Climate and Wildlife

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Climate Change is Already Affecting Wildlife - But it's Not Too Late!

The affects of climate change are being felt by biodiversity in every region on earth as is evident through the disruption of animal seasonal migrations, feeding and breeding events, alterations of habitat ranges, decreases in ecosystem functionality, interruptions of food chains, and increases in the incidence of animal parasites and diseases. However, it's not too late to slow or even stop climate change!   

AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums are part of a very unique community that is concerned about species survival and dedicated to making positive changes for their conservation. More than 182 million people also demonstrate their interest for wildlife and conservation by visiting these zoos or aquariums annually and together, we have the ability and power to do something meaningful that will mitigate how climate change is impacting animals, even those in your own backyard.  You can learn more about the scientific basis of climate change through the Climate Change Resources page.

What Can You Do? Take Action!

Imagine how much we could accomplish if everyone joined this conservation community!  It doesn’t take a huge amount of effort or even a financial investment.  The most important thing you can do is to realize that YOU have the power to engage change because conservation begins at home.  Simple decisions made in the 5 main areas of your daily life can make a huge impact for animal conservation. These include:  

  1. Social - Decisions you make and examples you set through your personal and professional social interactions;
  2. Home - The ways you conserve energy and reduce waste in your home;
  3. Dining - The kinds of foods you consume at your dining table and the distance these foods are transported;
  4. Shopping - The things you buy and how you get them from the marketplace to your home; and
  5. Transportation - Choices you make regarding your day-to-day modes of transportation.

By making the best decisions you can in some, or all, of these five main areas of your life each day, you too will be a part of the community that is working to save the animals we all care about!  Click here to see the some of the things you can do in these five areas of your life.

What is AZA Doing? The Pole to Pole Campaign!

The Pole to Pole Campaign is a joint effort between the Zoo and Aquarium Associations of the United States (AZA) and Europe (EAZA) that communicates climate change impacts on wildlife and strive to inspire almost 300 million visitors to take action to reduce these impacts each year. AZA’s role in the Pole to Pole Campaign revolves around two goals:

  1. To help AZA-accredited zoos & aquariums reduce the climate change impacts of their own operations.
  2. To help AZA-accredited zoos & aquariums engage their visitors in reducing climate change impacts on wildlife through personal and civic action.

Zoo and Aquarium Sustainable Practices

Member institutions are provided tools to gain a basic understanding of sustainable practices; become fluent in a consistent sustainability language; develop and implement a Sustainability Plan; identify AZA Smart Source cooperative purchasing programs sustainable product discounts; and document their progress.  Click here to learn more AZA Zoo and Aquarium Sustainable Practices.

Climate Change Education Programs and Partners

Zoo and aquarium educators are provided opportunities to participate in communication training that focuses on making affective connections between wildlife and climate change; resources that link to the latest regional, national, and global climate science; examples of successful wildlife and climate change programming and activities; and tools to facilitate implementation of community-level activities that reduce CO2 emissions. Click here to learn more about AZA Climate Change Education Programs and Partners