SAFE Shark and Ray Conservation Projects

From late 2015 to mid-2016, AZA SAFE worked with shark and ray conservation experts including representatives from the AZA shark and ray SSPs, US government agencies, AZA members and partners, conservation NGOs, and academic institutions to identify and prioritize conservation actions. A 3-year SAFE Conservation Action Plan was developed using SAFE’s collaborative conservation process to address conservation needs and includes projects that are aimed at achieving species and population sustainability. The projects of the Shark and Ray Conservation Action Plan fall within four specific thematic areas including public action, policy and legislation, research, and Species Survival Plans®.  Each project, designed to incorporate collaborator expertise to maximize efficiency and effectiveness, is comprised of detailed goals, actions, timelines, and budgets.  All projects are coordinated by AZA members who work closely with project collaborators to execute conservation actions, achieve successes, and identify future needs. More detailed information about each project can be found in the Shark and Ray Call for Participation.

Public Action Projects Policy and Legislation Projects Research Projects Species Survival Plan® (SSP) Projects
 

Public Engagement Project

Project Coordinator: Jim Wharton

Project Collaborators:  
☑ Project funding opportunities available. ☐ Project funding partially secured. ☐ Project funded.   
Project Description Conservation Challenge Addressed Critical Actions to Date
Public Engagement efforts are implemented to increase knowledge of sharks and the threats they face, and provide measurable calls to action. Shark and ray populations are decreasing at alarming rates and few people are aware of these trends. A widespread public engagement project is needed to mobilize and implement conservation actions.
  • The Project Coordinator is seeking collaborators for this project.
 

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Sustainability and Awareness of Consumption Project

☑ AZA Project Coordinator needed.

Contact SAFEshark@aza.org to learn more about this project and the Project Coordinator role.

Project Collaborators:  
☑ Project funding opportunities available. ☐ Project funding partially secured. ☐ Project funded.   
Project Description Conservation Challenge Addressed Critical Actions to Date
Individuals and businesses will purposefully consume and purchase products that do not include unsustainable shark products to eliminate markets of highly vulnerable species. Shark and related products are available for purchase and consumption that are unsustainable and derive from harmful practices.
  • AZA SAFE is seeking a coordinator for this project.
 

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Community-Based Conservation Project

☑ AZA Project Coordinator needed.

Contact SAFEshark@aza.org to learn more about this project and the Project Coordinator role.

Project Collaborators:  
☑ Project funding opportunities available. ☐ Project funding partially secured. ☐ Project funded.   
Project Description Conservation Challenge Addressed Critical Actions to Date
Community-based programs are implemented to contribute to shark conservation and protection. Some local programs either directly or indirectly promote harmful practices to sharks.
  • AZA SAFE is seeking a coordinator for this project.
  

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Multimedia Development Project 

☑ AZA Project Coordinator needed.

Contact SAFEshark@aza.org to learn more about this project and the Project Coordinator role.

Project Collaborators:  
☑ Project funding opportunities available. ☐ Project funding partially secured. ☐ Project funded.   
Project Description Conservation Challenge Addressed Critical Actions to Date
Multimedia products are developed to increase public knowledge about sharks, issues affecting them and the ways aquariums and zoos are working to conserve and protect them. Sharks are continually portrayed negatively in popular media, which could mean that public demand for shark management will be unfavorable to shark conservation.
  • AZA SAFE is seeking a coordinator for this project.
 

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Policy and Legislation Project

☑ AZA Project Coordinator needed.

Contact SAFEshark@aza.org to learn more about this project and the Project Coordinator role.

Project Collaborators:
☑ Project funding opportunities available. ☐ Project funding partially secured. ☐ Project funded.   
Project Description Conservation Challenge Addressed Critical Actions to Date
Policy and legislation changes are maximized to positively influence the management of sharks. Gaps in policy and legislation are providing the means for overfishing, harmful practices, and uncertainty to contribute to the decline and confusion with respect to shark populations.
  • AZA SAFE is seeking a coordinator for this project.

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In Situ and Ex Situ Studies Project

Project Coordinator: Hap Fatzinger

Project Collaborators:  
☑ Project funding opportunities available. ☐ Project funding partially secured. ☐ Project funded.   
Project Description Conservation Challenge Addressed Critical Actions to Date
Research projects are implemented/augmented to increase the sustainability of shark populations. There is high uncertainty with respect to global shark abundance and diversity.
  • AZA SAFE is seeking a coordinator for this project.
  

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SSP Sustainability Project

Project Coordinator: Beth Firchau

Project Collaborators:  
☑ Project funding opportunities available. ☐ Project funding partially secured. ☐ Project funded.   
Project Description Conservation Challenge Addressed Critical Actions to Date
The demographic and genetic health of the AZA shark SSP programs (spotted eagle ray, largetooth sawfish, longcomb sawfish, smalltooth sawfish, sand tiger shark, zebra shark, bigtooth river stingray, ocellated river stingray, tiger river stingray, and white-blotched river stingray) are maximized. The genetic diversity of the shark and ray SSP programs requires maintenance and refining (as needed) for continued success.
  • The Project Coordinator is seeking collaborators for this project.
  

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