal welfare act in the United States, yet there are only 230 AZA accredited zoos and aquariums that achieve the highest standards like the Oregon Zoo. Don hopes to see the continued renaissance of modern zoos in America so that they are all either AZA accredited, or shut down.
Here are some of the other key points covered in today’s podcast:
What you can expect from The Oregon Zoo as a visitor
The way the Oregon Zoo has used the virality of social media (and adorable animals) as a tool to further educate beyond the walls of the Oregon Zoo
How the Oregon Zoo became the first facility in the entire world to obtain a voluntary blood draw from a polar bear
The importance of collaboration of modern zoos across the nation to benefit animals to the best of their ability
The future of zoos and conservation
It was truly special to speak with Don and listen to his experience and passion behind the Oregon Zoo and its employees’ work. We are honored to have had the opportunity to talk with a leader in the industry of animal conservation and to be able to pass his expertise on to our listeners. If you would like to visit or learn more about the Oregon Zoo, you can find them on all social media channels, or at www.oregonzoo.org.