AZA and Animal Program Conservation Initiatives

Conservation is a priority for AZA-accredited institutions and is a key component of their missions. AZA facilitates the increased participation in conservation by its members, including in efforts that directly impact animals and habitats in the wild, as well as through efforts where the impact is less direct. To help advance the conservation of species and habitats, AZA collaborates with its Committees, Scientific Advisory GroupsAnimal Programs, and individual members on its conservation efforts, and offers an array of tools, partnerships, and programs.

Resources for the ARCS Surveys

Each year, AZA’s publishes an Annual Report on Conservation and Science (ARCS) to celebrate the field conservation activities, mission-focused research, education programming, and green business practices of AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums, and certified related facilities. These Annual Reports are based on submissions made by members each year to AZA. Learn more about which data are submitted and access resources for collecting and entering that information online.

AZA Partners and Agreements

Partnering is essential in conservation, and the efforts of AZA and its members are furthered by AZA Conservation Partner members, memoranda of understanding with government agencies and non-government organizations, and partnerships and collaborations with other organizations. Learn more about AZA's partners in conservation.

Amphibian Conservation

More than one-third of amphibian species worldwide are threatened with extinction and AZA and its accredited zoos and aquariums are committed to protecting these animals. In addition to managing the FrogWatch USA citizen science program, AZA maintains partnerships with amphibian conservation organizations, and works closely with government agencies on their protection. AZA’s Amphibian Taxon Advisory Group (ATAG) and various amphibian SSPs coordinate collaborative recovery efforts. Read more about amphibian conservation.

Ape Conservation

It is estimated that some species of apes will be extinct in as little as 20 years due to illegal hunting, habitat loss, disease and the pet trade industry. AZA’s Ape Taxon Advisory Group developed the Ape TAG Conservation Initiative to make it easier for AZA-accredited facilities to help secure long-term populations of apes in their natural habitats. By working together and leveraging our considerable expertise, influence and resources, AZA-accredited institutions are an important agents of ape conservation. Read more about the ways the AZA community supports ape conservation.

Asian Wild Horse Conservation

The Asian wild horse, also known as Przewalski’s horse, roamed the grassland steppes of Europe and Asia for millennia, until driven to extinction in the wild in the late 1960s. Before disappearing entirely, more than a dozen were rescued and zoos worldwide have bred them and worked with in-country partners to reintroduce the descendants back to the wild. Coordinated by the Asian Horse Species Survival Plan® (SSP) program, AZA-accredited facilities are supporting field research and conservation activities through the AZA True Wild Horse Initiative. Read more about the AZA Asian Wild Horse SSP Conservation Initiative.

Citizen Science

AZA and its members connect people with nature, and one way this is accomplished is through engagement in citizen science. AZA is actively involved in citizen science and manages FrogWatch USA, a nationwide program coordinated by chapters hosted by AZA-accredited zoos, aquariums, and like-minded organizations across the U.S. FrogWatch USA allows individuals and families to learn about and conserve amphibians and wetlands in their communities as well as collect and report local frog and toad call data. Read more about AZA's involvement in citizen science.

Climate Change and Wildlife

Increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), as well as other greenhouse gasses, is causing changes to the earth’s climate, which is impacting wildlife in the oceans and on every continent. AZA, its Conservation Education Committee, and member institutions are inspiring people to take personal and civic action to help decrease atmospheric CO2 concentrations in order to protect our wildlife heritage. Read more about how AZA is addressing climate change and how you can help.

Elephant Conservation

In the past 25 years, the wild African elephant population has fallen from 1.6 million to less than 500,000--a decline of approximately 100 elephants each day--and the Asian elephant population has diminished to an estimated 30,000. AZA, the Elephant Taxon Advisory Group, and AZA-accredited institutions provide superior elephant care, maintain sustainable and genetically diverse elephant populations, support elephant research and conservation, advocate on their behalf, and maintain partnerships to raise awareness of elephant issues and promote elephant conservation. Read more about elephant conservation.

Marine Mammal Conservation

AZA, the Marine Mammal Taxon Advisory Group, the Aquarium Affairs Committee, and AZA-accredited institutions strongly advocate on behalf of marine mammals, partner with government agencies and non-government organizations to raise awareness about threats facing them, and promote and dedicate funds to marine mammal conservation and critical research. The AZA community also continually strives to provide superior marine mammal care and maintain sustainable and genetically diverse populations. Read more about marine mammal conservation.

Ocean Conservation

Seventy percent of the Earth's surface is covered by water and oceans provide homes to an incredible amount of biodiversity, have the means to support sustainable fisheries, and offer a plethora of resources vital to human life, including the largest source of our planet's oxygen. AZA, its Animal Programs, and its accredited institutions raise awareness about threats facing our oceans, conduct and provide financial support for research and conservation, advocate on an array of issues, and partner with like-minded government agencies and non-government organizations. Read more about ocean conservation.

Pollinator Conservation

Over 75% of our flowering plants and nearly 75% of our crops rely on pollinators – hummingbirds, bats, bees, beetles, butterflies, and flies. However, many pollinators are experiencing dramatic population declines. In 2015, AZA joined the National Pollinator Garden Network and is promoting the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge, but AZA, its Animal Programs, and its accredited institutions have long been committed to protecting these animals. Learn more about pollinator conservation.

Tiger Conservation

Thought to occupy less than seven percent of their original range, today’s tiger populations are threatened by habitat loss and degradation, poaching, tiger-human conflict, loss of prey, and other factors. AZA’s Tiger Species Survival Plan® (SSP) program has published an Educator's Guide and developed a Tiger Conservation Campaign that encourages AZA-accredited zoos to contribute to a selection of six tiger conservation efforts in the range states of AmurMalayan, and Sumatran tigers. Read more about the AZA Tiger SSP Conservation Campaign, jump directly to the Campaign’s 2014 and 2015 Annual Reports, or visit the campaign website to learn more.


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