AZA News Releases

AZA Announces $375K in Conservation Grants

Silver Spring, MD – The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) today announced Conservation Grants Fund (CGF) grants totaling $375,000 to be awarded to 19 projects.

“Scientists at AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums are global leaders in wildlife science and the conservation of threatened and endangered species,” said AZA Senior Vice President of Conservation and Science, Dr. Debborah Luke. “With the support of the Conservation Grants Fund, zoo and aquarium scientists are able to make an even bigger impact by advancing the understanding of wildlife biology, reproduction, behavior, welfare, and many other topics, in order to help protect the future of the world’s wildlife.”

Established in 1984, the AZA Conservation Grants Fund (formerly known as the Conservation Endowment Fund) is a competitive grants program that supports the cooperative conservation-related scientific and educational initiatives of AZA members and their partners. Every major type of conservation and animal care initiative is represented — research, field conservation, education and outreach, animal welfare, animal health and animal management. Many Conservation Grants Fund projects are collaborations among AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums and state, federal and international wildlife agencies, academia and/or other conservation organizations.

Between 1991 and 2014, the CGF has provided nearly $6.5 million to almost 3,460 projects worldwide. These funds are raised through private and corporate contributions, including the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF) which enabled the funding of 13 projects this year.

Anyone may support next year’s worthy conservation projects by donating online or by texting “AZACEF” to 20222 to donate $10 to the Conservation Grants Fund.

After a competitive review of 64 applications, 19 projects were chosen to be funded for 2014. AZA congratulates the 2014 Conservation Grants Fund recipients (the source of funds is noted after the project title):

A Novel, Non-Invasive Approach to Developing a Bench-Side Assay for Pregnancy Diagnosis in Wild and Captive Polar Bears (Ursus maritimus)(CGF)     

Erin Curry, PhD and Terri Roth, PhD, Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden 

Above the Surface: Lifting Lake Sturgeon Conservation into Public View (DWCF)

Anna George, PhD and Kathlina Alford, Tennessee Aquarium 

Citizen Science and Community Involvement to Conserve Jaguars and Mitigate Human-Wildlife Conflict in Nicaragua's Paso del Istmo Biological Corridor (CGF)

Jennie Becker, Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens

Kimberly Williams-Guillen, PhD, Paso Pacífico 

Closing the Gap to Conserve Golden Lion Tamarins (DWCF) 

Jennifer Mickelberg, PhD, Zoo Atlanta 

Community Outreach in Support of Vaquita Conservation - On the Ground and In the Air (DWCF) 

Samantha Young, San Diego Zoo Global 

Conservation of At-Risk Butterflies in South Florida (DWCF) 

Jaret Daniels, PhD, Florida Museum of Natural History, McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity

Dustin Smith, Zoo Miami

Determining the Role of Environmental Conditions on the Fecundity of the Endangered Black-Footed Ferret (DWCF) 

Rachel Santymire, PhD, Lincoln Park Zoo 

Ensuring the Long-Term Protection of Siamese Crocodiles in Cambodia (CGF)

Jennifer Daltry, PhD, Fauna & Flora International

Evaluating the Reproductive Biology of the Critically Endangered Hicatee Turtle (Dermatemys mawii) under Captive Conditions in Belize (DWCF)

Richard Hudson Jr., Turtle Survival Alliance

Lead-Poisoning, Clinical Management, and Stress in the California Condor(DWCF)

Zeka Kuspa, The Regents of the University of California Santa Cruz

Curtis Eng, DVM, Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens

Andrea Goodnight, DVM, Oakland Zoo 

Loss of Genetic Diversity and Environmental Stress: Implications for the Management of Grevy’s Zebra Populations (CGF

Sara Heisel, University of Georgia Research Foundation, Inc.

Belinda Mackey, Grevy's Zebra Trust

MONGOLIA UP: Uniting People Globally for Wildlife Conservation (DWCF)

Richard Reading, PhD, Denver Zoological Foundation

ungalagtuya Khuukhenduu, Nomadic Nature Conservation/p>

Monitoring Long-Term Success of Bog Turtle Releases with Genetics and Telemetry (DWCF)

Michael Ogle, Knoxville Zoological Gardens

Benjamin Fitzpatrick, PhD, Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of Tennessee

Cassie Dresser, PhD, Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of Tennessee

Renewing Hope: Identifying Factors that Mediate the Survival of Panamanian Golden Frog (DWCF)

Corinne Richards-Zawacki, PhD, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Tulane University

Southern Madagascar’s Lemur and Tortoise Biodiversity Preservation: Balancing Conservation Challenges to Community Needs through Biofuel Resourcing and Alternative Agriculture (DWCF)

Edward Louis, Jr. DVM, PhD, Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium

he Development of Personality and Welfare Metrics to Evaluate Fennec Foxes (Vulpes zerda) Serving as Program Animals (CGF)

Corinne Kozlowski, PhD and Karen Bauman, Saint Louis Zoo

Understanding the Etiologies and Establishing Biomarkers for Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Zoo-Managed Large Canids (CGF)

Nucharin Songsasen, DVM, PhD, Smithsonian National Zoological Park

Karen Wolf, DVM and William Waddell, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

Validating Three Nonlethal Methods for Detecting the Emerging Pathogen, Ranavirus spp., in Captivity and the Live Animal Trade (CGF/DWCF)

Jesse Brunner, PhD, Washington State University

Whole Blood Cytokine Expression for Diagnosis of Tuberculosis in Asian Elephants (Elephas maximus) (DWCF)

Jennifer Landolfi, DMV, PhD, DACVP, Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois

Karen Terio, DMV, PhD, DACVP, Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois

Michele Miller, DVM, MPH, MS, PhD, Stellenbosch University, South Africa  

About AZA

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 six 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

I Accept

This site uses cookies to offer you a better browsing experience. If you continue using our website, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on this website and you agree to our Privacy Policy.