From May 15 to 19, 1996, the Inaugural Event of the European Association of Zoo and Wildlife Veterinarians (EAZWV) took place at Rostock-Kühlungsborn in the German Land Mecklenburg Vorpommern. The event was attended by 150 active participants and about 50 accompanying persons. It included the meeting of the Constitutional Assembly, ten scientific sessions, the first meeting of the General Assembly and an excursion to Schwerin zoo, and was complemented by an attractive social programme.
< Udo Nagel, Director of Rostock Zoo and local organiser of the 1st EAZWV Meeting
The Constitutional Assembly adopted, with a few changes, the Constitution prepared and presented by Peter Dollinger (Switzerland). The Association was thus established under the Swiss Civil Code, as a non-profit organisation with International membership which aims at promoting the advancement of veterinary knowledge and skill in the field of zoo and wild animals, improving the husbandry of zoo animals and the management of wild animals populations, and contributing to the comradeship amongst its Members.
A wide range of possible activities was defined. Among other things, it is intended to hold the scientific meetings at biannual intervals in those years in which no International Symposium on Diseases of Zoo and Wild Animals will be organised by the Institute of Zoo and Wildlife Research, Berlin.
Membership of the Association will be open to any person or organisation interested in or involved in veterinary aspects of captive and free living wild animals, and who wishes to promote the aims and objectives of the Association. Various membership categories and their voting rights in the General Assembly were defined. The Assembly agreed the EAZWV shall join the World Association of Wildlife Veterinarians as an Active Member.
Peter Dollinger from the Swiss Federal Veterinary Office (now WAZA), prepared the draft constitution >
After some discussion, it was agreed that the Board will consist of the following offices: President, Vice President, Past President, Secretary, Editor of the Proceedings, Treasurer, Vice Treasurer, Host of the past General Assembly, and Host of the next General Assembly. The terms of office are two years, whereby Secretary, Editor, Treasurer and Vice Treasurer may be re-elected.
Existing national or regional veterinary associations already existing in Europe may join the Association as sections, and as such will be represented in the Advisory Board. There is also a possibility to establish regional or specialist sections from within the Association.
The first Board of the Association was composed as follows: Prof. dr. Klaus Eulenber from Leipzig (Germany) was elected President. Peter Dollinger from Berne (Switzerland) and Peer Zwart from Utrecht (The Netherlands) were confirmed as Secretary respectively editor of the Proceedings. Udo Nagel from Rostock (Germany) and Alex Rübel from Zürich (Switzerland), being the past and the next host of the General Assembly, will be ex officio members of Working Group of German Speaking Zoo Veterinarians formally applied for and were granted Collective Membership as sections of the EAZWV.
< Rudolf Ippen, the father of the Symposium on Diseases of Zoo and Wild Animals
The assembly agreed to a Membership fee of DEM 60 or CHF 50 for the remainder of the years 1996, with reductions for students and members from countries where the income of veterinarians is clearly below the European average (DEM 30 or CHF 25 for these categories). The Assembly also agreed to hold the next General Meeting in May 1997 at Zurich, i.e. in conjunction with the 38th International Symposium on Disease in Zoo and Wild Animals. Several invitation were received for the 1998 Meeting. These will have to be examined by the Board. The Assembly also agreed on the following main topics to be dealt with at the 1998 meeting:
Diagnostic of Infectious Diseases
Zoonoses Risk for Veterinarians and other zoo staff.
In addition to the 142 person who joined the Association during the Rostock Meeting, 46 had sent their regrets together with a written declaration of accession to the interim Secretary. 17 of the Founder Members are students, mostly from Germany. Membership includes nationals of 18 countries, mostly European but also Israel, South Africa and the USA are represented. 46% of the Full, Associate or Free Members come from Germany, 13% from Switzerland, 10% from France, 6% from Austria, 5% from the Netherlands and also 5% from UK.
During the scientific session, 38 papers were presented, the main topics having been "New development in anaesthesia" and "Diseases and husbandry of marine mammals and sea birds". Among the "Free papers", issues on primates and elephants were particularly popular, In addition to the lectures, a "Question and Answers" session and a poster session were held. The proceeding of the Rostock Meeting (294 pages) may be obtained from Rostock Zoo, Rennbahnallee 21, D-18059 Rostock (fax + +49-381-4934400), against payment of DEM 100 plus mailing costs.
< While the days are devoted to science, the evenings serve to improve the inter-humane relationships
In 1998 the Congress took place in Chester, United Kingdom, in 2000 in Paris, France. In conjunction with the International Symposium on Diseases of Zoo and Wild Animals, in uneven years, the EAZWV General Assembly took place 1997 in Zurich, 1999 in Vienna and will take place 2001 in Rotterdam. At these venues, EAZWV grants awards for the best presentations by students / post-graduate students and for the best poster.
EAZWV closely co-operates with EAZA, the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria, to improve the zoo legislation of the European Union and to reinforce the efforts of advancing knowledge on animal husbandry practices in Eastern European zoos. This concernes primarily the BALAI Directive. EAZWV offered expert advice to the Office International des Epizooties (OIE) for the preparation of International Animal Health Code recommendations for non-human primates. Another partner is the Veterinary Specialist Group of IUCN's Species Survival Commission, whose publications are financially supported. Conservation-related issues were one of the main themes at the Paris 2000 Meeting (e.g. presentations on the re-introduction of the bearded vulture into the alps, of scimitar-horned oryx in Tunisia, of Przewalski horses into the Mongolian Gobi etc.)