SILVER SPRING, Md. – The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) announced that AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums contributed over $216 million last year to wildlife conservation, exceeding the $200 million dollar mark for the first time.
AZA’s 2016 Annual Report on Conservation and Science and accompanying Highlights document show that AZA-accredited zoos and aquarium funded an extensive range of projects benefiting over 800 species and subspecies in 127 countries around the world. AZA’s conservation projects focused on population biology/monitoring, reintroduction efforts, conservation and environmental education, community participation and awareness, habitat protection and restoration, and rescue, rehabilitation, and sanctuary.
“AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums envision a world where people respect, value, and conserve wildlife and wild places,” said AZA President and CEO Dan Ashe. “This milestone highlights our members’ commitment to saving imperiled species, and it is only the beginning. Moving forward, AZA and its members aim to increase the level and positive impact of our conservation efforts.”
Species supported by these conservation initiatives include cheetahs, tigers, Asian and African elephants, lions, African penguins, whooping cranes, Western pond turtles, Komodo dragons, hellbenders, Panamanian golden frogs, monarch butterflies, sharks and rays, corals, and many others. Over 30% of the species and subspecies targeted by AZA conservation action are listed as “endangered” or “critically endangered” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
"With so many species and habitats around the world facing growing pressures to survive, it is invaluable to see the enormous efforts of AZA members towards conservation in the field, through research and in education, said Jon Paul Rodriguez, Chair of the IUCN Species Survival Commission. “The International Union for Conservation of Nature, Species Survival Commission, believe our growing partnership with AZA is crucial to prioritizing and mobilizing conservation action around the world, linking efforts within accredited zoos and aquariums to those in the wild and continuing to work together to secure a thriving future for wildlife and wild places."
The Highlights document, released each year, summarizes the collective impact of the AZA community in field conservation activities, educational programming, green business practices, and mission-focused research.
The 2016 ARCS data, 2016 Highlights publication and ARCS reports from past years are available at https://www.aza.org/annual-report-on-conservation-and-science/.
Founded in 1924, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, animal welfare, education, science, and recreation. AZA is the accrediting body for the top zoos and aquariums in the United States and eight other countries. Look for the AZA accreditation logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you, and a better future for all living things. The AZA is a leader in saving species and your link to helping animals all over the world. To learn more, visit www.aza.org.