The manager of the city of Thunder Bay's Parks Division welcomes the prospect of government standards for Ontario's zoos.

The province revealed plans Wednesday to improve regulations to protect animals kept in zoos and aquariums — and may introduce a licensing system.

The changes could help Thunder Bay manage its Chippewa Wildlife Exhibit, said Paul Fayrik.

"If we had a bar … we could judge ourselves against, then we could at least say, ‘yes, we've got room for improvement here, or we're exceeding the standards in these areas’," he said.

"That would certainly help us to answer any concerns that are expressed."

'Occasional' concerns

Fayrik said if the government requires zoos to make changes, he hopes it will allow some time to implement them, especially if capital expenditures are required.

"It would be helpful if we get some advance notice of proposed changes or new legislation so that we can build in a response or operational changes," Fayrik said.

"We are dealing with animals, living beings, and it takes time to make changes, especially if we're looking at capital requirements for cages or other improvements."

He noted that Chippewa Park is a "good operation" that is "not without occasional concerns from visitors about animals in captivity."

"Over the years we have had independent reviews of our operation," Fayrik added.

"We would welcome working with the government to look at licensing so that we can make sure we are taking care of our animals in a humane and proper way."