At this special occasion, WAZA presents a commemorative volume, highlighting milestones in the history and development of an international representation of the zoo and aquarium community for the years 1935 to 2012.
Click on the below image to leaf through the first pages of the book:
After more than seven decades of its formal establishment, it is time to look at historical facts in order to better understand where the international zoo and aquarium community and WAZA stands today.
After rather informal meetings of German zoo directors in the 19th century, a more international group of directors formed the so-called “Conference of Directors of Zoological Gardens of Central Europe”. This was the real predecessor of WAZA; this group started to meet in the early 1920s and changed the name at the meeting in 1935 to “International Association of Directors of Zoological Gardens”. At this founding meeting of what was later called IUDZG and subsequently WZO and finally WAZA, a constitutional legal basis was adopted.
Via enhancing international cooperation, conservation was on top of the agenda of all meetings since the very early days and WAZA also made very clear political statements, for instance about the plans to build a bridge over an internationally important wetland, Lake Neusiedl in Austria, or giant panda conservation in China. During the research for this book, the founding document of IUCN surfaced and showed that WAZA (previously IUDZG) was one of the founding members of IUCN (previously IUPN) in 1948 at Fontainebleau, France.
Since then the relationship with IUCN remained an important one, today documented by a working agreement and even the location of the WAZA Executive Office in the IUCN Conservation Centre in Gland, Switzerland. IUCN Director General, Julia Marton-Lefèvre, says: “As is the case with all organisations that have a long and rich history, IUCN and WAZA have had to reform and reinvent themselves along the way to become the truly modern global conservation networks that they are today. In doing so, both have built on a simple but powerful idea: by working together, we can achieve more. On behalf of the entire IUCN family, I warmly congratulate WAZA on its 77thanniversary. Today, more than ever, IUCN and WAZA stand United for Conservation.”