This confirms the Park as an international leading wildlife park.
These were the remarks by Port Moresby Nature Park’s General Manager, Michelle McGeorge, at the acknowledgement and thank you breakfast hosted by the Park for its sponsors, donors and partners and all that the park has been able to achieve through their support.
In attendance was President of the World Association of Zoos and CEO of Zoos Victoria, Dr Jenny Gray, who emphasised the significant role that zoos play in the conservation of wildlife and the natural environment.
“The accreditation process requires that a park have world class system. The Australasian accreditation system is the best in the world, it is significantly better than the American and European systems,” stated Dr Gray.
“The fact that you at Port Moresby Nature Park have done the Australasian accreditation system, you have now passed the hardest one in the world and that is an incredible achievement.
“You have one of the finest animal collections I have ever seen. It is extraordinary. There is no accredited zoo on the planet that has eight Bird of Paradise species on display. You have tree kangaroos that no one else has, you have wallabies that no one else has. Your wildlife is incredible and unique.”
In the seven years of the Park’s operation, over K7 million in cash and in-kind has been spent in the redevelopment of the Nature Park’s facilities with majority derived through direct sponsorship support.
Nature Park has ran and hosted over 60 community awareness events at the Park from the first World Environment Day to the schools Creepy Critter Weeks, to the last school holiday program Snaketastic! The park’s visitation by the end of this year will reach an anticipated 140,000.
The park has reached over 900,000 visitors through the gates and potentially millions more through media reach.
Additionally, of the 80,000 international visitors who visit this country annually, whether for business, tourism, or visiting friends and family; 1 in 5 of those will visit the Nature Park, making Nature Park the highest-visited single attraction in PNG for both the international and domestic markets.
During this period, the park’s commitment to wildlife and providing best-practice wildlife husbandry and care has been paramount and is evident in the exhibits, staff training and development, and in memberships with the Australasian Society of Zoo Keepers, the Zoo & Aquarium Association of Australasia and the International Zoo Educators Association.
McGeorge said: “We want to be PNG’s benchmark for minimum standards and expectations in the care of wildlife held in captivity.
“Achieving best-practice in animal welfare and husbandry has been a big journey. It first started with our commitment and desire to achieve this, and then through the rebuild of our facilities, and the training and ongoing support to develop a strong team of people.
“In 2015, our organisation was granted Associate Membership to the Zoo & Aquarium Association of Australasia, the third only Pacific Island facility to have ever done so.”