ASHEBORO, NC - The Pan African Association of Zoos and Aquaria (PAAZB) has presented its 2011 Chairman's Award to North Carolina Zoo Director David Jones for assistance to the Association and its objectives.

The award recognizes Jones for initiating work to modernize, refurbish and rebuild the historic Giza Zoo in Cairo--the National Zoo of Egypt. Following similar work assisting zoos in Kabul, Afghanistan, and Baghdad, Iraq, Jones began working in partnership with PAAZB to assist the Giza Zoo in modernizing facilities, upgrading its animal husbandry and improving training for management and staff.

Teams from a number of South African zoos took part in advisory and training sessions in Cairo over the last year. Funding for the project was raised by Jones and the N.C. Zoological Society, the N.C. Zoo's private, nonprofit support organization. PAAZB has ongoing programs aimed at assisting some of Africa's zoos in need of improvement to come up to modern international standards.

Jones serves as Vice-Chairman of the Ethics and Welfare Committee of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums and has taken a long interest in trying to establish ways in which zoos needing improvement can obtain help. Following a long zoo career in England, Jones has served as the N.C. Zoo's director since 1993.

"The issue is that of the roughly 10,000 animal collections around the world that we believe to be in existence, 90 percent do not come up to the standards of the top 10 percent," Jones said. "The public is now far more critical than they used to be about the ways that animals are kept in captivity, and the day is fast-coming where, for most countries, higher standards of animal care and welfare are going to be required for anyone operating a zoological park to continue."

The N.C. Zoo is an agency of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Dee A. Freeman, Secretary; Beverly E. Perdue, Governor.