Policy on Animal Shows, Contact and Training

WRS believes that animal shows/contact are among the most valuable, unforgettable and educational experiences that visitors can enjoy while visiting WRS. The animal shows/contact will mainly focus on fostering, educating and conveying conservation awareness of endangered species of fauna and flora.

While all shows/contact will have an entertainment component, which is important in gaining the attention of the general public, ultimately they should convey love and respect for animals as well as a strong biodiversity conservation message.

Behaviour featured in animal shows, contact and training will be based on the natural behaviour of the species involved and their spontaneous interaction with humans. The dressing up of animals or making the animals perform unnatural acts that demean them will be strictly prohibited.

Animal welfare will be given the highest priority in all shows, contact and training, strictly following the five basic principles of animal welfare: freedom from hunger and thirst; freedom from thermal and physical discomfort; freedom from pain, disease or injury; freedom to express normal behaviour; freedom from fear and distress.

Safety of visitors, animals and staff will be given the highest priority in all shows, contact and training, strictly following the existing WRS SOP protocol.

All animals involved in shows, contact and training will be screened annually for communicable zoonotic diseases. All animal caretakers who are involved in shows/contact and training will be screened annually for communicable diseases (eg. TB, viral hepatitis, parasitic diseases, etc.). Staff and visitors with visible signs of illness (eg. cold, flu, etc) will be prevented from working or approaching the animals.

Animals that are used in shows, contact and training will be returned to their social groups or to other companion animals where applicable. Animals should not be exhausted and will not be used in shows/contact and training lasting more than 45 minutes in a single session.

Animals will not be removed prematurely from their mothers for the purpose of shows, contact and training.

Animals that are heavily imprinted on humans and that do not have the desire to socialize with their own species will be kept in suitable enclosures. Only adequately trained staff who maintain high standards of animal welfare and ethics will be allowed to handle animals that are used in shows, contact and training.

Positive reinforcements will be used to train/condition animals that are used in shows, contact and training. Animals cannot be cruelly punished (including punching, beating, kicking, slapping and other bodily harm) and disciplined for cooperation in animal shows, contact and training. Strict disciplinary action including suspension and termination will be enforced on staff who violate this policy. Operant conditioning will be developed and used as much as possible.

Shows, contact and training will be mainly done in the premises of WRS facilities. However, occasional animal appearances outside WRS facilities may be permitted with the approval of senior management and the relevant government authorities, without compromising the well-being of the animals.

The Animal Welfare & Ethics Committee or an expert appointed will review shows, contact and training annually as well as evaluate the physical and psychological well- being of all animals involved. Any animals that are found unsuitable for shows, contact and training will be immediately relocated to their own social group to other companion animals or a suitable retirement facility to ensure that they receive proper professional care.