ABWAK News & Events

ABWAK Symposium 2024

ABWAK's 50th Anniversary Symposium at ZSL London Zoo

2nd & 3rd March 2024

This year we are planning something truly spectacular, the Symposium to beat all others for our 50th anniversary celebrations! And where better to host than historic London Zoo which was a key institution in the founding of ABWAK.

The ZSL team have pulled out all the stops to deliver our delegates with an amazing selection of workshops and behind the scenes tours, optional Twilight Tours, and providing the magnificent Prince Albert Suite for the weekend venue for both daytime and evening events.  The Symposium will have the usual two days of presentations with expert speakers, debates and the opportunity to network with fellow animal keepers.

FREE ZOO ENTRY - ZSL will also be offering free entry to delegates on Friday 1st and Monday 4th, just show your booking confirmation email on arrival.  This gives you plenty of additional time to look around the collection without missing any of the Symposium!

Booking will initially be open for ABWAK members only at a subsidised early bird rate of £120 - there are only 100 of these tickets available so hurry up and get yours!  After this, tickets will be £140 for ABWAK members, £170 for BIAZA members, and £200 for non-members.  (ABWAK membership still only costs £30 per year - you do the maths!)  Bookings will close on 15th February.

This year's tickets are all inclusive of the Saturday night dinner with disco, giving you the chance to network (party) with other keepers, and win fabulous raffle prizes.


As this is our 5oth anniversary, we will be looking back on the beginnings of ABWAK and zookeeping with a "Then and Now" theme, plus a look to the future of the zoo industry, conservation and research.  We already have some top notch speakers confirmed for the event, including:

  • Jonathan Barzdo, founder of ABWAK
  • Danny de Man, EAZA
  • Martin Zordan, WAZA
  • Nicky Needham, BIAZA

Plus, many hard working zookeepers like you, sharing insights in to their work and their animals.

The draft programme will be available to view here soon.


There are fantastic workshops to choose from this year.  These sessions will be repeated on both days meaning that delegates will be lucky enough to be able to attend two - the difficulty will be trying to decide which two as they all offer an incredible learning opportunity.

Please choose your top 3 options on your booking form and we will endeavour to place you in two of your selections depending on capacity available for each workshop. Alternatively you can choose free time to look around the fabulous animal collection on site.  Make sure you look at the list of workshops (below) so you know what titles to write on the booking form.  Download the Workshop Descriptions for more info on each session.

Workshop options are:

  • Managing Live Food
  • Animal Handling and Restraint
  • Library Tour
  • Enclosure Design
  • Managing Walkthrough Animal Exhibits
  • The Changing needs of suddenly Solitary Animals
  • Pest Control in Challenging Environments
  • London Zoo Listed Buildings Tour
  • Animal Based Outputs in Animal Management
  • Visitor Engagement
  • Hoof Stock back of house Tour
  • Predators back of house Tour
  • Birds back of house Tour
  • Primates back of house tour
Saturday Night Dinner and Optional Twilight Tours Session

This year's evening event will also be held in the magnificent Prince Albert Suite from 7p.m.  A selection of popular street food served buffet style plus an ice-cream station to follow, with bar, DJ, table quiz and our annual charity raffle with phenomenal prizes to win and all proceeds going towards ZSL's chosen wildlife charity.  Your Symposium ticket will include the price of the evening dinner and entertainment.

In addition our usual Saturday night social event, we are offering an optional Twilight Tours Session from 5:30 - 7pm in the zoo.  This is also included in the ticket price and if you decide to join us, you will be some of the first visitors to see ZSL's brand new state of the art reptile and amphibian exhibit.  Plus the chance to join guided Twilight Tours around the zoo after hours.

Accommodation and Travel

There are hundreds of hotel and accommodation options in London.  ZSL have provided a list of some hotels in the neighbouring areas (although please note that room prices are only a guide) and would also advise checking Airbnb for alternatives.  Hotel List

IMPORTANT NOTE - there will be NO PARKING at the zoo for delegates.  Please use public transport to travel to the Symposium.  There will be a cloakroom for luggage storage in the venue if needed.

ABWAK will be endeavouring to buddy up groups of delegates travelling back to same hotels after the Saturday night social event which is due to finish by 11pm.

ABWAK Grants

As the cost of travel and accommodation has increased along with everything else in life, we have developed a brand new grant for ABWAK members to attend the Symposium.  There will be a limited number of these grants available.  Log in to the members' area on our website and go to the Grants page for more info and application forms.

COVID Safety

Please read our COVID safety guidance for attending our events.

Book Event

Speaker Ticket
Available Tickets: 14

Ticket for CONFIRMED Symposium speakers ONLY - ticket price includes Saturday evening dinner

The Speaker Ticket ticket is sold out. You can try another ticket or another date.
ABWAK Member Ticket
Available Tickets: 61

Ticket for ABWAK members ONLY - price includes Saturday evening dinner

The ABWAK Member Ticket ticket is sold out. You can try another ticket or another date.
BIAZA Member Ticket
Available Tickets: 138

For keepers from BIAZA collections - Ticket price includes Saturday evening dinner

The BIAZA Member Ticket ticket is sold out. You can try another ticket or another date.
Non-Member Ticket
Available Tickets: 138

Ticket price includes Saturday evening dinner

The Non-Member Ticket ticket is sold out. You can try another ticket or another date.


Mar 02 - 03 2024


All Day
ZSL London Zoo


ZSL London Zoo


Adam Douglass