A NORTH Yorkshire zoo has been awarded world-class status in recognition of its breeding programmes and conservation projects.

Flamingo Land theme park and zoo has been a member of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) and its European counterpart (EAZA) for many years.

BIAZA and EAZA are professional accredited bodies that represent the best zoos in Britian, Ireland and in Europe – and although all zoos must comply with strict government regulations, to be a member of an accreditation body the zoo must comply even more stringent codes of practice.

To qualify zoos must also make significant contributions to animal welfare, research, conservations and education.

A spokesman for Flamingo Land said: “BIAZA and EAZA zoos have very close relationships with one another, collaborating on conservation projects and coordinating animal moves to ensure the success of breeding programmes for endangered species.

“However, breeding programmes and conservation projects are by no means limited to Europe, and many require worldwide collaboration.

“A great example can be seen with our critically endangered Sumatran tigers. With only 500 individuals remaining in the wild, maintaining genetic diversity in captive populations is of paramount importance.

“The father of our female, Surya, was brought over from Adelaide zoo in Australia – a move that would have been impossible without strong worldwide links.

“These are coordinated by WAZA, the World Association of Zoos and Aquaria. With around 250 members worldwide, WAZA represents only truly world-class zoos, and so Flamingo Land is pleased to announce that we have recently been accepted as an institutional member.

“We look forward to the international opportunities that our membership will bring.”