Learn about the 5 domains for Animal Welfare 

 And the ALPZA and WAZA certifications that accredit our work 

If you have visited parks such as XcaretXel-Há, and others of Grupo Xcaret, you have surely seen that there are some activities and attractions that have animals that are often highly admired by all visitors. Well, behind these habitats, there is a team specialized in their care that ensures that they have what we call Animal Welfare. Read on to find out everything about this and how we handle it at Grupo Xcaret. 

Before starting to talk about how we work at Xcaret, you must know that Animal Welfare is a complex issue with multiple scientific, ethical, economic, cultural, social, religious, and political dimensions. There is a World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), which is the intergovernmental organization in charge of improving animal health in the world. 

What is Animal Welfare? 

According to OIE international standards, Animal Welfare designates “the physical and mental state of an animal concerning the conditions in which it lives and dies.”  

The concept of Animal Welfare includes three elements: 

1.- The proper functioning of the organism which, among other things, means that the animals are healthy and well-fed. 

2.- The emotional state of the animal including the absence of negative emotions such as pain and fear. 

3.- The possibility of expressing some normal behaviors typical of the species. 

The three principles discussed above appear collected in various “official” definitions. The OIE considers that they are in a state of well-being when they are in good health, have a comfortable mood, are well fed and can also express their innate behavior, and do not suffer from pain, fear, or stress. 

ALPZA and WAZA certifications 

There are two international certifications called WAZA and ALPZA dedicated to certifying that companies with specimens under humane care carry out Animal Welfare in the correct way. At Grupo Xcaret, we are proud to communicate that we are one of the only 5 companies in Mexico that have managed to become certified with both. 

Learn a little more about each one: 

ALPZA is the Latin American Association of Zoological Parks and Aquariums, it is the most important regional organization that includes the most prestigious and influential zoological institutions in Latin America. As such, its function is to facilitate the associativity of its members, as well as to promote their integral development, with a focus on the conservation of biodiversity, animal welfare, and environmental education. Learn more on their website: https://www.alpza.com/  

WAZA is the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The objective of this association is to guide, encourage and support the world’s zoos, aquariums, and like-minded organizations in the care and welfare of animals, environmental education, and global conservation. Read more about them on their site: https://www.waza.org/ 

In addition to this, what is Animal Welfare at Grupo Xcaret? 

For us, it refers to the state of the specimens in our care, it includes aspects of their physiological state, mental state, and the satisfaction of their behavioral needs to interact positively with their environment. The actions that guarantee the welfare of the specimens are based on the model of the 5 domains that seek to generate challenging and positive experiences for them and are included within our management policies.  

Important: Well-being is not synonymous with health. Indeed, health is a very important aspect of well-being, but the concept of well-being is broader and includes other aspects. 

The 5 Animal Welfare Domains of Grupo Xcaret 

The Global Strategy for Zoos and Aquariums for Animal Welfare has published a model called: The 5 Domains. This model outlines all those needs that a specimen requires (under human care) to achieve its well-being and are the following: 

1.- Nutrition: 

We have a veterinarian specialized in nutrition who determines and guarantees a balanced diet according to the physiological needs and activities of each species, ensuring that food and water are available when the specimens need it. 

2.- Health: 

We have preventive medical programs and we ensure specialized veterinary medical services according to the needs of each specimen to guarantee their health under our care. 

3.- Environment:  

We provide them with suitable habitats according to the biology of each specimen, in such a way that it responds to their needs for stimuli, shelter, and security. 

4.- Conduct: 

We provide all the conditions in their habitats so that the specimens can express their social and individual behaviors according to the characteristics of each species. And, above all, that they can express natural behaviors. 

5.- Experience: 

This domain refers to the mental and physical stimulation that helps to develop their abilities through the so-called enrichment that can be: environmental, cognitive, sensory, and nutritional  We offer spaces that guarantee the development of search behavior, socialization, play, reward, and relationship with their environment, in such a way that the specimens choose how they want to interact with visitors. 

The Fauna population of Grupo Xcaret has high standards of Animal Welfare that guarantee their physical, functional and mental health based on compliance with the “The Five Domains” Model. 

Bonus: we share these photos of some of the tender babies that we have recently had in Xcaret, aren’t they beautiful?