Zoo & Aquarium Field Conservation

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Conservation is good!

The AZA Field Conservation Committee (FCC) paraphrases the definition of "Field Conservation" as action that helps secure the long-term survival of species in natural ecosystems and habitats. AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums coordinate, participate, or support conservation projects that: directly support field work, species recovery, veterinary care for wildlife disease issues, and assurance populations; focus in situ and ex situ research on ways to protect species or ecosystems in the wild; and increase opportunities to increase conservation awareness, advocacy, action, capacity and fundraising.  Read the complete definition of "Field Conservation".

Annual Report on Conservation Science

The AZA Annual Report on Conservation Science (ARCS) illustrates the substantial collective effort AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums dedicate towards direct field conservation. AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums serve as conservation centers that are concerned about ecosystem health, take responsibility for species survival, contribute to research, conservation, and education, and provide society the opportunity to develop personal connections with the animals in their care. These esteemed institutions play a vital role in maintaining our planet’s diverse wildlife and natural habitats while engaging the public to appreciate and participate in conservation.

Traditionally, each Annual Report summarized the substantial collective effort AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums dedicate towards field conservation, education programs, research studies, and green practices; however from 2010-2012 each Annual Report focused exclusively on those projects that have a direct conservation impact for animals in the wild. 2012 data were submitted by 179 of AZA’s 238 accredited institutions and certified-related facilities who spent approximately $160 million on about 2,750 conservation initiatives in more than 100 countries!  The following is a list of those institutions that contributed the most as a percentage of their budget:


International Crane Foundation  Alaska Sealife Center  Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) 
Bramble Park Zoo Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo Zoo Boise
Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center New England Aquarium Smithsonian National Zoological Park
Gladys Porter Zoo  National Aviary Tracy Aviary
Memphis Zoo Aquarium of the Bay Monterey Bay Aquarium 
Audubon Aquarium of the Americas North Carolina Zoological Park Minnesota Zoological Garden
Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo Denver Zoological Gardens Fossil Rim Wildlife Center
Zoo Atlanta     Sacramento Zoo Woodland Park Zoo
Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens Temaiken Foundation  Naples Zoo
Houston Zoo, Inc. Brevard Zoo South Carolina Aquarium
Phoenix Zoo Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Center Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo
Lincoln Park Zoo Santa Barbara Zoological Gardens San Diego Zoo Global
Dallas World Aquarium Texas State Aquarium Cosley Zoo
Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium Saint Louis Zoo  


One of the goals of the AZA’s Field Conservation Committee is to significantly increase the amount of resources being committed to field conservation, and a toolkit was created to help zoos and aquariums find new ways to accomplish this. The toolkit consolidates an array of information including the definition of field conservation, AZA's conservation–related accreditation standards and application questions, guidelines on how to develop an “Institutional Conservation Strategic Plan”, ideas for developing dedicated revenue streams, examples of how to engage your organization, and ways in which organizations can promote their field conservation initiatives. Download the Toolkit for Increasing Field Conservation Contributions

Download the ARCS Reports:

From 2010-2012, AZA’s Annual Report on Conservation Science focused exclusively on field conservation activities that have a direct impact on animals in the wild. Data on other areas of conservation activity were not collected during that time, and AZA staff worked with the AZA Research and Technology Committee, Green Scientific Advisory Group, and Conservation Education Committee to develop survey instruments to target the following areas (click below for copies of available surveys):

These surveys will collect data beginning with 2013 activities.